Clothes-Minded – Fashion Deconstruction


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I don’t mean to jinx anything, but let’s hope this latest cold snap is the real deal because I’ve said good-bye to my summer clothes. Here’s how you can, too:

First, sort your clothes into two piles: store and toss. Some organizers recommend creating a “donate” pile also, but I disagree. If you have the space, hold onto seasonal items until they’re appropriate again. That sundress you’re sick to death of right now may be the item you’re most looking forward to next April. Besides, it’s only courteous to donate your gently worn clothes in season. If you’re not wearing capri pants in November, the item’s next owner isn’t likely to be, either.

Look through your store pile carefully. San Antonio has two seasons: “oven” and “not oven.” Not oven runs from November through April and temperatures can range anywhere from 35 to 85 degrees. So about a third of that summery wardrobe you think you can pack away should stay out for emergencies. Work within fall’s palette of black, red, and jewel tones; dark neutrals like navy and brown and skirts and trousers in lightweight fabrics like linen and cotton will still feel right. Keep a couple of short-sleeved sweaters and shirts out for layering.

Inspect each item you plan to store carefully. Everything should be cleaned one more time unless it’s immaculate. Dry-clean all of your better items, even if you usually throw them in the delicate cycle or use Dryel — this will help them stay in shape during months without handling. (Clothesline Cleaners offers an environmentally friendlier alternative to traditional chemical dry cleaning at three SA locations. You can call the Olmos shop at 826-0026.) Treat stains, especially the ones you’ve let go as “barely noticeable.”

Every together adult should be able to manage a needle and thread for small mending tasks. Check all of the buttons — tighten loose ones, replace any that are missing. Check hems of skirts and pants for gaps or rips. If the repair required is beyond the basics, ask your dry cleaner to recommend a good tailor.

Finally, zip and button all closures. You don’t have to hang stored clothes if you lack the space — just lay them neatly in a roomy under-bed box. I recommend the clear plastic ones. Lay the item flat on a bed or table, and fold for the least amount of creases. Interleave knits with tissue paper, and stuff tissue or newspaper into boots and closed-toe shoes. Throw in a few cedar chips (mothballs are dangerous to children and pets) to repel insects and keep clothes fresh. Make sure the lid locks tightly, then shove it all out of sight.

Enough with the practical advice, though — stay tuned for some serious holiday shopping articles, right around the corner!

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