*Shrinkage & Putting on Weight – Collar & Waist Extenders.

*Washing & Ironing: 7 Do's & 4 Don'ts.

*Damaging Accessories - Watch What You Wear.

*Invisible Menders - And How to Spot Them

*Underclothes To The Rescue.

*Make Your Shoes Walk Further.


*Shrinkage & Putting on Weight

Gentlemen; most cotton shirt collars shrink after a few washes. And did you realise that for every 7 lbs extra holiday weight you put on, your neck-size grows by around ½”. So most men will have a number of shirts in their wardrobe that when worn with a tie, are just too tight around the neck.

This often temporary situation (Too many Christmas puddings, or too little exercise lying on a beach) is easily remedied by using a collar extender. These fall into two camps – elastic buttons; and specially designed collar-band extenders. The former don’t really solve the problem as they simply tighten the collar band around your sensitive neck; whilst the latter (UNSTRANGLER COLLAR EXTENDERS) provide a shaped, and genuine stiffened extension to your collar band; against which you can tighten your tie – thus saving your sensitive neck. And with new shirts costing what they do, collar extenders will stop your wallet getting an unnecessary bashing, as well as your neck.

Waist extenders usually come in two kinds – Sturdy elastic buttons for jeans; or material-based expanders for more formal pants. The material based expanders come in either button or ‘hook & slot’ type. And in these there is usually a range of material on offer to suit the differing cloth of your trousers. This choice of material is a bit of a red herring – as this type of expander should only be worn hidden under a loose shirt, because when wearing an expander, the zip below it will never fully close completely, leaving an embarrassing wide-open gap, which definitely needs to be covered up.

Ladies; as with gentlemen, waist expanders can prove useful in making pants and slacks as well as skirts last longer and they can often see you through times of fluctuating weight-gain such as pregnancy, without having to replace all your clothes during these temporary ballooning periods of your life..

There are also special pregnancy-related expanders (The Belly Belt Combo) which often have “modesty panels” of material attached for those late term times when the “bump” gets a little out of hand. But again, as these expanders will usually be worn hidden under a loose shirt or jumper, the colour of the material is largely irrelevant.


Washing & Ironing: 7 Do's & 4 Don'ts.

(1) Do carry a stain pen to dab on whenever you are careless with the gravy. As the first stage in keeping stains “loose”, they do work. If you don’t have one, rinse immediately with cold water and blot dry with a clean cloth (never a paper towel or tissue). Or add salt and leave to soak up the stain - particularly effective with red wine.

(2) Do close zips on jeans etc. before washing. Left-open zips act like sharp teeth and chew up the rest of the wash.

(3) Do turn jeans inside out before washing. This avoids those thin pale stripes where the denim blue colour has been rubbed away from creases, on the inside of the drum.

(4) Do dry your knitwear flat, and fold it afterwards for storage, preferably in a moth-proof bag. Hanging knitwear will make it lose its shape.

(5) Do turn all shirts inside out before washing. This helps protect the buttons from constantly bashing into the stainless steel drum.

(6) Do hang your shirts on broad wood or plastic hangers and fasten the top button to keep their just-ironed shape.

(7) Do wash in cooler water, to protect the colour and the fabric weave. Remember – if you want to shrink material, you boil it!

(1) Don’t wash stuff so often. Maybe that garment just needs brushing or running over with a lint roller? Remember – the more you wash it the shorter its life.

(2) Don’t press too hard while ironing the collar tips. The steam holes on the base of the iron can act like a cheese grater on tightly folded cotton.

(3) Don’t iron over the shirt label – it’s probably not made of cotton and may shrink and pucker the shirt material.

(4) Don’t tumble dry shirts – the heat will often shrink the stitching and make them difficult to iron flat at the seams.


*Damaging Accessories -
Sharp Things To Watch Out For.

Gentlemen; choose a watch strap that won’t eat your cuffs. Many expanding metal watch bracelets are too abrasive and their edges too sharp for the inside of a fine cotton shirt cuff, resulting in unnecessary frayed ends after a year or so.

Ladies; Check your jewellery for barbs and sharp edges. It may not have started out prickly when new but over the years the loss of a stone or a tiny broken gold wire will now do untold harm to a silk blouse, a cashmere jumper or a favourite YSL suit.

*Invisible Menders -
And How To Spot The Good From The Bad.

Many dry cleaning companies offer invisible mending, but when you get it back it’s only too visible. True invisible mending of woven cloth involves reweaving the existing pattern with the exact same threads taken from hidden hems of the self same garment. It’s a skill few have and so costs a bit more than your granny’s darning. (to see exactly what is involved go to http://www.invisible-mending.co.uk/)

But when the garment is an expensive one – a Turnbull & Asser jacket, or a Chanel Suit – and it appears ruined by a single moth hole on the lapel, then £50 or so is well worth paying for its resurrection.

And for those less than top notch garments, there are always iron-on patches, which though not truly invisible, will pass muster on a pair of black pants or your favourite jeans, 95% of the time.

*Underclothes To The Rescue.

Gentlemen; wearing a T-shirt between your sweaty body and your prized favourite shirt will do wonders for the shirt’s life. No more sweat stains or discolouration from underarm deodorants

Ladies; You’ll find your clothes often hang better when worn over a slip or camisole. And again, you’ll find they’ll last longer by being kept away from your body.


*Make Your Shoes Walk Further.

Gentlemen; the first thing you should know about saving money on shoes – is that you need to buy expensive shoes in the first place. A bit of a conundrum that. But the fact remains that well-made shoes last longer (a lot longer) than cheap throw-aways. They’re made to be repaired time and time again, getting more attractive as the years go by – like the patina on a fine mahogany side table.

And once you’ve got your fine shoes, you can keep them fine by using shoe cream, not polish (cream keeps the leather fed while polish will crack and dry it).

And always use a shoe-horn to stop the backs breaking when you put them on. Steel tips attached underneath the toe of the sole will help make the leather soles last much longer. As steel heel tips will do the same for the heels.

Ladies; don't wear good shoes while driving it'll damage the heels and backs; keep a pair of comfortable slip-ons permanently in the car to change into. And if you ever get caught out in a deluge, and your shoes shrink when they finally dry, don't throw them out - invest in a shoe stretcher and slowly resize that favourite pair of shoes.