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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quality Garments

As I put these tips together, it occurred to me that the only truly expensive piece of clothing in our closet is a custom made tux by Jhane Barnes that my husband purchased for our wedding. The good news (especially for people like me that thrive on quantity -- i.e. 12 pairs of khakis) is that quality garments don't have to be incredibly expensive.

Here are some things to look for to ensure that you get a quality piece of clothing.

1. Look at the fabric - Check to see that the fabric is cut and sewn on the grain. If there is a pattern, make sure it matches all over the garment and does not run against each other.
2. Examine the garment on the hanger - Look to see that it drapes the way it was intended, ensuring that everything is even.
3. Look at the construction - Make sure the seams are properly sewn, reinforced, and secure. They should be straight and finished and lie flat (no puckering). Additionally, higher quality garments typically have wide hems to allow for altering.
4. Buttons, Hooks, and Zippers - Make sure all are sewn on or in securely, not having any loose threads. Zippers should go up and down freely.
5. Is it lined? - Make sure the fabric is dense and solid. The lining should not be sewn in tightly but instead hang with a bit of give so it doesn't rip or tear. Make sure the lining doesn't hang below the hemline.
6. If there is trim or beading, make sure it is sewn on securely.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bathing Suit Care

I have had the same bathing suit for over 10 years -- a solid black one piece. I'm not quite sure what that says about me. But if I'm to be completely honest, I have purchased others over the years. After one or two wearings of the new one, I decide I don't like it, and I go back to the old one. As much as I've worn it, it still looks great. That's because I started taking good care of it from day one.

I share this because it is a perfect example of how properly caring for your garments causes them to last longer. A bathing suit is no exception, and here are some tips from the National Cleaners Association:

  • Always be sure to follow the care label, but typical care suggests hand washing after every wearing using a gentle soap. Chlorine in pool water and salt in the ocean will degenerate the fibers and fade the colors if not promptly removed. Plus suntan oils and sun blockers may cause stains or discolorations if they come in contact with your suit.
  • Most bathing suits contain some amount of spandex, which abrades and snaps easily. Take care not to sit on rough surfaces.

And that's it. I will continue to take good care of my bathing suit. Perhaps if I keep it long enough, the definition of vintage will include 1999.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Perfect Pair of Jeans

So up until recently I disliked wearing blue jeans -- and after 28 years of searching (I figured I didn't start caring until I was 13), I found 2 pair I actually like! My problem -- curves. Turns out I am a pear shape, so in order to find a pair that fit in the hips they were too big in the waist. Then I'd have to wear a belt, and they would bunch up and I'd look goofy. Besides, I always thought jeans were uncomfortable (hence my love of khakis). Well that's because they didn't fit right.



I found a great website, http://bit.ly/9cQhYP, that helped me identify what style to search for. I had success at GAP and Eddie Bauer -- both curvy, low rise, flare. Plus the ones from Eddie Bauer came from the sale rack!



Good luck, and let me know if you find your perfect pair.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stand-In Fathers

I adore my dad, and I plan to do something special for him for Father's Day to show my appreciation for the example he set, the values he instilled in me, and the sacrifices he made over the years. But aren't we blessed when in a particularly low point in our lives someone comes along that's not our biological father but briefly fills his shoes?

Shortly after I was hired at A Cleaner World, my first husband and I separated and ultimately divorced. It was a stressful, disappointing, and painful time in my life, and I ended up losing quite a bit of weight as a result. Ray and Sallie Edwards (owners of A Cleaner World along with Chris Edwards) took me under their wings, knowing my family was 10+ hours away. Not only did Ray keep an eye on me during business hours, but he was so gracious to include me in many weekend family gatherings especially making sure I was taking good care of myself. What a great thing to have such wonderful folks to help in the healing process. My parents told me many times how grateful they were for the love and support my work family showed me.

So as we pause this coming weekend to honor our fathers, let's also pause to honor those 'father figures' that lifted us up when we really needed it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What To Wear To A Wedding

My husband and I had a lovely wedding. At the time, he sold ad space and did circulation for Elegant Bride Magazine, so we had access to lots of great ideas. Compared to most weddings, it was relatively small -- about 100 guests, but it was in the most charming outdoor setting.

Given that it was to be outside in late May in southern Indiana (translation -- potentially hot and humid), we opted to hold the ceremony at 6:00 p.m. with an outdoor dinner reception to follow. I didn't realize that in an effort to try and keep everyone comfortable, I created a dilemma for most of the female guests -- "What do I wear?" Hopefully these suggestions will help.

Morning or Afternoon Wedding

Ladies - a floral or appropriate sundress, skirt and sweater set, or a light colored suit or dress

Men - a suit, dress shirt with a tie and dress pants (but add a blazer if possible), or a dark suit if the invitation says the event is formal

Evening Wedding

Ladies - dress as if you were going out to a nice dinner. Perhaps a cocktail dress (black is OK), dressy dress, or suit. If the invitation says black-tie or formal, then definitely go with a cocktail dress.

Men - when in doubt, always go with a dark suit. If the invitation says casual, you can go with pants, a blazer, and tie. If the invitation says black tie or formal, then wear a tuxedo.


Here are a couple of things to avoid

Wearing white

Black to a daytime wedding

Jeans

Anything too revealing

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Your Overcoat

This was originally just meant to be a little blurb on how to care for your overcoat. Of course being the curious person I am, I had to spend a few minutes reading the history of the overcoat. I'm just fascinated at how things develop over time. I hit one of my favorite sites -- Wikipedia -- and learned about how the styles and availability evolved. Most interestingly, the overcoat was widely used in military history.



I have two overcoats, and they only come out when it rains. I just view the overcoat as one of those necessary weather-based items. But according to http://www.coutorture.com/spring-2010-trend-report-his-her-trench-coats-5613668, the overcoat has once again been updated for this season. Whatever your view, need or want, the waterproof aspect of the overcoat is an important feature.



Waterproof and water repellent fabrics are treated with a coating to make them resistant to water. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. Your overcoat experiences normal wear and tear just like any other garment. But because it is coated with a special finish, there are a few things you can do to help lengthen the life.



1. Clean it according to the care label

2. Make sure it is fully dry before putting it away

3. But ultimately wash and wear will eventually break down the water repellent finish and it will need to be refinished



I didn't know this until recently, but A Cleaner World can reapply a water resistant finish to your clean rain coat. The bottom line is that an overcoat that doesn't repel water allows the water to get to your clothes, which could cause damage to those garments. Not only that, who likes to be cold and wet?
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