Traveling - Your Wardrobe : Packing-care And The Secrets Of Wrinkle-free Travel Part 2

September 21st, 2002


Packing the Garment Bag

Experiences travelers who favor garment bags use their compartmentalized arrangement to their advantage. They lay out each outfit beforehand with a dress shirt placed under each jacket and several ties hung on top of the slacks. Tissue is placed in the jacket sleeve and between the jacket and trouser. Each ensemble is encased by a plastic dry cleaning bag before it is hung in the garment bag. Folder dress shirts are never left at the bag’s bottom where they can be crushed if a hanger falls.

PERMANENT PACKING FOR FREQUENT TRAVELERS
Accoutrements

1. Small travel jewelry box for space cuff links, collar bar pin, collar stays
2. Extra shoelaces in black or brown
3. Sewing kit with two different-sized needles; black, beige; and white thread; and several extra shirt buttons
4. Safety pins, small Swiss Army knife, and tape in case a cuff comes undone and emergency surgery is required
5. Travel alarm clock to back up the hotel wake-up call
6. Extra pair of reading glasses
7. Suede brush and whisk brush
8. Six to twelve plastic shirt bags to aid your packing

A word of warning: if you include any bottles in your bag, make sure they are unbreakable. Never place a breakable bottle in your bag unless it is packed in a leak proof container.

CARE FOR THE TRAVELLER’S WARDROBE
Tailored Clothing

As soon as reach your destination, unpack and hang up your tailored clothes. Jackets should always be hung on wooden, wishbone-style hangers. Wire hangers are the bane of good clothes, so avoid hanging your jackets from them. Ordinary wooden hanger are an acceptable alternative if the heavier wishbone hanger are unavailable. The trousers can be folded over the center bar. However, it is always better to suspend them by their cuffs from a clip hanger, or, if your hotel is really classy and provides them, small wood trouser hangers with felt pads to prevent the trouser cuffs from wrinkling. When suspended by the cuffs, the full weight of the trouser is brought to bear, retaining the unbroken crease down the leg. If there is no time to have your clothes professionally pressed, hanging a suit in a steamy bathroom and then letting it dry in a cool room is a good way to remove its wrinkles. A good-quality travel press can also work the wrinkles out.
Try to arrange your schedule so your clothes can be properly pressed after unpacking. A freshly pressed suit will always look better than one that was pressed just prior to packing. If you have your suit pressed at the hotel, find out what quality of work it provides. Too often, either dry cleaning chemicals or an inexperienced presser can take the life and bounce out of a fine suit. Fine tailors prefer to do their own pressing when possible, because a bad press can ruin a well-made suit, while a good one can totally rejuvenates one. Ask the hotel’s concierge or valet service to have your garments soft-pressed by hand. Tell them you want the jacket’s lapels soft-rolled and the trousers steamed, brushed, and hand finished.
Avoid dry-cleaning a suit unless it is absolutely necessary, for instance if perspiration has seeped completely through it. Other than a light-colored summer suit, if the suit becomes stained, have it spot-cleaned first, then pressed. It is important to attach a note to the garment, telling the cleaner what caused the blemish. Technology has developed specific chemicals suspected raspberries were the culprit, he might try a fruit cleaning agent, whereas if it were blood, a protein-based solvent would be in order. Allow the cleaner as much time as he needs to deal with the stain. Some stains never get properly removed because the job was rushed to meet the traveler’s schedule.

If you spill something, blot it up immediately. The more you get out of the fabric, the less there will be to eradicate later. Putting seltzer or water on oil-based stains such as salad dressing, mayonnaise, and the like only spreads the surface of the stain, making it ten times harder to remove. For water-soluble spill such as wine, the soiled garment should be placed on top of a dry, flat surface where it can be daubed with a warm, wet cloth. If it needs further attention, the spot can be dispatched with proper dry cleaning. Some food stains are harder to remove than others, therefore the more time you allow the cleaner, the better the chance of receiving a spotless garment.

Dress Shirt Care

Nothing more discourages a man from investing in an expensive dress shirt than the prospect of having it professionally cleaned. Few places know how to press one properly. However, armed with some specific instructions, you can contain the damage and even be pleasantly surprised by the results. First, do not dry-clean dress shirts. Cotton dress shirts surrender their fresh, linen like crispness and eventually turn gray if regularly dry-cleaned. Some men mistakenly believe this is the only way to prevent the garment from shrinking. Far better to buy a shirt in a size that allows for shrinkage.
Never allow a partially soiled dress shirt to be pressed; the heat from the iron can permanently “cook” the dirt into the fabric. Ask the laundry to wash the shirt separately without machine drying. Most shirts are washed en masse, which just spreads the dirt from one garment to another. Request that the shirt be hand-pressed – never allow it to be machine pressed – with as little starch in the collar and cuffs as you can bear. Heavy starch reduces the life of the collars and cuffs and accelerates their shrinkage.

Shoe Care

The only thing profligate about owning expensive shoes is scrimping on their care. Plastic shoe trees do to shoes what wire hangers do to jackets – avoid them if at all possible. Wooden shoe trees are the best protection your investment can have and should be inserted as soon as the shoe is removed from the foot. The shoe’s interior is subject to some astonishing conditions including continual moisture, heat, friction, and bacterial growth. Its exterior is exposed to heat, cold, precipitation, chemicals, abrasions, and good old-fashioned grime. Shoes must be rotates and allowed time to dry out. Wooden trees speed the drying process, deodorize, and prevent wet shoes from curling at the toe. If the shoes have been soaked, keep them away from heat, which can crack the leather. Stuffing them with newspaper will draw the moisture from the leather. Once they have dried, buff them with a soft cloth.
Leather is a skin, so treat it with the same care as you would your own. Shoes must be polished for protection and appearance. The first step I would take with a new pair of shoed is to treat them to the best shine available. There is nothing worse than getting a scuffmark on some unprotected portion of new shoe; it will be with you in some from for the remainder of the shoe’s life. Wax, which shields the leather against the elements, should be the first layer applied to the shoe. Polish is used only to achieve surface luster and should not be used as a substitute. Do not take your shoes out into the rain without first making sure they are protected by a good coat of polish. You should also polish the stitches of the shoe’s welts; this helps to waterproof them.

Caring for Your Neckties

No stain is more difficult to remove than the one that lands on your silk necktie. However, if cleaned properly, most stains can be removed, provided the soiled tie has not sat for months in the back of your closet. This task should be performed by a professional service, which has the special equipment to press and roll the tie back into its original shape. Avoid cleaners who claim they can do this, because most will not invest money in such expensive machinery for the few neckties they clean each month.

from Style and The Man by Alan Flusser


  

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