luxury clothes care tips
for a well-heeled wardrobe

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 tips for each garment investment in your closet.

After all, one of the most important aspects of fashion is caring for all those precious garments after you get them home.

Here's how to tackle some of the toughest stains you're likely to encounter on delicate, luxurious clothes.

Luxury Clothes Care for Basic Blends

It's new, it so cool 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.

Does "Dry Clean" Mean "Dry Clean Only"?

If the label says "Dry Clean" instead of "Dry Clean Only", it may be hand washable. But with most garments, be sure to follow the manufacturer's care instructions as these take into account all parts of the garment, including linings, trimmings, and special finishes.

Caring for Fine and Funky Fabrics

Here's your guide to cleaning fabrics by type of fiber.

  • Cashmere: Got a red wine spill? Wash on the delicate cycle - or by hand - in cold water. Don't wring cashmere - you'll damage the fibers. Reshape and lay flat to dry away from direct heat or sunlight. To remove excess water after washing, gently roll in a towel.
  • Hemp: Hemp is a natural fabric whose popularity has grown over the past decade. On the bright side: It washes well because it is stronger wet than dry. Machine wash in warm or cool water, on the permanent press or casual cycle. It dries quickly - hanging dry is sufficient. Dry cleaning is not recommended.
  • Pashmina: Don't be afraid to wash this silk and cashmere blend. It spent 30 to 60 minutes in water just below the boiling point followed by two washes during the dying process that made it so lustrous-looking. Wash in warm water with a gentle laundry detergent or baby shampoo. Lay flat to dry. Machine drying can damage fibers.
  • Beaded blue jeans: Turn inside out and wash in cool water, use the hand wash cycle. Dry flat or on a dryer rack - not in the dryer. 
  • Linen: Linen washes well because it is stronger wet than dry. A 60-degree Celsius wash is most effective, as that temperature smoothes the surface of the flax fibers, allowing laundry stains to be released easily. Don't pack the washing machine to capacity when washing linen; the highly absorbent fiber can absorb twice its weight in water. 
  • Linen should always be ironed damp, first on the wrong side to eliminate creases and then on the other side to enhance the fabric's natural sheen.
  • Machine-washing is the preferred manner for cleaning Lycra. If other fibers in the garment are machine washable, this is the recommended method for cleaning. Thorough washing and rinsing bring out the best in Lycra.

Luxury Clothes Care for Shoes and Bags

Consider protecting your shoes in the future by giving them a quick spritz of a Scotchguard-type fabric protector before the first wearing. Reapply every few weeks. 

Your handbag and shoes investment is worth a bit of extra care to keep it looking sharp.

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 simply hanging out in your closet gathering dust.

Dust causes some of the worst damage to shoes. So keep your shoes covered. 

  • Vinyl or patent leather can be revived with a spritz of Pledge furniture polish directly on the handbag or shoes. Or, spray the furniture cleaner onto a lint-free cloth and buff away.
  • Linen mules or handbags may be sponged-clean with warm water and mild soap, such as Dove, dissolved in warm water. Leave heavy soils to a handbag or shoe repair shop or specialty dry cleaner to prevent discoloration.
  • On leather, skip the hair spray. It's sticky and dulling and simply doesn't do the job. Vinegar, however, does. Simply blot a bit of household white vinegar on a soft rag and place it on the shoe's stain marks. Allow it to soak into the leather a few minutes, then rub the cloth on the area to gently remove the stain. Allow to dry before wearing.

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.

› Taking Care of Luxury Clothes