What good is a pair of pink Prada linen mules after a bus splashes them with gutter grunge?
A cashmere sweater after a waiter spills a glass of red wine on it?
They're as good a new if you know the luxury clothes care basics.
After all, one of the most important aspects of fashion is keeping all those precious garments looking clean and well-maintained after you get them home.
These luxury clothes care tips can help you safely tackle some of the toughest stains you're likely to encounter.
It's new, it so fresh it's hot - but how do I take care of it after I get it home?
When it comes to luxury clothes care, it pays to know your fibers and clean accordingly.
With any fabric blend, tailor your cleaning to the most delicate component of the garment.
You'll find that info - and suggested cleaning methods - on the garment's care tag.
If either the fiber, trim, or binding requires hand washing, or low-temperature washing and drying, this determines the garment's cleaning care.
When in doubt, wash according to the primary fiber in the blend.
But when clothes are labeled dry-clean only, must you obey?
The dry-cleaning industry will tell you, yes, and if you can't live without that silk blouse, you should comply.
If you clean it yourself, you risk damage like shrinkage, color loss or fading, and fabric texture changes - silk can lose its sheen, and linen can end up looking lumpy instead of crisp.
The benefits: If you don't mind gambling, you save money and have the item ready when you need it.
Your best hand-washing bets (cold water, please) include plain-weave light-colored silks, cashmere (washed inside out), fuzzy sweaters, and fancy loose-weave knits.
If the garment is simply constructed with no sewn-in shoulder pads, lining, or delicate trim, has no sequins or beads glued to the fabric; and is not open-weave or loosely woven, give it a try.
Hand-wash only please with a gentle fabric wash.
It pays to know your fibers. Here's a guide to luxury clothes care and cleaning by fabric type:
How important is the right laundry temperature?
It directly affects the performance of the laundry detergent, the wrinkling of fabrics, and the life span of your clothes - so follow the care labels.
If the label is not legible, remember that hot water works well on ground in and hard-to-remove dirt on sturdy fabrics.
Warm water minimizes color fading and wrinkling.
Choose it for washing synthetic fibers, natural and synthetic blends, and moderately soiled fabrics.
Cold water will protect most dark or bright-colored clothing from running and minimizes shrinkage of washable woolens.
Use it for lightly soiled clothes and those with blood, wine, or coffee stains (which may set if washed in warm or hot water), regardless of fabric.
If you're going to do a cold-water wash, check first for stains and spots and pretreat garments; detergent doesn't clean heavily soiled areas as well in cold water. If you do lots of cold-water washes, consider using a laundry detergent designed to work in all temperatures.
But for the rinse cycle, cold water is excellent for all types of loads. Another benefit: A cold-water rinse can reduce the energy used per load by up to one-third and minimize wrinkling in synthetic and permanent-press fabrics.
Protect your shoes by giving them a quick spritz of a Scotchguard-type fabric protector before the first wearing. Reapply every few weeks.
To keep shoes looking like new, store them in the shoe boxes they came in, or in clear plastic shoe bags.
Even if you don't venture out in them regularly, your shoes can become stained and damaged by merely hanging out open and exposed in your closet, quietly gathering dust.
Dust causes some of the worst damage to shoes. So keep your shoes - especially the good ones - covered.
Now that you know the basics of luxury clothes care, get out there and strut your stuff confidently! No matter what manner of stain or blight befalls you, you've got it covered.