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Other Stuff to Know - 9
Taking Care of Your Clothes
Some tips for keeping your clothes and wardrobe in good condition are:
  • Find a reliable dry cleaner you can trust to do a proper job with your clothes, apart from those you wash and press yourself. It is a mistake to select your dry cleaner on the basis of which one charges the least.
  • Since dry-cleaning is a process that uses chemicals to clean garments, the fewer times you have any article dry-cleaned, the better in terms of retaining its original condition. Ideally, try to avoid dry-cleaning your suits more than once a year and your sweaters more than twice a year.
  • Be careful about trying to remove stains on your dress clothes by yourself as opposed to having the garment dry-cleaned. While you can remove some minor stains yourself, doing so often makes the stain worse and can damage the fabric. If the rest of your garment is clean, just ask your dry cleaner to “spot clean” the stain rather than dry-cleaning the entire garment. The ability of the dry cleaner to remove a stain from a garment is greatly improved if you have done nothing yourself to remove it and you can describe what caused the stain.
  • Some small stains on cotton, wool and silk garments can be removed using a white cloth with a little warm water and soap. A small amount of soda water dabbed on the stain is another alternative that sometimes works. Stains from grease, oil or red food substances, however, are usually best removed by a dry cleaner.
  • Removing stains from silk ties is particularly difficult. Even after dry-cleaning, they rarely retain their original condition.
  • With two-piece outfits, such as suits, always have both pieces dry-cleaned to ensure they remain the same shade of color.
  • If you have a garment that needs pressing but is still completely clean, iron it yourself or ask your dry cleaner to just lightly press it. Never iron or have a garment pressed unless it is 100% clean before you do so.
  • Save money by washing some garments, such as dress shirts, yourself and then take them to your dry cleaner for pressing. Dark-colored dress shirts, however, are best dry-cleaned as washing them causes their colors to fade.
  • In the case of men’s dress shirts, many dry cleaners and laundries add starch when they launder them. This makes the collars stiff and uncomfortable. Always request that no starch be used when you have your dress shirts laundered.
  • With men’s dress shirts, tell the dry cleaner or launderer that you want them folded flat in clear cellophane bags afterwards so that they are easier to store at home on top of each other. In the case of women’s dress shirts, you may prefer to have them returned on hangers so it is easier to select which one to wear.
  • Remember the adage that “a stitch in time saves nine”. Whenever any of your garments, especially dress clothes, gets a rip, tear or seam coming undone, have it repaired as soon as possible. If you continue to wear it without doing so, it will become more difficult and expensive to fix. Dry cleaners often can mend clothes or know where you can have it done.
  • To make your footwear last a long time and air out, try not to wear the same shoes more than two or three times a week. This is especially the case for leather shoes which will also last much longer if you place shoe-trees inside them when they are sitting in your closet.
  • If your leather shoes get wet, stuff them with newspaper and let them dry on their own. Drying wet leather shoes over a heater or in the hot sun ruins them. If you have to go out in the rain, try to wear shoes or footwear with rubber soles. In snowy and slushy conditions, wear rubber overshoes over your shoes to protect them.
  • Men should use a shoehorn getting into their dress shoes so the inside top part of the heels stays in good condition.
  • As is the case with clothes, your shoes will last much longer if you have them mended at a shoe repair shop sooner rather than later. In the case of having shoes re-soled, consider doing so with rubber soles which usually provide for greater wear than leather. This also applies to redoing the bottom of heels.
  • Always polish new leather shoes with a generous amount of shoe polish before you first wear them.
  • Do not load up the pockets of your dress pants or jackets with coins, keys, a fat wallet or any hand-held electronic devices.
  • Hang your clothes on sturdy hangers that are wide enough for the width of your garments, such as jackets. Use pant hangers so your pants hang down without creasing. Never store your clothes for any length of time in cellophane dry cleaning bags or vinyl garment bags.
Let Steele know if you have any questions about the Citizen of the World Guides or your life and career.

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