With winter almost over, it is once again time for a wardrobe switch. Your thick sweaters, corduroy trousers and winter topcoats should be stowed away in the back of your closet as to create space to move the spring / summer wardrobe to the front. While you are at it, you should definitely brush and clean all garments before you put them away in a garment bag. Today, we will explain in detail how this is done.
Putting Away Winter Clothes
After a long winter, most outerwear, such as overcoats, has been worn extensively. Coats and topcoats, as well as each pairco of trousers, should be thoroughly brushed off prior to storage to expel all the dust, hair and dirt that has accumulated over the season. Although we will discuss clothes brushes and garment cleaning in more depth in another article, I want to provide the essentials at this important transition point. First and foremost, find an old fashioned brush and throw away your lint roller! A brush has manifold advantages over a lint roller: it is easy to use, thorough, a one-time investment and will last for years; a lint roller may pull fibers out of your fabric or knit garments, it is relatively ineffective against dust, and it requires frequent replacement. For most garments, a horse hair or boar’s hair brush will do just fine. Just in case you have delicate cashmere or even vicuna fabrics, you should opt for a goat hair brush.
Now, put your coat on a mannequin and use the brush in vertical motions from top to the bottom all over the garment, including the sleeves. Make sure to brush the underside of the collar, and don´t be shy – fabric needs a firm brush For those who do not own a mannequin, you can either put your garments on a hanger, or even better, wear the jacket while somebody else brushes you off.
In case you have fur coats or collars that are not older than 20 years, locate your local furrier, who will happily store your fur for a modest fee. Generally, fur should be stored at about 61°F and 40% humidity. If you have a vintage fur and you do not want to pay to have it stored, keep it in a dark place where it is about that temperature.
Steaming Your Garments
Once you have thoroughly brushed your treasures, it is time for steaming. Hot steam not only freshens the garment and takes away unpleasant odors, it also is much gentler than chemical dry cleaning could ever be. Hence, a clothes steamer could be a good investment for you. Use it to vertically steam the garment, but try not to steam the seams as they may become a little wrinkly.
In case you do not own a steamer, just hang your garments in the bathroom for about half an hour, close all doors and windows and turn on a hot shower or fill up the tub.
Jackets, vests and overcoats should all be stored on an individual hanger with wider shoulder pads in order to keep the coat in shape and to prevent wrinkles in the sleevehead. Your trousers should be stored on trouser hangers. We use the wonderful hangers from Butler Luxury; please read this article to learn all about hangers.
Winter shirts and sweaters can either be stored on hangers or folded. This is entirely up to you.
While in storage, preventing your garments from getting dusty is best accomplished by putting them in a garment bag. There is a huge selection of garment bags on the market, ranging from cheap see-through versions in vinyl to gorgeous, breathable cotton or linen bags. In my experience, plastic garment bags are lighter than the ones made of cotton. However, they are less breathable and less durable which means that you have to replace them quite regularly. Cotton bags can be washed and reused for years.
Cedar Oil, Lavender & Moth Prevention
If you have done everything as described, the possibility that you will have to deal with moths is rather small. Nevertheless, many people use traditional methods to prevent moth bites. Lavender balls repel moths because they supposedly do not like the smell of it. The same is apparently true for cedar oil. Years ago, I bought a bunch of cedar blocks and they indeed have a wonderful smell. After a while however, the scent disappeared and I had roughen them with some sandpaper in order to get the smell back. Since this is rather labor intensive, it is easier to just add a little bottle of cedar oil to your closet.
If you should ever have a piece of clothing with moths, or you find a vintage piece that may have some moths, you should separate it from your other clothes, put it in the plastic bag and leave it in the freezer for a week. This will reliably kill all moths and even their invisible eggs.
Spring- Summer Wardrobe & Ironing
Now that you have successfully stored away your winter wardrobe, it is time to put the spring / summer wardrobe in the front of the closet again. Look closely for missing buttons and garments in need of ironing. Nowadays, it is very difficult to find someone who can actually iron a coat. Usually, only (custom) tailors still know how to properly do that. Since they are hard to find, look for cleaners of vintage garments as they normally do a better job. Alternatively, try to find an alterations tailor who actually irons coats by hand and uses an iron shoe; this prevents the cloth from getting unpleasantly shiny. If that fails, look for providers of made to measure clothing who actually employ tailors as they may be able to iron your garment as well.
With regard to pants and shirts, I would recommend washing and ironing them yourself if possible, since the machine pressing of your fine shirt will definitely diminish its lifetime considerably.
Once you have stored everything away and ironed your newly uncovered clothes, you should once again enjoy your wardrobe as well as the warm weather. For inspiration please visit our other articles regarding spring outfits & spring accessories.