Although I’m an expert at riding a bike while wearing heels, these endless summer days call for classic Californian attire during my all day rides. You can’t get more quintessential California than Vans slip-ons. A gorgeous druzy necklace adds the perfect touch to a menswear inspired shirt and destroyed cutoffs. Just have to grab my beach cruiser and Beats Pill for an afternoon of every song I know with California in the title.
Selecting my wedding dress was nothing short of destiny. I didn’t find it. It found me. It fell into my lap when a wedding was the furthest thing from my mind. Even when I saw it I thought, “Ooh, I’d love to wear that to the (bank, grocery store, movies, new restaurant by our house…) When the time came, as much as I tried to be objective and try on dozens of other dresses, it all ended up being for naught. But I had fun!
When you find something that truly speaks to you, never let it go. And protect it with dear life.
During the alterations process my amazing seamstress Alana told me she was the envy of her colleagues. They all wanted to work on something different than the traditional white selections. She would hang my dress away from all the other dresses and proudly tell people, “that’s my bride”. No one touched it but Alana. I loved her intensity.
After the wedding I scoured reviews of dry cleaners. Although the salon where I bought it recommended a pro in New York, I wanted something local. It was just easier. So I found a well reviewed, moderately priced dry cleaner that specialized in wedding gowns and went on my honeymoon not thinking twice.
Until I picked it up three weeks later.
I nearly fainted.
My gorgeous, voluminous work of art was now a wilted flower. For weeks, I had nightmares. I couldn’t shake the sick feeling in my stomach of regret and disappointment in making such a hasty decision with the most important piece of clothing I own.
I grew up with the “take care of your things because you’re only going to get one” mentality, so over the years I’ve learned about how to ensure your clothing lasts. That knowledge, coupled with my wedding dress disaster, is what inspired this post for how to properly care for your clothes.
1) If you want something done right, take it to the best. Not the second best or third best, or the best one closest to your house. The BEST.
For extra special garments – wedding gowns, family heirlooms – I will never go anywhere but J. Scheer & Co. in New York. Jonathan, the owner, is my fairy godfather. A genius among geniuses, his knowledge of fabrics and textiles is beyond extensive. He restored my wedding dress back to a work of art so someday when Anna invites me to the Met Institute Gala I’ll have something to wear. And he listens. He understood and empathized with my maniacal ways and kept me apprised throughout the process. His service is like a white glove treatment on steroids.
2) Invest in a (good) garment steamer.
The steam emitted from a professional grade garment steamer is 212 degrees – hot enough to kill E. Coli, Salmonella and dust mites, and eliminate any odors. They are safe to use on the most delicate of fabrics because they won’t scorch things like an iron. I reduce the number of visits to the dry cleaner by steaming my clothes after each wear. Not only does this save time and money, it also protects my clothes from continual exposure to dry cleaning chemicals. Recommended brand: Jiffy Steamers.
3) For denim, skip the washing machine.
In college one of my friends told me she was amazed by how none of my jeans looked faded or worn out. My secret? I don’t wash them. Okay, I know what you’re thinking. But trust me, this makes a night and day difference in the look and feel of your denim. If you absolutely must wash them, I recommend two things. For fancy jeans, put them in the freezer for 24 hours to kill any germs. For workhorse jeans, fill the bathtub with cold water and a very small amount of laundry detergent. Lay your jeans flat on top of the water and let them soak for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water being careful never to twist them to wring out. Air dry.
4) Build relationships with cobblers, dry cleaners and tailors.
If you don’t already have a trusted cobbler, dry cleaner or tailor, I recommend taking a test piece to start. Choose something that can be easily replaced in case it gets ruined. For shoes and leather goods, I recommend regular check-ups just like we do for our health at the doctor or dentist. Don’t wait until the tip of your heel has fallen off. Preventative maintenance always wins. Leather and suede should always be treated with a protective conditioner prior to first use. Recommended products: Cadillac Conditioner for smooth leather, Synovia spray for suede.
A little birdie told me that the variance between household dry cleaners is only about 15%. In other words, don’t assume that more expensive means better quality. Make your selection based on customer service and attention to detail. For example, the places I go know to never use pins on my clothing. My tailor marks everything with chalk and my dry cleaner loops their tags through the garment tags on my stuff. These little details add up in the long run.
Are your clothes lying in a pile on the floor? Do you return your handbags to their dust bags after each use? Going the extra mile to properly store your stuff makes a huge difference. Sweaters should be folded, not hung on hangers. I put foam padding on the clips of skirt and pant hangers to avoid permanent creases, and anything suede or white is always stored in a dust or garment bag.
Also pay close attention to the condition of your closet. Do you have a window? Make sure anything near the window is protected with a dark garment bag or box to avoid fading. If your closet is adjacent to a bathroom, make sure there is proper ventilation to avoid mold. Humidity and condensation can wreak havoc on certain types of fabrics (not to mention hair-dos). 🙂
Photo cred: Swoon by Katie
My inner sci-fi/fantasy geek has me dreaming of other worlds almost on the regular. These shoes and this space pretty much transport me to a dimension beyond reality… or at least make me feel like a badass scientist for the day. Out of all the crazy, beautiful concoctions living in my closet I never thought I’d find silver emoji pumps to add to the collection. What shall I name them?
Every week I come across amazing new things happening in the fashion world ranging from new designers, products and services to fabulous style related articles. With my bookmarks bar and Evernote clipper overflowing, I want to share the love! Introducing a new series on In Spades, Fashcap is a fashion recap of things I find noteworthy and inspiring. For the first installment of Fashcap…
1) I thought I had my dream closet until I saw this. At 3,000 square feet, this tri-level wonderland has a champagne bar and is used to host charity fundraisers in addition to being this lucky lady’s everyday space. Jealous doesn’t begin to cover it.
2) Earlier this week I met the lovely Founder of the start-up Tagit, a social registry app that locates products from your favorite TV shows so you can buy them. Loved Gloria’s handbag on the last episode of Modern Family? Tagit’s got you covered (currently only available on iOS).
3) As a self-proclaimed denim obsessive, I was immediately drawn to this company’s philosophy. RE/DUN scourers the globe for the most unique denim patterns and washes and then rips them apart at the seams to be re-sewn into new creations. Talk about a pair of jeans with history and sustainability.
4) I had the pleasure of getting to know this amazing lady last summer at a two-day workshop. She’s a stylist and decorator from Nashville who rocks some serious style. In addition to her incredible story, she’s doing some seriously incredible work (Taylor Swift’s Red album art, for one). Listen to how she got where she is today here.
5) There are certain movies that have introduced products that I’m truly hoping will one day become a reality. Hoverboard, anyone? Metail has brought the Clueless closet to life. Now we can all be like Cher Horowitz and use a computer program to select our outfits for us!
As summer wears on I find myself leaving the house in the morning and not returning until after evening drinks. This little getup is perfect for running from place to place while striking the perfect dress meter balance – not over or under. It’s just too bad my little lavender lovely lost it’s crossbody strap in a tragic bike spoke accident. Note to self – get a front facing bicycle basket to avoid further tragedy.