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Fine Garment Care Instructions
Proper Care Will Extend Longevity and Improve Appearance
Proper Fine Garment Care
The author's jacket is 15 years old

Let me say at the very outset that I am a fan of Mild and Minimal. When it comes to clothing such as suits, sport jackets, coats and other heavily constructed outerwear, the fewer cleaning cycles they must suffer - and suffer they do - the better. It is important to have a sufficient quantity of clothing in your rotation that garments of all types are worn no more frequently than once weekly. Once monthly is much better. All types - from socks, underwear, shirts, and blouses to suits, coats, dresses, and skirts.

Why? Natural fibers need time to relax and rejuvenate. It's that simple. When at rest, fibers are not stressed or in the process of being abraded and they absorb moisture from the environment. This permits them to return closer to the state they were in when you first purchased the item. Your wardrobe, if you stop to consider it, may be one of your larger investments of both money and time. Treating it as such will greatly increase the longevity of quality garments.


Washable Garment Care Basics   Outerwear Care Basics  Socks, Underwear, Intimates
Proper Shirt and Blouse Care     "Blocking" Garments to Dry
 

Washable Garment Care Basics
 

The primary reasons garments retain soil are two:

1] Chemical nature of certain stains such as tannins from wine which are not normally encountered on socks or underwear

2] Wash cycles are too short

Forget about 1]. Chemical stains can be dealt with only by appropriate stain removal processes. There are a few listed in the shirt laundering section but your dry cleaner is probably the better route to follow.

The most prevalent cause of soil retention in the washing process is 2]. A cycle that is too short to permit the detergent to act.

The cure is simple. Follow this procedure for all washable garments. It certainly won't harm them.

1] Soak! Using a large bowl or tub - or your washer if it's not needed that day - mix your detergent into warm water. Note that I said mix - not pour. It is essential that you agitate the detergent sufficiently that it is not all sitting at the bottom of the water! Let the water cool.

2] Put your soiled clothing into the water. Agitate it sufficiently to circulate the detergent/water mix throroughly into the clothing.

3] Leave! Go about your business and return the following day. Then, in whatever manner is appropriate, complete the wash cycle. By allowing the clothing to soak overnight you have permitted the detergent sufficient time to release the soil. A 15 minute wash cycle does not do that.

Outerwear Care Basics
 

Here are a few specifics regarding outerwear. Brushing is always better than dry cleaning. If you have been perspiring, do not brush immediately upon undressing. Properly hang the garment, either on a valet or on the correct type of hanger for each item. Suits and coats should be hung on appropriately shaped wooden hangers. They may cost you $8-$20 each ... but you wouldn't park your Mercedes in a tent, would you? Pants should be hung straight, bottoms up, on clamp-type hangers. By clamp I mean the clamp which goes across the entire cuff, not the clothespin type clamps. These will leave indentations in your cuffs. Clamp hangers are used for skirts, extended as far as possible outward on the waistband. Once the moisture has evaporated, brush lightly with a good clothes brush. Observe the nap. If the garment is properly constructed, you would normally be brushing downward.

Reserve dry cleaning for those times when the garment either has a stain or has been worn sufficiently that it is retaining odor. It is adviseable to ask your cleaner to press trousers on the inside except for the leg crease. This will minimize "shine" which, once present, is never leaving. A very wise idea is to purchase two pairs of trousers or two skirts with each suit. It is the rare jacket which wears as rapidly as the part which is constantly sat upon and, in the case of trousers, undergoes the constant friction of legs rubbing together.


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Underwear, Intimates, Sweaters & Socks Washing Procedures

Follow your instincts and all the rumors you have ever heard about laundering. As a matter of fact, follow the instructions on most detergents and you'll be washing everything as hot as possible. As a proprietor of a top quality clothing shop, you will be doing wonders for my bottom line. Your clothing will be clean and it will have the longevity of a fruit fly. Like I said ... fine by me.

Or you could WASH EVERYTHING IN COLD WATER!

Lousy for us as your order frequency will halve ... great for the longevity of your fine clothing. Put as simply as possible, heat is an anathema to most fibers. It removes their natural moisture. It makes them hard and brittle. In short, it takes the life out of them. Once they are hard and brittle, every time you put them in motion by wearing them, the fibers will develop microscopic breaks. After breaks come pills and after pills come holes. So quite seriously, try the soaking method I have described above. It will consume no additional time on your part and your clothing will have the life expectancy it should.

Silk, Silk and Wool Blend, ExtraFine Merino, or MicroLyocell Underwear, Intimates and Pajamas

Silk, Silk and Cashmere, Cashmere,Angora, or Lambswool Socks

ExtraFine Merino Sweaters and Polo Shirts

Wash cold in Woolite or similar. By hand is best but a gentle machine wash is not too bad. Block to dry (see "Blocking" below).

Cotton, Cotton & Lycra, Pureness Micromodal, Bamboo Underwear, Intimates, and Pajamas

Cotton Lisle, Pima Cotton, and ExtraFine Merino Socks

Cotton Polo Shirts

Machine Wash Cold in Original Tide Powdered Detergent. Dry in a dryer without heat on the "No Heat" or "Fluff" setting. Remember, no heat is an absolute must!

I do it thus: Just before going to bed at night, I put a moderate load in the dryer and set it to No Heat. I set the timer for the maximum - usually two hours - and turn it on. In the morning, everything is barely damp. Another 15-20 minutes of no heat. The clothes are dry and all of the wrinkles are gone. Remove and fold or hang.

Important Notes!

Attitude! and Pure Comfort:

Due to the extraordinarily fine cotton used in the creation of these lines, they will tend to become twisted in laundering. They must be dried, without heat, in a dryer. This process will permit them to relax and return to their original shape.

MicroLyocell:

Do not tumble dry and do not iron.

Silk Intimates, Intimates with lace, and Richelieu Rib:

It is best not to tumble dry these as it can cause the cotton, silk and/or lace to snag. Block to dry - see below.

 
"Blocking" to Dry
 

It's not rocket science.

Let's work backwards from the objective: to lay the garment flat in a shape as close to the shape it is in when it is worn. For garments such as sweaters, undershirts, and camisoles, lay them on their backs with the sleeves outward at the angle which makes the sleeve seam lay flat. For panties, briefs, boxers, leggings, and long underwear, lay the on their backs and smooth them flat. You must make provision for air circulation underneath or they won't dry. The easiest way to do that is to lay them atop a white terrycloth towel. Surfaces such as tables, beds, the back of a sofa, or on the floor if nothing else is available will suffice.

Proper Fine Garment Care
Silk & Wool Blend Leggings, An ExtraFine Merino Sweater, and A Richelieu Rib Limited Edition all Blocked on Terry Towels for Drying

Once the garment is flat, pull with a slight stretching action to extend body and arms as much as possible. This will reduce shrinkage. If the garment is not completely dry the following day, turn it with the back upwards and leave until dry.