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Off The Rack: Caring For Your Winter Coat

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

If you’re easily offended, you may want to cover your eyes and ears. I’m going to make reference to two of the most “illicit” words that most of you may be furious about me bringing up, especially at this time of year. They are “Fall” and “Winter”…both just around the corner.

I’ve already seen Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decorations up in the stores….and like most of you, though I’m dreading it (with a capital D), I know, I’ll soon have to put away my sultry summer “stuff” and exchange it for some warmer cool-weather alternatives.

While suede, leather, and cashmere are still okay (in fact, it may still be way too warm for cashmere, even at night), it won’t be long before they too will be “out of season”….then what? By then most of the bikinis and cruise wear will be out on the racks, and a winter coat in your size, virtually impossible to find.

One thing to remember when buying a coat (especially if you’re getting an early start) is making sure it has enough room to accommodate bulky winter shirts and sweaters. Furthermore, you’ll want to have one for work, one for everyday errands, and one for special and extra special occasions. And, you’ll want to make sure that your investment lasts you through the season (and beyond). Besides quality, one sure way to ensure “longevity” is by applying a little TLC.

To Clean Or Not To Clean…That Is The Question:

While the elements (including morning coffee and possible jam from your donut) can wreak havoc on your outer layer(s), over-cleaning can sap the life (and color) out of your garment. Even professionally dry-cleaning your coat puts it at risk for listlessness.

Instead experts suggest spot cleaning. This helps clean up little “messes” without putting your coat (literally) through the “ringer” and unnecessary wear and tear.

Professionals also point out the importance of reading the cleaning directions prior to purchase. They suggest looking for garments that offer alternatives to “dry clean only”.

Coat Hang Outs:

The best place to hang your coat is not on a rack, or at the top of a door, or over a chair. According to fashion aficionados, you should:

· Make sure to use a really good (wooden or plastic) hanger to help it retain its shape.

· Hang the coat on the jacket properly so that it is centered and NOT hanging more on one side than the other.

· Make sure the store gives you the (quality) coat hanger the coat was “displayed’ on. The “finer” establishments generally offer the option as a general rule.

· NEVER hand your coat on a flimsy plastic or wire hanger, in fact, professionals recommend throwing those out because they tend to damage/ruin most clothing.

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