The Sartorial Lawyer – Part 3: Garment Care

Professional Fashion Advice

So much depends on your lucky tie or that special confidence-boosting blouse. In their third fashion installment, sartorial lawyers Robin Haynes and Vincent Humphrey offer their advice for keeping clothes crisp and clean.

Summer vacation is over, fashion class is in session, and today we are talking about laundering your best duds. Recall that sinking feeling you get when you put on your lucky tie or your favorite blouse, take that sip of coffee, and then look down to see that not all of your coffee actually made it into your mouth. Or perhaps the culprit is that late-night slice of pizza or glass of wine from dinner. We’ve all been there. Here are a few tips on how to handle it.

Wash your clothes less often
One of the more obvious tips and ways to avoid doing so much laundry and to save at the dry cleaners is to just do it less often. You don’t have to wash everything after every wear, every single time. Actually, you can wear certain items more than once if you take certain precautions, such as wearing an undershirt. Remove jackets, suit pants and ties and hang them in a ventilated area upon returning home. Ladies, remove tights and bras, rinse in cold water and hang to dry. If you have pantyhose, just take them off and throw them away. (This opinion is held strongly by sartorial lawyer Haynes, but is a personal opinion not to be attributed to the WSBA or sartorial lawyer Humphrey.) A fabric refresher like Febreze and Bac-Out (if you’re doing a green thing) are great for jackets. Spritz and let dry.

Handle those stains quickly
Don’t wait until you find your bleach pen — many of those pesky stains come right out with some simple household items. The faster you are able to handle stains, the more time you will have to prepare for your next deposition or the next episode of Game of Thrones. A great travel soap that one of your writers never leaves home without is the Wash & Stain Bar. When traveling, you can handle all your clothing faux paus in your hotel room sink with ease (or wash a full load of travel clothes in your hotel tub).

  • Tomato sauce: Blot this out with water and ammonia. For stronger stains, try using good old hydrogen peroxide, but test the fabric first.
  • Red wine: Put white wine on top of the stain, or ask the bartender for some club soda and blot the stain out.
  • Ink: Place the stained area on a clean towel, then use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover to blot it out.
  • Sweat stains: Mix equal parts water and lemon juice. Leave garment in the sun (hopefully you’re doing this in summer) for several hours. Pro tip for sweat stains or workout clothes: Let those clothes dry fully before putting them in the hamper if not washing them immediately. If your spandex starts to smell, consider an athletic-specific detergent or soak overnight with baking soda and cold water before washing.
  • Coffee: It happens to the best of us, especially in Washington state. All you have to do is run the stained material under cold water on the back of the stain for 3–5 minutes, rubbing gently every minute or two. This will help loosen the stain, and you can repeat to get tougher stains out. Remember to rub gently — you don’t want to rip or tear clothing accidentally by being overzealous.
  • Grass: First of all, we hope this wasn’t on your suit, dress, or pant suit. If so, discontinue reading the rest of this article and go for a long walk.

Use two hampers
Stop wasting all that time sorting between whites and colors. With two hampers, when you take your clothes off before bed, you get the benefit of sorting without having to try by just throwing the clothes into their proper hamper. It may seem like a minor annoyance at the time, but you’ll thank us when it’s time to do laundry and all you have to do is pick up and go.

Read the instructions
You know that little tag with those funny-looking hieroglyphics? Well, it actually tells you the correct way to wash your clothes. Who knew? It makes a difference and will prolong the life and integrity of your clothes. If the item says “dry clean only” and it’s part of a set (like a suit), dry clean both items together every time, even if only one item is dirty. You’ll keep the fading of the fabric consistent. For hand-washables, an inexpensive lingerie bag will allow you to skip the hand wash and do a cold gentle cycle — just remember to air dry.

Kiss that other sock goodbye
Really, people, it’s time to eulogize that sucker and let it go. The time that you are spending trying to hunt down the other sock could be used in so many other ways. If you are running low, throw out the singles that you have and go get some that are currently paired up in a relationship. This time, go big and get a fewer colors from the same brand. This way, you don’t have to fold them up and sort them, just throw them in your sock drawer and voila — so long as you grab two of the same color, you’ll be set.

Readers: What do you want to know from your partners in fashion? We welcome your questions!

Young Lawyers Committee – The Voice of New/Young Lawyers

The Washington Young Lawyers Committee (WYLC) is the vehicle for new attorneys and law students to get involved with the Washington State Bar Association.

Read more from the YLC. Learn more about the YLC.

2 thoughts on “The Sartorial Lawyer – Part 3: Garment Care

  1. George Purdy

    Thanks for the tips. Good point about orphaned socks. “Sock locks” are great to keep socks paired. Makes everything easier. My legal secretary, the mother of 4 boys, taught me that when the original “sock lock” was a safety pin.

  2. Rosemary Irvin

    In theatre costuming the costumes are frequently worn multiple times between cleanings.
    One trick used to combat perspiration odor is to use a light spray of clear Vodka on
    underarm areas of jackets or garments that are not readily washable.

Comments are closed