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Respect the clothes: Wardrobe maintenance for long lasting style

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Walking down pigeon filled sidewalks; slouching in front of computers; bumping into pinot noir drinkers at happy hour. The lifestyles of average Chicagoans leaves garments wrinkled, worn, stained and torn.

And although it may be tempting to throw on a crumpled shirt when running out the door, one needs only to think of the polished appearance of classic style icons. Would Grace Kelly really rock a coffee stained blouse?

Luckily, those in the know have a few tricks for keeping clothes pristine.

Filling your wardrobe with clothes that afford long lasting style begins with shopping. Look for fabrics made with natural fibers such as silk, cotton and wool. High quality synthetic blends will also hold shape well. Pull the fabric at the stitching to ensure it stays tight, and make sure patterns line up along the seams.

Once you find quality pieces, it is important to care for them by separating lights, darks and delicates. Wash each load with the appropriate cycle. For delicate garments, use a gentler soap like Woolite. Turn clothes inside out when machine washing, and air-dry when possible.

Ironed clothes convey neatness and self-respect in a subconscious manner. To speed up the ironing process, place aluminum foil under the board cover. This will reflect the heat, meaning both sides are ironed at once. Steaming is a great alternative for both heavier jackets and delicate fabrics.

Caring for shoes is integral, especially when sloshing around the salty snow during Midwestern winters. Applying water and vinegar will rid these salt stains, while polish will keep shoes looking, well, polished. For nicer pairs, a shoetree will maintain their original architecture.

And for those who tend to gesticulate with drinks in their hands? Say hello to your new best friend: the Tide Stick.

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