By Keturah Kamugasa
BUYING clothes is one thing and caring for them quite another. Like your car, body and house, your clothes also need care if they are to last as long as the money spent on them. This calls for careful washing or dry cleaning and storage. For some items like suits, the hangers you use are also important especially in the maintenance of shape. Below are some tips.
Your suit deserves a lot of respect and care because it is most likely the most expensive garment in your wardrobe. As such, it must last for at least 10 years if well maintained.
Maintenance includes storage and washing. There are special zip-up plastic bags for suits and they come with their own hangers.
The locally made ones come with metal hangers which are not good for your suit.
Most suits are sold with special wooden hangers because they maintain the shape of the jacket especially around the shoulders. Metal hangers cannot do this because they are thin. If wooden hangers are hard to come by, opt for the same shape but in plastic.
Occasionally, you can find coat hangers in big supermarkets although they sell out fast. Most suits are meant to be dry cleaned but avoid doing it frequently as it will lead to wear and tear. Please do not take your suit to the dobbi or a shoddy dry cleaner simply because you want to save money.
Only have the suit dry cleaned when it is dirty. Otherwise, after wearing it, hang it outside of the wardrobe to air.
Invest in a clothes brush to brush down the suit to keep it clean and looking good. Cloth brushes are available in up market menâ€™s boutiques but a shoe brush with soft bristles can also do. Make sure the plastic bag in which you keep the suit is able to breathe to avoid a stale smell.
If possible, have a special area for your suits especially if you have many. Do not squash them in between other clothes as they will wrinkle easily.
Putting items like keys and coins in your pockets will strain the seams and cause premature wear and tear. Buy a wallet and keep all these items there. Still, if the wallet is too heavy, it will also affect the seams.
You may have seen men unbuttoning their jackets and pulling up trouser legs before sitting down and wondered why. Well unbuttoning the jacket helps not to pull on it when you sit while pulling up the trouser leg at the thigh avoids stretching the fabric and is also more comfortable for you.
Some men do not care so much about how their shirts are cleaned as long they are clean.
There are men like Tom Bulenga who are particular about their shirts. He will only allow his T-shirts, socks and jeans to be washed at home but he handles his cotton shirts himself.
â€œI have them laundered,â€ he says proudly as he invites me to have a feel. â€œAfter laundering, they are starched to keep the fabric firm. Thatâ€™s why my shirts always look new.â€
Laundering is different from hand washing and dry cleaning. It is also done by a professional, usually at the dry cleaners. Whereas chemicals are used to dry clean clothes, in laundering water, a special detergent and starch are used. The garments are then pressed using a steam iron.
Peter does not believe in laundering and washes his shirts in cold water, by hand and then allows them to drip dry. He irons them while still damp on low heat and steam. He says laundering shortens the longevity of the garment and costs a lot of money.
Dark shirts are better off dry cleaned so that they do not run or fade. But you can have the shirts hand washed using cold water, moisturising shampoo or toilet soap and hang away from direct sunlight. This works very well with cotton and linen shirts.
When ironing collars, do not fold them but lay them flat on the ironing board and press both sides. This will prevent upturned collar tips and â€˜ironâ€™ lines. Too much folding and pressing can wear out the shirt. Also, when washing your shirts, do not wring collars as the plastic hardeners that keep collars stiff and pointed will bend.
Take care of your clothes