I know that everyone’s weather is different (I know science…) but it is getting colder and colder here now- sadly no snow yet, but we’ve had a good 10°C drop in weather overall. The wind blows right through you, your cheeks get that pink tinge, and just hoping that you can run straight from the bus or your car inside isn’t enough anymore. If you live anywhere with any decently cold weather, you will have an entire wardrobe of clothing to wear for it, and that clothing requires specific care. This is a quick guide to caring for your winter clothing!
Dry Clean What Needs Dry Cleaning
The peacoat/ military look is one of my favourites- I don’t get to wear mine quite as much as I would like because it’s not warm enough for anything past about -25°C, but I still care for it the same. Most wool coats require dry cleaning. It shouldn’t need more than one, maybe two cleanings a year (the second would only be if it got incredibly dirty), but if you are going to own a wool coat it is a necessity. Not cleaning it will only land you with a quickly worn out and shoddy looking coat, no matter how much you paid for it, that’s probably only going to last you for a year or two. Here in Winnipeg, getting my coat cleaned runs about $20-25 CAD! I take it in sometime in late October to make sure it’s ready for any holiday parties or evenings out. If you are going to go to the effort of buying a nice winter coat, you need to maintain it properly!
Keep Your Scarves Clean
Keep everything that touches your skin clean- I know that everyone will be shouting “duh” at me, but most people do not actually wash their scarves, hats, and mittens on a regular basis. I find that scarves are the worst culprit, as we are continually breathing germs and moisture onto them, and then they hold it on your face. If I don’t wash my scarf two to three times a month, I will usually find myself with oily skin on my chin that is breaking out. I think that everyone understands the sheer joy that accompanies fresh, clean sheets in your bed- it’s time to apply that to your winter accessories. Mittens will pick up dirt and grime from your car or the bus, if you happen to slip and fall, or anything else you might happen to touch outside. Your hat will pick up sweat and skin cells from your head, in addition to any hair products that you might use. (I know that a lot of people will find greasy hair a problem in the winter because of this…) Every week or two, throw them in with the rest of your laundry and give your skin a chance!
Follow Washing Instructions
Always follow any washing instructions that may accompany your garment, and if there aren’t any, quickly Google the fabric breakdown to see what the optimal wash is. You can easily find yourself with a ruined jacket or sweater because you just didn’t have the patience to pay attention to what was needed. Down jackets and vests are incredibly popular- they are comfortable and warm! However, they aren’t necessarily the easiest to wash. I just washed my own puffer vest from Lululemon, and although I followed the directions, I was fairly panicked- my vest felt like there was nothing in it at all! However, I threw it in the dryer on the lowest setting “Cool- Air Fluff” with a few tennis balls wrapped in socks, and presto- brand new vest again, properly fluffed. If you let a down jacket air dry, the feathers will often clump and not fill the jacket properly (and not only will it look very odd, it won’t actually keep you warm). Go the extra step and check your washing instructions!
Keep a Tab on Your Clothing
This doesn’t only apply to winter clothing, but make sure you know when things need to be replaced. If your jacket if five or six years old, and it’s not really keeping you warm, it’s time to get a new jacket. I usually realise this sometime in February- although I don’t typically buy a new one on the spot, that triggers me to pay attention to sales and buy a new one at the end of the season when they are clearing them out. When it comes to big ticket items like jackets and winter boots, you need to stay on top of them! You may have $300 on hand to grab it whenever you need it, but most people need time to set some money aside. Do yourself a favour and make sure you know when things are wearing out! (This also ties into caring for them properly. If you let your cuffs wear and split, you can’t really surprised when it is falling apart.)
Some people may be lucky enough to live somewhere warm enough where cold weather isn’t an issue- where I live, people die from freezing to death throughout the winter, and frostbite can occur in less than 5 minutes if you aren’t appropriately dressed. Winter clothing to me is far less about style than it is about function, and proper function comes from proper maintenance.
Are you feeling ready for winter weather?