At the end of November, my mum asked me to help her get the nativity scene out of the attic. It was uncharacteristically early for her to set it up, but given the two years we’ve all experienced, I understood her desire for the year to be finished and the holidays to arrive.
And now here we are, deep in a strange festive season, where party invitations are dependent on producing a negative rapid antigen test.
The threat of catching Covid aside, parties can be hazardous places, especially for our clothes. From less-than socially distanced dancefloors to cigarette smoke and spilt drinks – this week we ask some experts how to care for your outfit, once the revelry is over.
Give them some air
No matter how tempting it may be, Chloe Naughton, the program director for Melbourne Fashion festival, says “the worst thing you can do is take off whatever you’re wearing and leave it in a pile on the floor”.
Instead, she suggests hanging it, or laying it flat on a drying rack or table to air it out before putting it away. If you have a steamer, and extraordinary willpower, she suggests giving each piece a light steam first.
When you get home, hang up clothes outside your closet, or leave them to air flat. Photograph: Nerida McMurray Photography/Getty Images
When Naughton gets home at the end of the night, the fabric and construction of the garment will determine whether she hangs it up or lays it down, since some things like knits and heavy cottons can be stretched by hanging. A good rule of thumb is to hang up clothes you’d normally hang, and lay clothes you’d normally fold out flat.
This is even more important if your clothes smell like cigarettes. She says be sure to hang them up outside your wardrobe, and not put them anywhere near your clean clothes. “Then take it to the dry cleaners first thing in the morning.” At a pinch, she says, you can also use a fabric freshener spray.
Stop stains on the spot
Naughton says if someone spills wine, the best thing to do is pour sparkling water on it immediately to flush out the stain. She says this helps to “break it down and stops it from embedding into the threads”. But if it’s a delicate fabric, like silk, it should be left alone and taken promptly to the dry cleaners the morning after.
Immediately flushing a wine spill out with sparkling water can help flush out a stain – unless the fabric is very delicate. Photograph: Betsie Van der Meer/Getty Images
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