As hard as it might be to admit, the summer months are behind us. It's officially time to pull those practical fall layers out of storage and start adding them into your weekly wardrobe. Whether fall in your zip code calls for a blazer, or a heavy-duty down jacket, it’s important to consider how you’re going to care for these seasonal outerwear pieces.
Trench and duster coats
For an effortless take on an established trend, you can opt for a relaxed fit in navy. Trench coats are often made out of machine-washable fabrics such as cotton, poplin or polyester. Be sure to remove the lining and wash it separately from the shell. Use the delicate or handwash cycle, and avoid putting either piece in the dryer—especially if your coat is wool.
You can also prolong the life of your coats by weatherproofing them ahead of time. Some coats come weatherproofed, but could stand to be retouched every few years. Weatherproofing comes in two forms: spray on and wash in. Choose the product that makes most sense, clean your coat beforehand and test on a small sample area first. When you're putting it away, store the coat on a sturdy hanger—not a hook—and away from sunlight to avoid any color damage.
If your coat is particularly structured or embellished, professional dry cleaning will help ensure the fabric maintains its shape and is handled with care.
Wool coats and blazers
A structured wool coat or blazer makes the ideal finishing touch for an autumnal ensemble. Your coat should always be stored on a wooden hanger—not metal, which can leave a rust stain—in a breathable space to maintain the fabric's integrity and texture. If it's looking a little dull after a stint in your closet, smooth out any wrinkles with a steamer. A handy lint roller will take care of any stray particles so your coat looks fresh.
It might seem like a high-maintenance piece, but a trusted dry cleaner can streamline the cleaning process by removing any persistent stains and helping the coat or blazer keep its original shape. The sooner you act, the better the results. To prevent any damage from moths or insects attracted to undetectable odors, send the coat or blazer for professional cleaning at the start and end of each season.
Down jackets and parkas
The pièce-de-résistance of your cold weather arsenal is the down jacket or parka. Most parkas are designed with the consumer in mind. For instance, detachable linings or fur hoods are meant to be removed before washing. Keep your jacket out of a top-loading washer since the agitator can damage the material; instead, your down jacket or parka should be washed in a front-loading machine using a permanent press cycle.
For best results, use a minimal amount of gentle laundry soap when washing your down jacket as residual suds can change the shape of the pieces. Be patient in the drying process: high heat will damage the material, though low heat may require several rounds for your jacket to fully dry. To prevent any clusters of feathers in the drying process, throw a few tennis balls in the dryer.
Avoid leaving your down jacket in its compression sack for an extended period of time as this will result in the feathers clumping together. An easy storage hack is to keep it inside a clean pillowcase: this saves space in your closet while maintaining the jacket's shape and texture with a little breathing room.
Taking care of your outerwear will help you maintain the right layers for cooler weather. With our care guide, you'll be well-dressed for this season—and the next.
Photos: Adrianna Calvo, Priscilla Westra, Viktor Hanacek, Pavel Badrtdinov