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How to care for your winter wear

Tristan is a love stylist who, through internal and external makeovers, guides her clients on all matters surrounding falling in like, falling in love and falling into bed. She is also the author of MENu Dating: Taste Your Way to the Mai...

Winter wear TLC

Nothing says winter like cozying up in snuggly boots, luxurious sweaters and stunning hats. What makes these pieces so scrumptious is their high-quality fabrics, which often aren't as fun to care for as they are to wear. Fortunately we have the tips and tricks that make giving these beloved wears their needed TLC. Here's how to care for your more high-maintenance winter wear.

Wool sweaters

A girl can't have enough cozy wool sweaters but nothing causes heartbreak more easily than when one bad laundry misstep results in your fave wintry wool sweater ending up in the hand-me-down pile for your baby sister. Avoid shrinkage disasters, by following these dos/don'ts:
1.   Most wool sweaters can be hand washed. But read the tag – if it says dry clean only, then don't take chances on hand washing and take it to your dry cleaner.
2.   Otherwise, fill a sink with hot water. Add a couple of drops of dishwashing detergent. Swish the soap around once or twice. Do not make bubbles. Lay the sweater in, turned inside out. Leave it there for a few minutes. The soap will lift the oil and dirt out all on its own.
3.   Lift the sweater out and place on a towel. Drain the sink entirely and refill with rinse water.
4.   Place the sweater in the sink. Do this two to three times until the water runs clear.
5.   Place the sweater on a dry towel and roll up the sweater to remove the excess water. Repeat until the sweater is damp.
6.   Lay the sweater out flat on a new towel, restoring its original shape. Let air dry at room temperature.
7.   Once the sweater is dry, use a lint brush to remove fly-a-ways.
8.   Store your sweater in a non-cedar drawer (acid in wood damages wool). Do not hang heavy sweaters as the hanger will distort the shape. Lightweight sweaters can be hung on padded hangers.

Fleece

A staple of winter wardrobes as either a great layering piece or on its own for milder days, high-quality fleece will wear well for years when laundered with care. Fortunately this fabric is one of the few that can typically bear the brunt of the washing machine, with these simple caveats:
1.   Wash items inside out on the gentle cycle using the warm wash and rinse settings.
2.   Stick with mild powdered detergents versus all-purpose liquid detergents, which can cause the fabric to lose its beloved water-resistance.
3.   When drying fleece, either hang dry or dry in the dryer on low and remove immediately when done.
4.   Never iron fleece – high heat will leave permanent marks.
5.   Never use fabric softeners or bleach – both reduce water-resistant power.

Cashmere

Never, never, never to come within feet of a washer or dryer, cashmere is one of the dreamiest and most delicate of all fabrics. Therefore, it must be handled with the greatest of care. And although caring for cashmere is a labor of love, it is worth every moment. This luxurious fabric, whether in sweater, hat, scarf or mitten form, when taken care of, will have everyone, yourself included, wanting to give you a gentle touch. The rules of good cashmere care are as follows:
1.   Read labels carefully – some cashmere items are dry clean only – in these cases, do not hand wash them.
2.   If hand washable, use lukewarm water only and a very mild soap or shampoo. Gently massage the suds through the cashmere and rinse carefully with lukewarm water. NEVER wring cashmere – the fabric will lose its shape.
3.   Instead, gently squeeze excess water out. Lay the item out flat on a towel, restoring it to its original shape. Roll the towel up, with the cashmere piece in it, applying pressure to the towel and then unroll it. Move the item to a new dry towel and allow to dry to completion.
4.   Never use hangers with cashmere. Simply fold items when dry and place them in a drawer.
5.   Do not dry cashmere near heaters or in direct sunlight – this will shorten their life spans.

Hats

Nothing says winter like a fabulous hat, but they only look their best when they are clean and properly shaped. Follow these simple steps to keep your fur, wool and felt hats looking as fresh as the day you bought them:
1.   If your hat is wet, shake off excess water and let it air dry in room temperature place. Avoid drying in too humid an area to avoid mildewing.
2.   To clean, simply brush the top and bottom counter-clockwise with a soft bristle brush. Brush the sides in the direction of the nap.
3.   For tough stains, blend a solution of mild powdered detergent and lukewarm water and use the soft bristled brush to gently scrub the stain until it is removed. Rinse the spot with water.
4.   Use steam to shape structured hats back to desired shape.
5.   Store hanging up or in a hat box.

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