By Megan Arszman
When winter comes, you stow away items like your hay and horse trailer, but what about the smaller objects, like your show clothes? You’ve paid a pretty penny for all those sparkly show clothes this year, and while you’ve hopefully already cleaned out your trailer, you probably have no idea what to do with those clothes that have been residing in your living quarters all year-round.
Starting at the Top
As the weather begins to turn, one of the first things you should rescue from your living quarters trailer is your cowboy hat. Shorty Koger of Shorty’s Caboy Hattery emphasizes that clients should never leave their hats in a location that’s not climate-controlled. “Keep them out of the trailer!” Koger says. “Felt hats need to stay in a consistent temperature setting to keep them from stretching and retracting.”
Following your hat maker’s recommendations, give your hat a good cleaning and store it in your hat can, making sure everything fits appropriately and it’s not resting on the brim. Then, store your hat can in a closet at home, so it’s in a climate-controlled location and protected from the elements.
You might want to consider using something to help keep your hat smelling fresh and prevent moths from taking a nibble while it’s in storage. Shorty’s now offers monogrammed cedar blocks that you can keep in your hat box. Stocking stuffer anyone?
Sparkly Show Clothes
Show clothes should be laundered according to the directions given to you by the designer or maker. Some of the more elaborate tops with leather, fringe, and crystals might only need a spot cleaning and should not be washed or dry-cleaned. Dry cleaning some Showmanship jackets or Horsemanship tops can cause the rhinestones to become loose or lose their reflective shimmer from the heat. Hand washing and laying flat to dry tends to be the easiest way to wash delicate items.
For the clothes that can sustain dry cleaning, a quick trip to the dry cleaners will help to prepare them for storage. However, Samantha Eckert of Winning Couture points out that you shouldn’t over-launder your clothes. Doing so might alter the fit and feel of the fabric. When you’re ready for the show season in the spring, if you cleaned your clothes before storage, you’ll just need a quick press to be fresh and ready to tackle the new season.
Also, when you’re hanging up your clothes, pay attention to the type of hanger you use. “Felt hangers work the best and keep the shoulders from getting stretched out,” Eckert says. “Also, the shirt should fit on the hanger properly—if you’re small and your shirts/coats are small, sometimes the hanger is too wide and can cause the same problem. Most hangers are 15-20 inches wide.”
She also cautions that you shouldn’t cram everything into one garment bag; be sure to check that your shirt/coat fits properly in the bag without stretching the sides. “If they are in there for a long period of time, and the bag is touching the shoulders of your garment, you could end up with a hole from it.”
By following these simple tips, your expensive show clothing and hats will be protected and ready to go for the 2015 show season.