In previous blogs, I’ve talked about swimsuits and shorts for the heat that’s headed our way but there’s another aspect of summer that clients ask me about; wearing and caring for their whites. Since whites are so closely associated with hot weather, it’s a good idea to know how to keep them at their best, or when to replace them. Here I’ve put together some style savvy hacks to help you maintain your white pieces in tip-top shape.
There’s nothing more crisp or cool than a white cotton button down shirt, a white cotton knit or white denim and they’re staples in my closet. Knowing how to care for them keeps them pristine. To start, only wash cottons every couple of wears, more for denim. Obviously we need to follow the care instructions on the tags but there are several hints to add to those instructions. Most cottons, including T shirt knits and white denim, are machine washable ( if you’re careful ), but if you’re a dry cleaning addict, you may think that cleaning is better than washing for your cottons. Actually, dry cleaning can damage whites by yellowing or turning them gray, especially under the arms where deodorant stains are prevalent. Instead of dry cleaning, your cleaner can launder those pieces , or you can do that at home.
First, treat stains immediately. If you do launder your clothes yourself, add a cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle. This will strip detergent residue from the cloth and help prevent discoloration. Always use bleach(on bleach safe fabrics ) and the hottest water that’s safe. Another trick that personal stylists use is to dry your white cottons outside. The sun is a natural bleaching agent. To get that crisp look, iron the pieces but use spray starch lightly, and only every other time you iron to help prevent chemical build up. If you prefer to have your clothes laundered professionally, request light ( if any ) starch. It’s also a good idea to wash them yourself every few times they’re sent out, and use the vinegar trick. These style savvy tips will help keep those cottons looking like new.
If your whites are polyester or another man made fabric, the first step is the same. Treat stains promptly. While sitting with stain remover, rub underarms and the inside of the collar with lemon juice. This helps get rid of deodorant marks and ring around the collar. Wash in the temperature of water that’s indicated and remove from the washer as soon as the cycle is complete. If you choose to machine dry, use low heat and remove immediately. Iron with a cool iron.
Another hack regarding whites is to know when to replace them. If stain removers, bleach and drying them outside don’t get out the stains, be prepared to buy new. White T shirts should be rebought every year or two, because of the yellowing and because they begin to show wear and tear. White denim lasts much longer but may also need replacing after a few years, when it begins to look dingy. Because of this, my personal stylist self recommends that you don’t buy expensive white cotton pieces. Since white clothes are available at all price points, I suggest spending a minimal amount and since you’re not breaking the bank, use this opportunity to go trendy. Today’s white trends include distressed and raw hem jeans, or a pastel ombre, shading from pale blue or pink to white. Logo or band T shirts are also in vogue right now.
Try them and enjoy them for the time that they’re hot. Treat them well and remind yourself to replace them with the newest fad in a year or two. And remember, “trend” is today but “style” is forever!