Category Archives: Clothing Maintenance

Making room in the Back of the Closet

Have you looked back there lately, in the back of the closet?  Depending on the size of your closet and whether you have clothing packed in like sardines or more like free range chickens, you may not even know what’s “back there.”  Unlike a dish that is simmering or a project that is percolating on the back burner, which will be attended to and put to use in the not too distant future (or all in good time,)  items in the back of your closet are probably long forgotten and never to be worn again.  At least not by you.

Getting dressed each day while surrounded by beautiful works of art. Optional. An organized closet. Mandatory.

Getting dressed each day while surrounded by beautiful works of art. Optional and exceptional. An organized closet. Mandatory.

Go ahead.  Take a look.  You may find hidden treasure or a few things that will remind you of past glories.  You may also find that you can easily part with everything back there and be able to free up some much needed space and breathing room for the clothing you actually wear and for the new things you’d like to add to your wardrobe this year.   Even better, what’s in the back of your closet could be donated and change the life of someone in need.

As long as you’re looking in the back of the closet, you might as well consider the whole thing and begin the new year well organized, knowing what you have and what you need, with everything in it’s proper place, and everything up to date and well-maintained.

Not sure how to go about it?  Here are some Time-tested Tips for evaluating and organizing your wardrobe and closet.  Want some help?  Your Tom James Professional is well trained and happy to assist.  Why not call today to arrange a Closet Concierge appointment.

My Real Wardrobe is somewhere in that Closet!

Your “real” wardrobe is the clothing that you actually enjoy wearing – clothes that fit your body, style preference, lifestyle, etc. Believe it or not, most successful people…men in particular…have a lot of clothes in the closet that they don’t actually wear and feel good about. Perhaps this situation could use some attention?

The end of the year is logical time to set aside a few minutes to give thought… and a little effort… to organizing, culling out what should be given away or thrown away, and generally making sense of everything that is taking up precious space on your clothing racks and shelves.

I was in the closet of a new client this week and we took a few minutes to go through his neck wear collection. For him it was a walk down memory lane. Some of those lengths of woven silk had been hanging there since before Clinton entered the White House. After that guided tour of his neck wear history, I had him go do something else for 5 minutes while I removed the most egregious offenders. When he reviewed and agreed with what I had pulled out of the line up it was like a weight had been lifted. Even better, he can now actually see all of the great options he still has hanging there to choose from.

If you are at a point where it would be timely to go through the closet to make better sense out of everything (I recommend that you do this at least annually), the following are a few suggestions that work equally well for men or women:

  • Examine the fit, condition, and fashion/style of everything in your wardrobe. Try-on anything that you haven’t worn in the past six months or aren’t completely sure about the fit. Set aside anything that doesn’t work for whatever reason. Be particularly ruthless with accessories (ties, belts, etc.)
  • Divide your wardrobe into Four Categories:
  1. Items that you will never wear again.
  2. Clothing that might be worn again if properly altered, repaired or coordinated.
  3. All of your Year-round Basics. Further divide these items as either dress or casual.
  4. Seasonal, special occasion, and collectible or vintage garments.
  • Get rid of everything in the first category. Donate items that could still be useful to someone else (not too worn, stained, etc.)
  • Items in the second category should be altered, repaired, etc. (I can help with that.)
  • Clothing in the third category should be placed up front or wherever most convenient in your closet because this is your go-to clothing. Consider your dressing habits and lifestyle as you organize this portion. (I.e. button-up shirts that you wear with a suit or sport coat should be separate from others that are more casual.)
  • Seasonal clothing should be divided into Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. Keep the current season’s items near the front and properly store the rest. Special occasion clothing (tuxedo, etc.) should be properly cataloged and stored.

  • Want to help victims of Sandy while you’re at it?

    Contact the Tom James store nearest to you to donate your gently used clothing. Tom James is working with agencies in New York and New Jersey to donate your gently used business and professional clothing, but of particular importance is outerwear for cold weather.

    Find the store nearest you.

    Doing good while keeping it real,


    Stain Removal Guide

    1. TAKE QUICK ACTION – The sooner a stain is treated the better. Time can “set” stains. Almost any stain can be removed if action is taken quickly enough, however almost any stain will become permanent if left untreated too long. Ideally, all stains should be treated within the first 24 hours.

    2. BLOT & SCRAPE – Whenever possible, immediately after the stain occurs, blot up any excess liquid with a paper towel or clean white cloth. Scrape solids from the fabric if the stain is dry.  Try to remove as much excess as possible before further stain treatment.

    3. DO NOT APPLY HEAT – Do not apply heat of any kind to stained fabric. Heat can “set” stains. Before ironing, pressing, or drying a garment in a dryer, check to make sure that the fabric is completely free of stains. If you don’t know the origin of a stain, don’t use hot water.  Hot water can set protein stains such as blood, egg, and milk stains.

    Continue reading

    Welcome to the Big City

    Casey C asks: I am a 26-year-old investment banker, and I’m new to the industry. Working to help corporations raise capital, and assist in acquisitions and mergers keeps me constantly surrounded by my superiors and I want to make a solid impression. I don’t just want to fit in, but I also don’t want my “greenery” to stand out. My professional wardrobe can be considered embarrassing in some circles so I really need a good starting point. What are the essentials? Help?!

    Tom Talks: Building a wardrobe is like building a home: there are cornerstones; and for every gentleman’s professional attire there are five foundational cornerstones.

    Suit up. These five colors/patterns allow for a little personality without an obnoxious monologue: solid navy, navy striped, solid grey, grey pinstriped and solid blue-grey. When you’re just starting out, money can be an issue, so just buy the best you can afford. These fab five colors will diversify your wardrobe so don’t be afraid to have an opinion. Play around with the colors a bit by adding different weaves such as solid blue-grey in nail’s head or tic weave. But don’t wait too long to build up your wardrobe. Even though you’re new to the industry, it’s important to invest in your first five suits from the start because you don’t want to wear the same suit more than once a week. Once you have the basics, you can start to build on them with classy patterns such as windowpanes and plaid, and add new earthy colors such as brown, olive and tan. Later on, you can socialize your wardrobe with classic colors such as black or light grey.

    Button Up. The goal here is build up enough “stock” so you have three weeks worth of shirts; that way, if last week’s shirts are being held hostage at the dry cleaner’s, you still have an array of shirts in your closet to choose from. Think color. Think variety. I don’t believe in dark-colored dress shirts so stick with three white shirts; one white solid with French cuffs; four blue solids; one navy, one red and one burgundy striped; and one black or grey small pattern.

    Sport Up. You definitely need a traditional blazer in either black or navy, but you also need a sports coat. Versatile patterns in grey, navy, tan or olive work well. The final decision depends upon your personal taste and fashion-sense.

    Leg Up. Slacks are just as important as shirts. There are several core colors every gentleman should have. Think elemental and mineral colors: charcoal, mid grey, navy, tan, brown, and olive. Our number one selling color is charcoal, so that should tell you something. Again, these are the cornerstone colors; and once you lay a good foundation you can start to build on it by adding in different shades and textures.

    Toe Up. When it comes to dress shoes, just start small: one black pair and one brown pair. Once your financial portfolio grows, invest in some burgundy. Matching belts are a must.

    After you’ve graduated from the fundamentals, seek out a stylish overcoat, and for your fancier
    affairs, a tuxedo. But don’t fret over those right now; just concentrate on mastering the basics. And remember, simple details such as functional button holes, edge stitching, and subtle monograms really make a good impression and build a respectable wardrobe.

    Now you’re ready to make a lasting impression in the big city!

    Best Regards,