Thursday, October 27, 2011

Washing: Less Is More

Dry-cleaning, laundering, hot water, hot air, hot industrial-size pressers--these things all degrade your clothes. T-shirts develop pills.  Buttons crack.  Denim wears thin.  Your cleaners will never accurately press your necktie's edges.  They will flatten your collar.  The tips of your shirt collars will discolor.  Facings will shrink.  Behold the litany of woes.  It's not the wearing that decays your clothes; it's the washing.

I am a dedicated value-maximizer when it comes to dress clothing.  (Consider, for example, these damnable pleats on my profusion of Jos. A. Bank suits.  I am a young style blogger, yet I have all these pleats!)  Every shirt that shrinks, every suit that wears, drives home the inevitable conclusion:

Do not wash/handwash/dry-clean anything until it takes on an odor or a stain.

I'm experimenting with wearing my dress shirts several times before washing them.  I've found that as long as I hang them up after removal and spot-iron them as necessary, I can wear them two or three times before they need washing them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Essence Of eBay: Caveat Emptor

No bones about it: eBay can be a great place to find nice clothing for cut rates.  Suits from brands like Hickey Freeman, Brooks Brothers, and J. Press filter through there regularly.  I like the "Saved Searches" notification feature.  Set up a category you want to monitor, and eBay emails you when something new appears in the category.

However, you have to be savvy.  You have to know exactly what you're looking for.  You also need to be smarter than the sellers.  A lot of these people are not clothing experts.  I recently bid on a "suit" only to realize when it arrived that the seller thought that "suit" meant "matching jacket and vest."  Sellers routinely abuse "vintange", "mod", "indie", and the sizing parameters, so while you can narrow your search to, say, 40Rx34, there will almost certainly be at least one 40L in your search results.

The flip side is that volume sellers rely on 100% positive feedback, so they have a strong incentive to keep their customers satisfied.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Letting Go

A favorite shirt is hard to let go, especially when you paid $20 for it at Paul Fredrick on wild clearance, and you have such good memories together.  But when, as here, the cuff's edges start to show minor signs of wear, it's best to rip the bandage off and donate the shirt.  Otherwise, you risk holding on for too long and showing up shabby.  The line between thrifty and threadbare can sneak up on you if you're not careful.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tools Of The Trade: Suede Eraser

When you are like me, and you own a pair of white suede shoes, and at least one person at your office has taken to calling you "White-Shoes Johnson" as a result, and you decide to incorporate them into your casual wardrobe all the more fully and often, they get funny discolorations instead of scuffs.  They also get indigo dye on them from your APC New Standards.  This is unseemly.

Enter this unassuming rectangular prism: a suede eraser.  I don't know what it's made out of, but its texture is very...eraseresque.  You basically gently erase the scuffs and stains.  Maybe it abrades the suede slightly; maybe it has some white powder built into it.  At any rate, the stains go away, and there is a fine white dust on the surface where you were working--a net gain, as the dust can be swept away.

I got mine over at the A Suitable Wardrobe shopWill's blog is definitely worth a read as well.