Watch The Clothing Doctor animation he wrote and voiced for Mac Gray!
Sort. Ask yourself, “Will I wear that next year?” Now is a good time to donate items that may not fit you or your lifestyle anymore.Inspect and clean. Start at the collar, work your way down the garment, checking both front and back of sleeves for stains. Hold skirts, slacks and sweaters under a bright light. If you have worn something, or if you see a stain, your clothes need cleaning. Deodorant, body oils,
and perfumes attract many critters.Store. Clothing should be hung on plastic, or wooden hangers. Remove plastic dry cleaning bags (paper shoulder covers may be left on). After you vacuum the bottom and top corners of your closet, drape a freshly washed, unbleached white sheet over your garments.
Find more space. If your closets are full, store your items in the basement. Use a dehumidifier and check clothes every two weeks for moist or musty smells. Another option: Store clothing inside plastic containers underneath your bed. Put a freshly washed, unbleached sheet inside to absorb moisture.
Consider a dry cleaner. Store coats, suits and fur items at a local dry cleaner. Make a list of items your storing and keep a backup copy. Do repairs beforehand, put monograms on inside linings and get insurance. Ask where the clothes are being stored: on the premises, in a volt, or at a professional storage facility. Deborah DeSanto
Move from careless to careful, and your clothes become the investment they were meant to be.
Steve Boorstein, known as the “clothing doctor,” is a fourth-generation drycleaner who operated a top dry cleaning establishment in Washington, D.C. for 16 years, so he knows the worst — and best — about clothes.
Today, he counts Chanel, Nordstrom’s and Joan & David as clients who bought multiple copies of his book, Ultimate Guide to Shopping & Caring for Clothes (Boutique Books) for their colleagues. Most recently, he began hosting a call-in radio show by the same name.
“The secret is building your wardrobe and maintaining it,” says Boorstein. “That’s my whole philosophy.”
Storing and cleaning are his specialities. They’re also the tools that will keep clothes looking their best and lasting for more than one season:
Storage: According to Boorstein, “The biggest mistake when storing is not cleaning before you store.” He says that if you put a garment away that has something on it for even five minutes — everything from perspiration, foodstuffs, body oils, deodorant — it immediately becomes foodstuff for insects. “Whatever could possibly be part of a human or have food quality becomes insect bait,” Boorstein says.
Another danger is that people store clothes with old stains. He says that a person simply forgets there may be a stain on a certain piece, wears it for a while, then puts it away. He says to inspect your clothes immediately after wearing and get those that are soiled to a reputable cleaner (or washing machine) as quickly as possible.
Take collar or cuff soil. This could be perfume, a splatter of oil, a squirt of lemon juice. Boorstein explains that these are called “invisible stains.” They’re invisible at first, but over time, through oxidation and heat, take on colour. Oxidation is the process that happens, say, to an apple. You take a bite and within five minutes, it has started turning brown. With clothing, these oxidized stains become exponentially worse if left in a closet or drawer without cleaning.
“Pull your clothing out each season and inspect it,” he advises. If there are stains, get them cleaned before storage. Best, get everything cleaned before storing.
If you’re storing at home, avoid plastic or nylon garment bags since they don’t let clothing breathe. When there’s extra moisture, two things happen. Stains become extra bait for insects and mildew, and they may show colour even faster. Also, your closet or drawers must be thoroughly cleaned before storage since insects thrive in dust or cobwebs.
What should you think about when you buy clothing?
Think about how you will wear, care for, clean, and store the garment for its entire life. Although brand names are often synonymous with quality, they should not be the deciding factor; fit, fabric, and style should be.
How do you know which fabrics will wear best?
Silk and linen blends are very high-maintenance. Gabardine tends to shine on the seat, thighs, and elbows from sliding in and out of the car or your desk and from poor pressing. People who are hard on their clothes should buy softer fabrics. A good worsted wool has nap or texture, is less subject to shine, and will wear longer than gabardine. Buy fabrics that breathe. If you travel often, buy clothing that resists wrinkling – textures soft wools and rayon blends.
What about triacetate? It shows up a lot in women’s suits.
Acetate is very popular, but it shines prematurely. If you buy an acetate that is subject to wear, you can ask your cleaner to soft-press and brush the areas likely to get shiny.
What about stain emergencies?
Never rub a stain. All stains can be blotted with a dry, white napkin. For an oily stain, avoid putting water or club soda on it, and have it dry cleaned within 48 hours. If you know that the stain is water-based and that the garment is washable. O.K., go ahead and blot it, and wash it when you get home.
What are the worst stains to deal with?
Lipstick and ink are two of the most stubborn – also coffee and wine. They all require expert professional help. Always put on your hairspray. perfume, or deodorant before you dress, and let it dry completely. All three contribute to permanent staining.
How do you find a good dry cleaner?
Call the ritziest clothing store in town and ask where the manager sends things. If you are spill-prone, you need a cleaner with a good stain technician. Do you wear fine wools, acetate, or silks? Better clothing requires soft-pressing and hand ironing. Go for quality, service, convenience, and price – in that order.
A recent article in InStyle magazine titled “Be a Shopping Pro,” quoted Steve Boorstein for a couple of its tips. Here’s what the magazine said:
Make a Rough Budget
Looking for a plan for the year? Fall and winter clothes cost more than spring and summer ones, so allocate two thirds of your budget for cold-weather months. “Nationally, people spend between 5 and 10 percent of their take-home income on clothing,” says Steve Boorstein, author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping and Caring for Clothing.
Are You an Impulse Shopper?
Buying with little thought can create “deadbeat” items that take up valuable closet space and eat into our clothing budget. “Try the 48-hour-rule,” suggests Steve Boorstein, author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping and Caring for Clothing. “If you pass up the item and you still want it 48 hours later, it’s probably a good investment.