Monday, June 25, 2012

Wardrobe War Against Scratchy Labels and Plastic Hangers

It all started as I pulled on a cute black top for a "date night" with my husband. I was feeling glamorous until I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. What the...? The shoulder sections of my shirt were sticking up in two little points! Because I was certainly NOT going for a Lady Gaga effect in this outfit, something was clearly wrong here. 

In a desperate attempt to salvage this look, I tried flattening the shoulders with my hand. No luck. I spritzed the pointed areas with water and attempted to gently tug them back into their natural shape. Another failure. Nothing I did could save me from the deformity caused by dreaded plastic hangers. Something HAD to be done.

I waged a war against my wardrobe.
About to wage an all out ATTACK, I went through my entire closet, determined to make dressing a smoother process in the future.
Notice how terribly deformed the shoulders of this shirt were from plastic hangers. I had to wash this top, lay it flat to dry and then reshape it to be hung properly.

The first thing I did was to immediately go through everything I had to check for clothing that was being warped because of the way it was slipping off plastic hangers. I found that most of my shirts and dresses were, in fact, misshapen from the alignment issues with these hangers, so the quest began with me taking all of these items off the old hangers.

Unfortunately, I found that a cold water wash was necessary to remedy several items that had been badly deformed. After a delicate cycle, I gently reshaped any problem areas and laid the clothing flat to dry.
Next, all old plastic hangers were downgraded to the downstairs coat closet and were replaced with Closet Complete No Slip Ultra Thin Velvet Hangers
Take the extra moment to properly arrange the garment on each hanger to prevent warping.
Once the clothing was ready to be rehung, I carefully ensured that each garment was properly arranged on each hanger. These hangers are such a vast improvement, since the clothes do not slip at all and stay perfectly placed on the velvet. All that is needed is an extra moment of patience to be sure to hang each article of clothing in the proper fashion to prevent creases or warping of shape.

While I was at this, I realized I had another battle to fight...TAGS!!! 

For years, I have been driven absolutely looney by that nagging itch at the back of my neck, the rubbing and scratching of a sharp label digging into that sensitive flesh. I've taken desperate measures to stop the agony, once even handing scissors to a student to cut the tags out of a shirt before I started throwing text books across the room in frustration.

The most sinister element of this battle is that of urgent reaction tactics. You see, once a person becomes as intensely agitated as I get at this point, rational thinking goes the way of the dodo. Many a hole has been cut into my clothing in desperate attempts to quell the itching from the tags. I've done ridiculously impulsive things, going so far as to attempt to cut tags out myself...while WEARING the offending garb. Never a good strategy. I decided to end this nonsense once and for all. 
Caution: Here's an example of a top that I got a little overzealous with when removing the label. Note the little hole at the neckline. This can usually be avoided with more patience and care during removal.

It was time for me to cut the labels out of my life. I had no trouble snipping out casual wear labels but was met with hesitation when I stumbled upon the designer tags. I've never been one to fork out ludicrous amounts of money for designer labels on styles that change with the winds, but once in the bluest moon, I will treat myself to timeless designer pieces.

When holding the scissors to these labels in particular, I had to decide if I really wanted to cut the labels out of these clothes that I had, in part, paid more for BECAUSE of their brand. After that moment's pause, rational thought set in. If people are seriously judging me by the labels inside my clothes, then those are opinions that really shouldn't matter to me anyway.

So I chopped them all OUT, from Old Navy to DKNY...all labels alike, all gone!

Now, obviously, I had to keep some tabs here...pun intended. While removing these labels freed me of that nagging itch against my skin, it also freed me from the care instructions and sizes I needed for certain clothes. Solution? I grabbed a tiny notepad and organized the clothing into categories (dresses, shirts, skirts, etc.) and wrote down any special information I would need to keep for these garments. 

These dang side tabs are the worst enemy of all!

And so the cutting began. I started by using scissors to carefully extract the central portions of the tags. This is the easy part, but MAN...those remaining side pieces are sometimes rather tricky to remove. To avoid making holes, I used a stitch remover and slowly cut out any residual thread that was holding the persistent labeling to the garment. The stitch remover is an amazing tool for this, and without it, this task would have been much more daunting. 

My stitch remover is my weapon of choice!
Adios labels!
And now I feel FREE! It's actually incredibly liberating to cut those labels out of my life. I'm so appreciative nowadays when I find labels that are stamped to the inside of clothing instead of sewn into the fabric, especially in my daughters' garb. When I see my girls' delicate skin all scratched up from a nagging label, I cringe. Here's to hoping that more companies follow suit and stamp in their labels in the future! Until then, my trusty stitch remover will continue to wage the war. Be comfortable. Be happy!

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