As all of us around the globe have done our part to navigate the far-reaching effects and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all learned a great deal in the importance of maintaining and promoting clean living and working spaces. People seem to be more cautious and mindful when they do have to venture outside, and we all understand how quickly illnesses can spread, as we have unfortunately seen it in action firsthand. While many aspects of this novel pandemic are anything but certain, several healthcare professionals predict that while things will start to normalize sometime toward the tail end of summer, this crisis could become a seasonal one hereafter, albeit with less severity as new treatments develop, herd immunity spreads, and society better understands ways of flattening the curve. In spite of all this, even the most knowledgeable healthcare professionals can't precisely predict the future with 100 percent accuracy. But what we all can do is be more prepared going forward.
In the interest of public health and safety, Enzo Custom has also had to grapple with some adjustments, including the ability to take appointments via video conference as the openings of our physical showrooms are contingent on various public health and safety guidelines across the United States. In addition to donating a percentage of all of our sales to Direct Relief, we have also utilized the infrastructure of our manufacturing plants to produce personal protective masks to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
As all of these new measures can be confusing at times as everyone begins to adjust to the new normal, this article will delve into the ways in which we can all make the adjustment process go more smoothly, especially when it comes to wardrobe management. With an emphasis on cleanliness, we'll do our best to prepare you for this new normal, what else to keep handy in your wardrobe, and how to keep your suits as clean as possible when you return home from a day's work out in the world.
General Cleaning Tips
Before we get into the finer points of keeping your wardrobe clean, neat, and tidy, it's never a bad idea to refresh your memory on some of the basics. Dry cleaning, for example, is one of the most convenient ways to keep your suits, tuxedos, and dress shirts in pristine condition without having to put too much effort into it. In many cases, dry cleaning is also the only acceptable way to treat certain articles of clothing, as some fabrics can become damaged from standard methods of laundering. So long as you patron a reputable dry cleaner and preferably one that treats clothing on-site, this method continues to be the gold standard.
As for formal wear and casual attire that can be washed in a machine, it's important, especially now, to maintain standards of cleanliness for your laundry room. While most of these tips are standard common-sense practices, in the past we've often neglected to perform these simple tasks. For one, it is imperative that you disinfect the surfaces of your washing machine and dryer between loads; this includes any door handles, buttons, or surfaces that you frequently come into contact with. Disinfecting your laundry basket is also helpful, as this will prevent any cross-contamination from occurring once each load is transferred into the washing machine. Another important thing to consider is making sure that you don't shake your clothes out indoors, especially not in the areas in which you do your laundry. Viruses can live on your clothes for some time, and shaking them around allows these germs to disperse even farther throughout your home.
When you do wash your clothes, make sure that you use the hottest water temperature possible for those particular garments. While sheets, towels, and undergarments are easily laundered with hot water, this is not always practical or convenient with other clothes, especially when we're discussing anything made from wool or other sensitive materials. Using warm water is in many cases better than using the cold setting; just make sure to avoid mixing colors so you minimize the risk that they will run or bleed together.
As for smaller items, such as watches, phones, cufflinks, studs, and other jewelry, keeping them clean can occasionally get a little trickier. Rather than worrying about spraying down your watches and phones with disinfectant every time you return home—which can cause damage to the internal parts of your watches and electronics due to excess moisture—consider the benefits of devices that use UV-C light. While it is a technology that hospitals and military branches have been using for nearly a century, UV-C light has found a new niche in the consumer market. Devices abound from several manufacturers that use the same UV-C technology to sterilize equipment efficiently and without using any liquids. These devices can be best described as tanning beds for your phones, watches, and jewelry. The UV-C light kills germs without damaging any of the internal working parts, thereby eliminating the need for purchasing any additional cleaners.
What Else To Keep In Your Wardrobe (Besides Clothes)
After multiple trips to the dry cleaners over the years, you've likely noticed the accumulation of plastic garment coverings on your closet floor. Your first instinct was to probably toss all of them into the garbage once you noticed them, but they can actually come in handy. By saving these seemingly annoying plastic bags, you can use them to protect your garments from elements such as dust, debris, and animal dander. Putting these plastic bags over your clothes while they're hanging up in the closet will keep them cleaner for longer and will reduce any cross-contamination between your clean clothes and jackets that may not be washed after every single use.
Rules are constantly changing with current stay-at-home orders around the world; some areas are relaxing these restrictions while others are making them more comprehensive. In any event, scarves are very useful tools for adjusting to the new normal. While generally viewed as strictly winter attire, scarves can dually function as masks on the go where one is required, as simply lifting it up to cover your face is satisfactory in many jurisdictions that have new rules about face protection when one has to venture out for groceries or supplies. Even where no government orders such as this one exist, many retail chains that have been allowed to remain open are requiring their patrons to don protective gear. Keeping scarves in your wardrobe will ensure that you're in compliance with these new rules, even if you haven't been able to purchase face masks or can't find any, as they are still in short supply everywhere.
If you are able to find standard surgical masks sold in stores, it may be a good idea to keep a box or two in your closet as well. The same goes for gloves, too, whether they are stylish and designed for winter outings or latex and come in a box of 40. Wearing either can reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission after coming into contact with surfaces that may have been exposed. Just make sure that you clean them after each use, or dispose of them properly if they are the kind you can throw away.
While we may be tempted to get rid of old clothes, it might be a good idea to hang onto some of them; as the supply of surgical masks in stores is uncertain, old T-shirts can be utilized to fabricate masks that offer at least some level of protection. As stores and even airlines seem to be adding facemasks as mandatory wear just like shirts and shoes, it wouldn't hurt to keep a few old clothes handy.
Which brings us to our next point. As many businesses are altering their standard modes of operation and permitting their employees to work remotely, all this extra time at home is a perfect opportunity to do some spring cleaning. In order to maintain a wardrobe that is not only functional but also clean, the first step is to keep everything organized and tidy.
Even in as little as a few years, it seems very possible to accumulate a lifetime's worth of stuff, especially when it comes to clothes. Some of the things in your closet may have gone way out of style long ago, or perhaps they don't fit anymore. Items worn repeatedly, particularly socks and T-shirts purchased in bulk, might even be coming apart at the seams. So what in the world are you supposed to do with all this stuff to make room for a wardrobe upgrade?
Consider donating or giving away your clothes rather than simply throwing them away. Plenty of thrift shops and charities will gladly take your clothes that rarely see the light of day off your hands, and some of them will even come to your house to pick them up.
After doing the grunt work of cleaning out your closet, you'll probably be left with quite a few hangers, and it would be wise to hang onto those, especially thicker ones made from wood and plastic designed for suits, trousers, vests, and jackets. As you embrace being out with the old and in with the new, you'll need plenty of ways to store the garments in your new wardrobe, and hanging up not only your suits but also your casual wear will help extend the life of your garments, not to mention keeping them wrinkle-free for longer. Whatever you decide to do, just keep in mind to avoid wire hangers on your more expensive clothes, as they are more likely to damage them.
Most importantly, once your wardrobe is void of your old clothes, it's time to get organized. Do your best to keep your suits, shirts, and casual wear separate, as it will not only save you time in the morning but also give you peace of mind, knowing that you won't have to come home to excess clutter or a disorganized mess. It's also a good idea to keep your shoes separate, especially as everyone adjusts to the new normal. Paying closer attention to the cleanliness of your shoes will reduce the chances of tracking germs into your home, and as a side effect, your carpet will thank you for it.
With all of these new hurdles that we all must navigate together, things are bound to return to relative normalcy at some point in the near future. And when they do, we want you to be prepared to the best of your abilities, and what better way to show that preparedness off to the world than through your own wardrobe? Here at Enzo Custom, we are eager to reopen our physical locations but understand that for now, in the interest of public health and safety, that we adapt to the needs of the overall public good. Feel free to schedule a private appointment with us via video conference to get fitted, or use our online customizer to pick out the perfect suit for the new normal.