Everyone has a lot of clothes in their wardrobes that could be considered somewhat disposable. However, those special pieces can sometimes be considered investments. People can see them as investment in their wardrobe, an investment in their image and an investment in themselves. As with any investment, you need to take care of it, nurture it to last a long time so it can provide you with years of enjoyment and use. But what should you do to protect your fabulous new assets?
Improper care can quickly destroy your garments, so making sure you follow the proper cleaning techniques is vital for the longevity of these items. All your garments should come with a care tag somewhere on the inside that is stitched in one of the seams or at the neckline. These will generally give you wash and dry instructions. Pay close attention, as it is not uncommon for a minor deviation from these instructions to ruin the garment. For example, if you have a lightweight rayon dress and it encounters any heat it could shrink several inches.
If you have an item with authentic fur or leather, you should consider how you are storing those items. Depending on the value, you may wish to store it with a professional where the climate can be more easily controlled. If you are wearing it regularly, though, this is not the most ideal scenario. Leather, on the other hand, should be cleaned and protected to ensure it repels liquids and doesn’t crack.
Many delicate articles of clothing should be hand washed. Items in this category include lightweight sweaters or silk garments. Washing these items in cool water with a gentle soap such as Woolite is best. Gently wash the soap out of the garment, lightly squeeze out the excess water and lay it out to dry.
Keeping these investment pieces free of stains will also help them maintain their value, both intrinsically and otherwise. However, if you spill something on your garment there are a few things you can do. If you have immediate access to soda water, or plain water with if no soda water available, you can try pouring a little of that on the stain and rub lightly with a white cloth. You can also try using a stain-removing product. In fact, there are a number of these products available in portable sizes, which easily fit in your purse or pocket. But, whatever you do, do not use hot water or throw your garment in a hot dryer. Heat will help the stain set more permanently.
Consider having your favorite investment pieces professionally cleaned. Sometimes it feels like dry cleaning or other professional cleaning services are overkill, but they aren’t. Though chemicals are often used to clean your garments, it is generally not too harsh on the fabrics and you don’t need to worry about damage from water or heat. In addition to that, they can more easily press your clothes, which doesn’t require much tugging or pulling on the textiles.
Bottom line, if you spend the money to invest in high quality statement pieces, you should put forth the attention and care needed to preserve them. Well-maintained garments will last a long time and keep you looking sharp. Although you may use them often, if you purchased with quality in mind, and you follow the care instructions, you should be able to get many years of use out of your item.
Written by Lauren Swartz, owner of Lo & Behold, one of the best women’s boutiques in Columbia, MO!