HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES
Wool is a remarkable fiber. It’s all-natural, renewable, and biodegradable. It performs incredibly well across different seasons and climates. It’s a natural insulator, but its unique properties make it breathable as well, depending on the warmth and humidity surrounding it. Its resiliency makes it highly resistant to tearing and breaking. Its elasticity gives a natural stretch, but returns to its natural shape afterwards rather than deforming. Wool is colorfast even after getting wet. It is odor resistant, is not an allergen, has a high level of UV protection, and doesn’t promote bacteria growth. It’s also long-lasting and easy to care for.
A well-made and properly maintained suit will last for years. Most guys tend to dry clean their suits too often, which shortens its lifespan. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your Beckett & Robb garment:
Rotate your suits. Wear a suit only once or twice a week at most, and allow for a few days between uses. This allows it to recover its shape and release wrinkles accumulated throughout the day.
- Get an extra pair of trousers whenever possible. The trouser gets the most use and tends to wear out more quickly than the jacket, so rotating the trouser can extend the life of the suit significantly.
- Brush it off with a suit brush after use. It removes any excess dust or dirt that could settle into the fibers.
- Hang it well. Use a hanger with a wide shoulder and the proper curve to preserve the shape of the shoulders. Hang the trouser correctly to preserve creases.
- Let it breathe after use on its hanger. Give it a good amount of space to air out before being put back into close quarters amongst its fellows.
- Treat and spot clean any stains whenever possible. We recommend you use this Stain Solution to do it.
- To freshen a suit, bring it in to one of our shops for a hand press, always free of charge.
- Avoid dry cleaning. The high temperatures and chemicals deteriorate the fibers, and the pressing machines flatten the chest and lapels. Once a year is usually sufficient if it must be done. Be sure to find a cleaner that will take good care with your suit.
- Don’t steam the suit or put it into a steamy bathroom to release wrinkles. It might successfully get rid of a few wrinkles, but it also could make the rest of the suit lose the shape that’s been expertly pressed into the cloth with heat and pressure. Wool fiber has a memory, and steam can cause the fibers to lose it. We recommend you use this Crease Release solution instead.
- Alter when necessary. Clothing that is too small can wear out more quickly at the seams and could stress the cloth.
- For storage, ensure the above steps of brushing and hanging are completed, and place in a garment bag or suit cover to keep it free from dust and away from moths.
Treating, washing, and ironing your shirts at home is an ideal scenario for giving your shirts the longest life possible. There are several steps and some time required, but the results can be great if you know the basics of doing laundry and how to iron a shirt (and you should, even if you send your shirts out to be laundered).
Begin by pre-treating the collars and cuffs, as well as hitting any stains with oxiclean or a stain remover. Use the delicate cycle on the washing machine, and allow to dry on a hanger. Avoid using a dryer as they could increase shrinkage and the overall lifespan of the shirt.
Iron the shirt using steam and a spray bottle of water, and avoid using any starch. If you would like to stiffen up any part of your shirt, this fabric solution by The Laundress, Stiffen Up, will do the trick.
If you prefer to take your shirts to the cleaners, have them do a wash and press, if this isn’t already their default method. It’s similar to the process you’d use at home, but the pressing is done with a large machine that can break buttons and do damage to collars. For a lot of guys, having shirts laundered is a reasonable cost for the time savings, even if it does shorten the life of the shirt a bit or sometimes even cause some damage. Have them skip the starch.
TOPCOATS & OVERCOATS
Care for your topcoats and overcoats exactly as you would a suit. See above.
Every man should be proficient in caring for his shoes. Here's a quick overview:
- Prepare an area. Shoe polish stains clothes and upholstery, so make sure you're working someplace where you've laid down some newspaper or something to cover anything you don't want to possibly damage. Wear an apron, or change clothes you'd not like to see stained, just in case. Also, latex gloves can be useful to prevent polish from staining your fingertips.
- Have your kit ready. We recommend Saphir Medaille d’Or products. Your kit should include:
Saphir Renovateur- Prepares the leather by cleaning, nourishing, and moisturizing.
Saphir Cream Polish- An all-natural cream made with animal oil and beeswax, for nourishing, recoloring and waterproofing. It provides a nice, soft shine as well.
Saphir Pate De Luxe Wax Polish- This wax polish contains 7 different types of waxes and natural turpentine oil to shine, color, and protect shoes.
Polishing Brush- Usually horsehair, the brush is used to buff conditioners and cream polishes off the shoe after they’ve dried.
- Soft cotton cloth- Used to apply polish. You can also use a dauber for polish application, but we find that a cotton cloth from an old, soft shirt cut into 6” wide strips do the trick nicely.
- Cotton Chamois- Used for buffing a high gloss shine.
- Begin by using a rag or brush to remove any dirt or dust
- Using a soft cotton cloth, apply a small amount of Saphir Renovateur in small circular motions. For shoes with built up wax (you can tell if there is excess wax polish built up because it looks cracked, dry, and irregular to the rest of the color of the shoe) it may be necessary to put some energy and force into the motion to remove the buildup. Allow to dry for 4-5 minutes. The surface of the shoe should appear hazy. Use the polishing brush to remove the excess renovateur.
- Using a different section of the cotton cloth, apply cream polish to the entire shoe in small amounts, applied in circular motions. Be sure the color of the cream is a good match for the leather, when in doubt apply to a small section first to be sure. The pigments in the cream polish restore color to the leather. If the cream is darker than the leather, it could cause it to darken over time. To preserve the color of the shoe, especially lighter shoes, use a cream that is lighter than the leather of the shoes. Allow the cream polish to dry for 4-5 minutes, then remove the excess polish using the polishing brush.
- Repeat step 5 a few more times, allowing the polish to dry each time, and removing excess polish with the polishing brush. At this stage the shoe should have a nice, matte polish, which may be sufficient for some men who don’t want a glossy shine.
- Use Saphir Pate de Luxe wax polish to enhance the shine further. Apply using the cotton cloth, in small circular motions. The wax polish provides a high gloss shine, and can further waterproof your shoes. One or two applications over the shoe is sufficient. Allow to dry, and remove excess polish with the polishing brush.
- For a mirror-like shine, focus on the toe box and heel of the shoe only (the excess wax polish will crack in areas where the shoe bends). Apply more wax polish in small circular motions, this time add a drop or two of water to the leather and work it into the leather along with the wax. Allow to dry, and buff with the cotton chamois using fast side to side motion. The heat from the friction produces the high gloss shine. Repeat this step several more times until your desired finish is achieved, but remember to only apply a small amount of wax each time to avoid build up.
The best stain remover solution we use it Stain Solution, by The Laundress. If you don't have a bottle, use the following tips and tricks to get a stain out, or at least to prevent it from setting until a dry cleaner can finish the job. Many of these methods use soaking or saturating with something that will eventually be washed out in a washing machine, and apply mostly to shirts. For suits or other un-washables, try blotting with the substance, then use a sponge to absorb any residual moisture. For tough stains on clothes you can't wash, a trustworthy dry cleaner will be the best recourse.
Ketchup: Scrape off any excess, then apply a mixture of cool water and liquid dish soap (or hand soap if dish soap isn't readily available). For tougher stains, blot with white vinegar.
Ink: Spray heavily with hair spray or douse with rubbing alcohol and blot. Apply laundry detergent directly to the spot before putting into the wash.
Blood: Hold the fabric under cool, running water while rubbing it against itself. Avoid hot water, which sets the stain permanently.
Oils: Blot excess from fabric with a cloth or napkin. Work baking soda or cornstarch into the stain to draw it out. Wash with detergent. Or, blot with a sponge into which you've put a few drops of dish soap, as I've demonstrated previously.
Perspiration: Saturate the area with shampoo--preferably one for normal hair, as shampoos for dry hair contain extra conditioners--and then launder as usual.
Red Wine: Blot with club soda. The salt helps prevent permanent staining while the bubbles in the soda help lift the stain.
Coffee/Tea: Rinse with white vinegar or commercial stain remover. Blot.
Grass: Soak the area with white vinegar for an hour, then wash.
Chocolate: Scrape off excess with a dull knife or spoon. Saturate the spot with a solution made from a tablespoon of an enzyme detergent (like Wisk) and two cups of water. Let stand for 20 minutes, then rinse well.
Lipstick: Remove as much as possible with a credit card or dull knife. Dab with baby wipes, then rinse with hot water to dissolve the oils.
Chewing Gum: Freeze the gum with a wrapped ice cube, then peel it off the garment.