A well-made shirt can cost $100.00 or more. That is an investment to protect. Your shirts will last much longer if they are washed by hand and hung to dry. Don’t use so much detergent that it takes a rinsing marathon to remove it. “A little dab’ll do ya”, as the old Brylcreem jingle said. Ideally, one would hang shirts on a clothesline, upside down, with clothes-pins or pegs. This keeps pinch-marks off the important areas of your shirts. The sun will dry them in no time. Alternatively, one could hang them indoors, perhaps out-of-sight behind the the shower curtain, on hangers. A sturdy spring-rod, placed inside the shower area for the purpose of hanging clothes to dry will not interfere with your existing shower-rod. If you don’t want to get hanger-marks on the shoulders, just put wash-cloths under them, over the ends of your hanger. The worst thing to do, even if you wash your shirts in cold water in the gentle cycle, is to dry them in a machine–doing so will quickly degrade your shirt, which will die an angry death before its time. My husband and I have shirts from France and England that are more than twenty years old, and in perfect condition.
An electric, energy-consuming dryer is an enemy to high-quality clothing. In fact, dryers shrink clothes and wear them out quickly; lint is composed of fibres that a machine robs from your clothes. You’d be surprised at how swiftly shirts dry naturally, and when they are just a wee bit damp, they’re easy to iron. In cases of stubborn collar and cuff soil, when hand-scrubbing fails, you can still wash your white shirts in hot water, soap, and a little bleach, as long as they are rinsed well, and then hung to dry. (Bleach alternative may be a better choice, if you can get it to work on stubborn stains. I sometimes use hydrogen peroxide and/or vinegar.) The sun will do some natural bleaching of white cotton. Save costly energy and your shirts by hand-washing and sun-drying them.
Giving your precious shirts to a dry-cleaner or other laundry service is wasteful. They crush buttons and machine-dry the poor things. Do clothes hanging on a line outdoors conjure up bad images for you? Too bad, because it is one of life’s simple luxuries to be able to dry a beautiful, well-made shirt in the sun–some of the best people do it. Believe me, it’s not remotely infradig to care for your own shirts. After all, who cares for them more than you do?
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, May 2008-2012
Preserving Your Clothing
Clothes dryers are energy-wasters, and will ruin your clothes as well, through fibre-loss and shrinkage. Hand-washing and line-drying your shirts will extend their lives. I use Zote soap and a small microfibre cloth to rub dirt out of cuffs and collars. Underarms need special attention, too. The reason for using a microfibre cloth instead of a brush is that it is more gentle on the fabric, but is strong enough to grab what I like to call “café crud” from cuffs. You don’t need a fancy contraption for clothes-drying; a nylon line from a variety store, and a packet of wooden clothes-pins or pegs for three dollars or a couple of pounds will do just fine.
When travelling, pack a small piece of Octagon, Zote or similar bar of laundry soap for hand-washing dainties and shirts in your quarters. The shower is a nice place to hang them; they will likely dry overnight, and probably not need ironing. You might pack a couple of clothes-pegs as well.
The sun acts as a fabric brightener, and your clothes will have a clean, fresh scent if treated to a sun-bath.
See examples of how to dress elegantly, by the writer who brought Classic, Elegant Dressing to you in 2006. In her latest Elegant Dressing blog, M-J de Mesterton gives explanations of style, instructive photographs, and recommendations for accessories, directing tasteful readers to currently-available, elegant clothes.
There they go again: sending high-school teens to foreign resorts for “spring break”, where kids can indulge in barbaric activities, while risking kidnapping, disease and even death. Like the parents of the teenage girl who disappeared in Aruba, these New Yorkers thought it was chic to allow under-age kids to go gallivanting about in tropical climes. For all their purported sophistication, none among these geniuses received the memos about kidnapping, the white slave-trade, and rampant murder in Mexico. And now, because of their mindless allegiance to convention, which dictates that even the quite young should be allowed to participate in this increasingly toxic “spring break” tradition, these ridiculous parents have imported a deadly flu. We all remember the imbecilic attitude of the Columbine murderers’ parents, and what that lax bunch spawned….
The authorities tell you to use hand-sanitizer. That’s a good idea. Maybe that little precaution taught to President Obama by President Bush when they shook hands, and which was castigated as “racist” by vicious left-wingers, has possibly saved the president’s life. After all, Mr. Obama shook hands on April 16th with a Mexican official who died from the new influenza just a few days later.
My husband and I have always gone out in gloves. We hate germs of all stripes. I’ve never gone grocery shopping without gloves. For one thing, the carts are filthy, and carry spittle from little kids, a population that seems to often be sick. Once we are home, I wash every item to the best of my ability to kill whatever exterior bacteria they carry; the possibility of surface germ-transference is something I never ignore.
Don’t be afraid to wear gloves. People wore them all the time forty or fifty years ago, and had done so for centuries. Would you rather get a look that could kill or acquire a disease that may kill you from some boorish cad who goes out into the public to spread virulence for sport? And while you’re at it, you may consider following the new fashion embraced by our Mexican neighbors and wear a matching mask; this thing is airborne, as well as communicable through surfaces.
Of course, wearing stylish gloves with today’s inelegant hip-hugging pants and skirts will look silly. I recommend dumping these muffin-top-inducing clothes, as well, and covering up your skin to the waist (unless , of course, you are planning a belly dancing career and wish to serve as your own best advertising gimmick).
Well, I always look for a silver lining: maybe this outbreak of worrying disease will cause people to wear actual clothing, shoes, gloves and hats…. No, I’m just dreaming–even the threats of economic ruin and dread disease haven’t mitigated the self-destructive behaviour of Americans.
I’ve advocated the wearing of gloves on Elegant Survival since its beginning in 2006 (see “The Merits of Wearing Gloves”, my old article). My husband and I have worn gloves for decades, whether or not they were in fashion. Now, there are even more reasons to wear them, with the proliferation of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus and H1N1 viruses, both of which may cause death, and are transmitted by surface-contact. Traditionally, it did not have to be cold outside, as it was on Inauguration Day outdoors in Washington, D.C., for ladies to wear gloves. Gloves will protect your hands from deadly germs and viruses, protect your jewelry from unwanted attention in-transit, and cushion your hands should you trip and fall on the pavement. For reasonable prices and a very extensive selection of glove styles, try
These days of economic disaster bring desperados in the form of purse-snatchers and pick-pockets. An elegant safari jacket has four ample pockets that button, in which you may carry all that you require for a shopping trip, light travel or touring. This Ralph Lauren ladies’ safari jacket is made of silk, is lined, and has a belt at the true waist to make you look chic, slim and elegant while protecting yourself from various elements.
So, you are possessed of a perfectly shaped body and decide to go shopping. There is nothing available but low-rise pants and skirts that rest on the hip. The fashion industry and its manufacturers are saving big bucks on your back. You decide that to go against what seem to be the demands of current fashion is pointless, so you buy whatever looks prettiest on the hanger. Once it goes onto your well-toned corpus, something sinister happens: your legs now look a mere foot long, and your tight “abs” sit above the low-rise top of your skirt or slacks, looking for all the world like a beer-gut. What’s happening here? The fashion industry is sabotaging your looks while saving themselves money on yardage. It’s now impossible to find a pair of pants, tights, or a skirt that comes up to the natural waist; anything that does is derisively and incorrectly labeled “high-waisted”.
If you must have your clothes made for you in order to avoid this sick, disfiguring fashion regime, there are ways to do it without breaking the bank. A well-constructed pair of corduroy, moleskin or tweed trousers will get you through the depression in style, last for many years, and what’s most appealing about them is that they will make you look taller than everyone else (unfortunate fashion-victims that they are). Even a well-shaped jacket can be sabotaged by slacks, skirts, or trousers that hang below it. Last night’s Academy Awards brought out a cavalcade of men whose crotches landed below the bottom edge of their jackets–poor misguided fellows, yet rich enough to get it right. Overly long slacks creating a puddle of fabric on top of men’s shoes do not lengthen their legs visually–they just look wretchedly tailored.
A tasteful and reliable source for elegant, durable tweed jackets and trousers is Bookster U.K. They will guide you through the ordering process, and see to it that your clothes have an actual waist, so that your investment isn’t a waste. The clothes are made by Bookster in England. There are plenty of British and American companies that copy the traditional English styles, but have them made inexpensively in China. Yet, these clothes are crafted the old-fashioned way, close to where the fabrics are milled in the United Kingdom. It may take a couple of months to have a great pair of trousers or elegant jackets made, but you just might be wearing them for a lifetime. Bookster U.K. is a small operation with a huge reputation for customer service and fine clothing. They specialize in equestrian and tweed clothes, which are perfect for town and country.
Don’t let hip-hop fashion and cheap clothing manufacturers dictate your style. It is time for an uprising against the tyranny of low-rise clothing.
Judging from the detailed description and drawing of this elegant pant-suit pattern in Vogue Patterns catalogue, the trousers have a true waist, though it’s hard to see it in the photo on the left. Badgley Mischka Suit at Vogue Patterns If you can’t or won’t sew, give the pattern and your choice of fabric to a seamstress who will.
Comments on the Waist
It’s time for designers and marketers to stop calling a true waist a “high waist”.
Just because the industry bastardized the waist for so many years (actually eliminated the waist altogether), and it was nearly impossible to find anything but the old, tired hip-huggers from the sixties and seventies, they assume that they can call anything that actually lands on the waist “high-waisted”.
Innumerable are the times have I explained to both men and women that to wear trousers starting below the navel is to seriously truncate one’s legs. How many people are lucky enough to have very long legs? Only they can afford to sport this fashion foolishness without looking short and dumpy.
A skirt or pair of trousers that doesn’t come up to the natural waist is a waste of money. It is neither classic nor flattering to your figure. ~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, July 2008
The Perfect Jacket, Dress and Skirt Pattern
This four-in-one Vogue pattern, V1068, for a jacket, dress, blouse, gored skirt and trousers with a real waist, is a great find! These are truly flattering styles; classic shapes for grown-up women. The jacket is peplum-style, and can be belted and worn with six-button length gloves. I have some brown suede gloves exactly as shown in the Vogue photo. One of the benefits of making things from patterns is being able to choose your fabric, which lowers your chances of having an ensemble identical to someone else’s. I’m going to buy this Vogue pattern, during this two-day sale, and have someone make the pieces for me. Click on the photo for pattern number and ordering. Remember, sizes of patterns are much different from those in ready-made clothing. Size-Chart for Vogue Patterns
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