Friday, April 18, 2008

How to Care for Fabrics and Jewelry

Crocodile Manolo Shoe When we purchase an expensive item, whether it's a jacket in a fancy fabric or a precious piece of jewelry, we want to keep them new and clean as long as possible. Here is a guide to how to care for these special items.

Suede: The best way to take care of suede is to spray it (when first purchased and then at least once a month with a protective spray). Yes, it's the spray that the sales' person is pushing you to buy... consider it like a scotch-guard for your jacket against the skin's natural oils. Make sure to spray the collar and the sleeves (on the wrists too) on a jacket. Then brush the suede piece after each wearing using a wire-bristled suede brush. This will keep the finish looking bright and clean.

Leather: Anything in leather (shoes, purses, jackets, etc.) can be a costly item and deserves careful attention. Take care of precious leather pieces by polishing them at least once a month. To maintain fine leather suppleness and shine, Meltonian Cream is recommended; it hides scuff marks and it will shine better than spay-on polishes. For hard-wearing leathers like boots and winter shoes, a wax polish is better (highly water resistant). For water resistance, mink oil works too, however be careful, since the oil darkens the look of the leather a few shades, as it gets absorbed. Before polishing any shoes, clean all dirt using a soft brush and a flannel cloth to dust them . Lightly sponge marks on metallic -or lightly colored- leather, with a damp cloth dipped in soapy water. Let the spots dry naturally (if shoes-preferably on a shoe tree), then work a small amount of cream polish in circular motion. To ensure an even distribution use a shoe tree or your hand inside the leather piece. After the polish, bring up the best shine rubbing a genuine chamois cloth on it.
Shoes- Don't wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row; they need a day to dry and air out. During the winter season, shoes and boots absorb a lot of moisture from the feet; keep them smelling fresh by wiping the inside using a cloth dipped in warm water and a few drops of Ammonia. Never, ever, place any leather or suede items near a radiator to dry, they will crack!

Crocodile and Lizard: these skins are tough and need very little care and maintanance, however they should be carefully dusted with a flannel cloth after each use. Never polish Lizard skin (shoes or purses), just wipe the item with a damp cloth when dirty. Crocodile requires an application of neutral cream occasionally.

Wool and Knits: Dry clean all items sporting a dry cleaning tag! Simple enough (right??) however, many people attempt a time/money-saving at-home care treatment, ruining their expensive item in the end. Trust the label, it will ensure the longevity of the wools and knits, especially Cashmere.
Do not Dry Clean any wool/knit gloves, scarves, socks, hats and shawls; the chemicals used to dry clean can actually weaken the fibers of these items, wearing them out prematurely. Hand Wash these wool and knits in cold water, then press the item between two clean towels to absorb most water. Never wring the water out, as it will stretch the fabric out of shape. Place the item on a dry towel - away from a heat source- and let air dry.

Pantyhose: Always wash pantyhose by hand and in a delicate soap and water solution. Rinse well and hang to dry; wringing the water out of the pantyhose will stretch the delicate material and ruin its shape. If a snag appears, use some clear nail polish to stop the run, and let dry; re-use the snagged pantyhose under a pair of pants or a long skirt.

Eyeglasses: Just like jewelry, eyeglasses can be an long time investment, if properly cared for.
Wash glasses at least once a day in some mild soap and water. wipe the glasses using with a microfiber cloth, or linen towel (reserved specifically for the glasses). On some oily skin, the glasses can get a little greasy by the end of the day, spray the glasses with an ammonia-based cleaner before washing them in soapy water. Always carry the glasses in a hard case to avoid minor shocks and scratches. Take care of the little maintanance, like tightening the screws, to make the glasses more comfortable and last longer.

Pearls: Real pearls are precious and therefore costly; it's impotant to take really good care of this piece of jewelry. Genuine pearls feel cooler to the touch than fake ones, to test their authenticity, rub a pearl over your teeth, if it grates, it's real, while if it's smooth, it's imitation.
Some of the best imitations out there are "Majorica" pearls.
Leave real, cultured pearls out to "breathe" when you are not wearing them. Airing the pearls will deepen the lustre. Pearls are porous, so they will absorb the skin's natural oils, making them grow more lustrous with every wear. Absolutely never spray perfume on the pearls, it will dull the surface.

Gold: Gold is a very popular precious metal (the higher the Karat the more pure it is and therefore softer), and with proper care it can last a long time. Always remove gold jewelry before exercising or prior to any kind of physical work. Polish the gold jewelry often using a jeweler's cloth (chemically treated especially for that purpose), which is available at most jewelry shops or craft stores. Store gold jewelry in a cotton-lined box or in a flannel bag to prevent it from tarnishing.

Silver: To keep the silver jewelry looking its brightest, care for it by polishing each piece often with silver polish and a flannel cloth (or a jeweler's cloth). Never use an abradant cleanser on silver jewelry, or it will scratch and dull the surface.

Be fabulous,


Picture: 'Green Crocodile' shoe designed for the Winter 1995 collection. © Manolo Blahnik.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice and tips for taking care fabrics and jewelry! :)