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The easiest way to start organizing your crowded closet?

Comb through your wardrobe and:closet

1.  pull out whatever needs tailoring 

(for either a better fit or a restyling into something more fashionable)

2.  donate what you don’t need or want

And remember, to avoid stretching it’s best if you do not hang your fine knitwear, especially heavy weight items.

2014 Fashion Trends for Pants

fashionPantsCigarette pants.  Sailor trousers.  Capris.

Ever since it became socially acceptable for women to wear slacks, they have become an integral part of everyone’s wardrobe.  This year, there is a wide array of fashionable styles to choose from, from cigarette pants to high waisted and wide legged trousers, but the style is only part of the fashion equation. The right fit and selecting the right length is equally important.  Mostly, length depends on the style of pants you’ve chosen to wear, and here are a few tips we gleaned from the Fashion Week runways.

1. Cigarette pants should NOT touch the shoe.  The ideal length is around the ankle – above, top, mid or bottom depending on your personal taste.

2. High-waisted and wide legged pants, which will be very popular in 2014, should almost fully cover the shoe heel and have at LEAST a full break (if not more) in the front.

3.  Capris should be worn with a shoe that has a bit of a heel, and the pants themselves should be tapered.  The ‘right’ length depends on the shape and length of your calf. Remember, capris will always make you appear shorter than you are.


Beware the Holiday Fashion Trend in Metallic Fabrics

Fasion TrendGlitter and gloss are always part of any holiday celebration, and this year the fashionistas among you may be considering a metallic fabric to get in the spirit of the season.  Before you make a sizable investment in this holiday fashion trend, here are a few things we want you to know.

1.  Metallic yarns are notorious for shrinking, which can cause distortion (puckering) of the fabric.

2.  Metallic yarns are very susceptible to breaking down in the areas of the garment that are subject to abrasion – ex. elbows, underarms areas, etc.

3.  Metallic yarns will discolor from perspiration and contact with alcohol (the kind you drink AND the kind found in perfumes, colognes, hair sprays, etc)


Linen – The Quintessential Summer Fabric

It was the fabric of choice for the ancient Egyptians, largely because it’s highly absorbent (so it’s able to pull moisture away from your body). It is also inherently strong, allowing it to be more loosely woven than cotton or silk. The looser weave enhances the fiber’s natural tendency to wick moisture off the body, and it also allows more air to pass through it. This makes it ‘cooler’ to wear than even cotton.

 These basic characteristics of linen haven’t changed over the centuries, and are largely responsible for its continued popularity as summer wear.

The down side of linen is that the yarn is very stiff, hence its reputation for easy wrinkling. In recent years, the textile industry has developed resin finishes that are designed to reduce that problem, but these finishes come with their own set of challenges.

The Problem with Resins

 Some of these resin finishes create an abrasive condition that promotes dye crocking. Also, when an excessive amount of the resin is used, the abrasion created sometimes results in a loss of tensile strength within the yarns, causing them to prematurely fail. This is known as “resin friction”. Lastly, some of these resinous sizing agents will trap the chemicals used during the scouring and dyeing of linen yarns, or may react with “sulfur dyed” linen fabrics, causing the chemical degeneration of the fibers.

So keep in mind that the upside of fewer wrinkles comes with the down side of more problems and a shorter life cycle.


Copyright © 2013 NCA, All rights reserved

A Simple Tip for Wrinkle – Free Packing… Our Plastic Bag

Plastic BagThere’s not much more to say other than the fact that simply putting each garment you’re worried about into one of our plastic bags means you’ll arrive with all your clothes wrinkle-free and ready to wear. 

If you’re interested in the ‘why,’ it’s because the plastic creates a bubble of air that protects the item from being crushed when compressed.  This is one of the reasons we use them to package your clothes in the first place!

We can safely recommend this because at Shaffer’s we do not use the toxic chemical PERC.  If using a dry cleaner that still uses PERC, we always recommend taking clothes out of the plastic bags immediately to avoid toxic chemical residue and odors lingering on your garments. 

So, whatever you drop off for cleaning in preparation of your vacation – it’s ok to leave it in our packaging and place it in your suitcase as is, a la Martha Stewart .

And here’s one more tip!  When you are heading home, tie a knot in the bottom of the bag and presort the laundry so the loads are ready to right into your washing machine.  Of course one bag should also hold all the clothing that needs to go to the dry cleaner!

A Word or Two About Swimwear Care

SwimwearWe all know how damaging the sun’s rays can be to our skin, and how important it is to protect ourselves with highly rated UV protection topical treatments.

And, if it is a choice between protecting your skin and your swimsuit – there is no contest.  Protect your skin first and foremost.

However, you need to keep in mind that sunscreens can permanently stain your swimwear, especially preparations that are oil based.  In a perfect world, you want to give your sunscreen an opportunity to dry and be absorbed by your skin BEFORE you don your favorite suit.  Or at the very least be careful when applying it in areas close to your suit.

You also want to avoid sitting on rough surfaces (concrete around pools, wooden benches, etc.) since they can act as an abrasive snagging or breaking the spandex fibers in your suit, leaving you with unsightly nubs.  Place a towel down before you take a seat to protect your suit from abrasion.

Last but not least, you want to thoroughly rinse your suit of all chlorine and/or salts as soon as possible after having taken a dip in the pool or ocean.  Chlorine and salt are corrosive, and no good will come of letting them stay on your swimwear for a pro-longed period of time.  (A thorough rinse means taking your swimsuit off and letting the water penetrate the fibers.)

Tips for Dads (& Moms) Who Golf

GolfFor the golfers among us, there is nothing that compares with a beautiful sunny day spent on the golf course.  It’s the perfect opportunity to let the sun rejuvenate us, get a bit of a tan and put the worries of the world out of mind while we focus on the game.

The bad news is while the sun is doing wonders for your state of mind; it is also bleaching the color from your favorite golf shirt. This is especially true in the shoulder area and above the waist. (Just think about all that time you spend hunched over your ball getting ready to take your swing.)

And that’s not the only problem created by Mother Nature.  Tree sap (which will undoubtedly find its way onto your clothes when you find yourself in the rough) turns acidic with time, and the resulting chemical reaction also pulls color.

Salts from your perspiration and deodorants will also affect the dyes, sometimes turning them an ‘orange’ hue. 

That’s why it’s important to professionally clean or launder these garments quickly to remove the offending acids and chlorides.  While fast action is no guarantee, it is the best chance your shirt has!

Ironically, these color loss problems don’t usually manifest themselves until after the shirt has been washed/processed.  So while it might look ‘okay’ to you before hand, the invisible damage that was done shows itself after the fabric has been exposed to heat in the washing or drying process.

Happy Fathers Day

As Father’s Day approaches, I’m reminded of the Oscar Wilde quote:  All women become their mothers, and I wonder if he thought the same was true about fathers and sons.

Fathers dayI think back to the things I heard my father say when I was growing up…

Things like:  ‘You’re not going out looking like that’, (and in retrospect he was so right, appearance counts!),

Then as I got older I heard: ‘Remember, whatever you do will go on your permanent record,’  (today, we have the additional worry about facebook posts following our children to job interviews and college admissions.)

And as I think about how much sons do become like their fathers, I’m reminded of another thought, this one from Mark Twain: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”  It happened with me, and I hope someday it will happen with my own children.

In the meantime, we wish you all a Happy Father’s Day.

Take care,

 Patricia, Bake and Your Shaffer Dry Cleaning Team


Wedding Gown Preservation Tips

Once the wedding is over, there are few tangible reminders.  The food and drink were consumed, the flowers have died, the music has stopped playing… all these things that the bride anguished over are just sweet memories.

But there are a couple of things that provide a concrete reminder of the day: the photographs and the wedding gown!

WeddingTaking the time to preserve that wedding gown means it will remain a tangible reminder of the day for many years to come.

Perhaps another generation or two of brides will even wear it!

According to textile and costume conservation specialists, the first step in proper preservation is beginning with a CLEAN item.  You should never store anything that has been worn or is stained, unless you clean it first.  The next preservation step includes protection from: light, (which means never put the gown in a box that has a see-through plastic window), dust and insects, fluctuations in temperature and humidity, storage in plastic, and remember always professional cleaning before storage (this is especially true if the dress in question is silk)!

The storage box should be big enough to accommodate the dress with a minimum of folds, and archival (acid free) quality tissue and box should be used.  Any cardboard  (box, bust forms, etc. should be lignin-free, so that the item isn’t vulnerable to oxidation and turn yellow with age.

Never store your boxed dress in an attic or basement.  The heat and humidity will eventually cause irreparable harm.

If you want to know more about the proper handling or storage of wedding gowns or other potential family heirlooms – feel free to ask us.  We’re here to serve and share.

WWII Rationing:

vogueNo Wool. 
No Silk. 

No Cotton.
No Leather. 

No Nylon. 
No Rubber.

I knew about rationing during WWII – gas, sugar, butter, meat, rubber, but I didn’t realize that there were actual laws passed about fashion that in effect not only rationed clothes, but mandated style! 

 The impact on the garment industry was so huge that VOGUE magazine even did a feature article on it in 1942.

 Here’s some stuff I learned that appealed to the dry cleaner in me that I think you’ll also find interesting:

 1- In 1942 the War Production Board passed Regulation L-85:

             – rationing all natural fibers,

            – dictating the amount of yardage that could be used in a garment and

            – even placing restrictions on drastic changes in fashion styles!

 This last item was an effort to remove temptation from the path of fashionistas, who might be tempted to buy what they didn’t need just to be stylish!  In fact, the Board deemed it the patriotic duty of every designer to produce fashions that would remain stylish through multiple seasons.

 2- Pant cuffs were banned in order to conserve fabrics.

 3-There were restrictions on the length of skirts and on the fullness of pants and jackets.

 4- These restrictions are what prompted designers to introduce separates, which afforded people the luxury of having more outfits with fewer clothes.  It was the birth of casual wear; an outgrowth of Yankee ingenuity.

 5- Color choices were limited, nylon stocking production was halted (in favor of parachutes), rayon production was geared up (it was used in stockings – see image below) and rubber was no longer available for use in women’s foundation garments (frankly, I think this was probably a blessing in disguise for women across the nation!).