The next few weeks aren’t just prime time for dressing up; they’re also peak season for spills, stains and last-minute repairs. Brandon Maloney, one of the brothers behind one of our city’s oldest drycleaners, shares their fashion disaster-proofing secrets.
Your Derby look may the priciest ensemble you buy all year—especially when you add The Hat. But what goes into the Downs looking impeccably chic often doesn’t come out that way. “The week after Derby is one of the busiest of the year,” says Brandon Maloney of Nu Yale drycleaners, the family-owned chain of stores in Louisville and southern Indiana. “We see it all—rips, stains from food, wine, walking across the parking lot or infield. It’s the other side of Derby.”
While bourbon, long days at the track and delicate fabrics combine with a certain amount of undeniable risk, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances that your fashion investment will become a fashion casualty come the day after Derby. Here, some of their time-tested advice:
Shorten now or repair later. The folks at NuYale get a lot of dresses with ripped or stained hems from heels. “It’s amazing how many women will spend a fortune on a dress but won’t take the time to have it altered.” Get it shortened before or pay later.
Stock into your purse with stain prevention. We recommend Shout towelettes or Tide sticks. Club soda helps too, but good luck getting it in a hurry with those lines. (And napkins really smudge the stain. You need a dishtowel. And we don’t think you’ll find that in the food court.)
Avoid brightly colored prints—especially hot pink or red— on silk. If they get wet, they tend to run. And that’s not something a drycleaner can fix.
Drop your clothes off for wrinkle-proofing. They can press dresses and suits with light starch and it makes a huge difference. You get much less rumpled.
Act fast. If you do get a stubborn stain, don’t leave it lying in the dry-cleaning pile for days. Stains set over time. If you get them in quickly, odds are we lift it completely out. If you wait two or three weeks or longer… you may have slight discoloration.
Don’t assume a stained hat, shoes or purse are fashion roadkill. NuYale doesn’t just do clothes. They’ve gotten stains out of some very pricey leather and silk shoes, clutches, purses and, occasionally, even hats. If it’s important to you, bring it in to them for a look. They may be able to save your favorite fashion find.