I was sitting on my couch last night, enjoying the visages of my chocolate Easter bunny and jelly beans, thinking about all sorts of Easter memories. My mother is a HUGE person for holidays, even the small ones like St. Patricks day, so she always goes all out for food and decorations and...
dress up's. For me, when I was younger, Easter meant a new wonderfully colored dress to wear to church and ....yes; the quintessential Easter hat. White and be-ribboned, colored and be-flowered...you name. I probably wore. And was proud to wear at that.
I think Easter past is what has given me my great love in life now, for hats in general. I have LOTS of them. Huge black ones like Audrey Hepburn used to wear, golfing hats, baseball hats, brimmed beanies, old fashioned reporter caps... you name it.
Now that hats are coming back in fashion a little more (which I love by the way), and spring and summer are heralding the season for them, there is one question I hear a lot. From friends and from customers.
"How in the WORLD do you wash a hat?"
With straw, and ribbons, and buttons, and flowers, decals and stickers, cardboard inserts and stiff fabrics, hats are NOT something you can throw in with your delicate cycle. But hats can be dry cleaned. If your dry cleaners has the right facility to do so.
There are a few reasons why you should have your hats dry cleaned instead of just tossing them into the washer at home. The first is fit. Even those wool beanies you wear while you are snowboarding... people are really picky about the fit. You want the hat to cover your ears right? To stay the same shape? Washers and dryer can shrink, smoosh, and over all make a mess of a hat. A dry cleaners doesn't use water so you don't have to worry about shrinkage. And we wont through your hat into a rotating machine, so no smashing.
The second reason goes along with the first. A dry cleaners doesn't use water. So those cardboard inserts that keep that baseball brim so stiff? They won't get ruined. The color won't run, the fabric won't shrink or loose shape. A lot of hats are made from other fabrics other than just your basic cotton. Exposing them to water can be a very bad thing. By dry cleaning your hat you can guarantee that its going to come back looking the same as it went in. Just cleaner.
The third, is that many people don't notice that even on the most basic hat, there is a grain. So even if you pick up a do it at home cleaning kit, if you don't have good lighting and don't pay enough attention, your going to just rub at the seams of your hat and realize when your done that something looks incredibly weird. It's the grain. You have to clean along it, just like you paint a house, with the grain to make it turn out right.
A dry cleaners is going to spot clean your hat. Usually the most dirty area is just the brim where the hat stays right by your head. Just like we can spot clean a shirt or pair of pants, a dry cleaners can do the same with your hats, making sure the areas that needs a really deep clean are going to get it.
Another thing a dry cleaners can do that is hard to do at home, is blocking. Most people only get their cowboy hats or Indiana Jones hats blocked, but you can do it with baseball caps too. Blocking is like those wooden inserts you put in Italian leather shoes to make sure they keep the same shape. When we do the cleaning we put the hat on a block to make sure it keep sit shape, and to even give it shape again. Your hat got trampled on during a rodeo? No worries. Not only can we get out the mud, we can put the wonderful crease back into the middle of it, and make it stiff.
If you are not following the new hair covering rage because you think what happens when it gets dirty? Don't worry about it! Dirt should never stop you from getting something that has the potential to make you look fantastic! My friends- go put a little something something on your head, hide those fly away frills, and feel amazing in a decorated, and clean, bonnet of your very own.