One of the things I frequently get asked about is caring for delicate items such as stockings, and while I’ve put off answering this question for a while, I thought now would be a good time as some of you – like I am – may be hoping to find some fully fashioned stockings and/or special lingerie or loungewear under your tree in a few weeks time.
I hope it goes without saying, but the first step in caring for your more delicate items is to store them appropriately; for me this means that my stockings are stored in their sealed packets, although you can also purchase (or make) stocking storage bags. My stocking packets are stored on their long edge in a plastic fake rattan box which is just the right size to fit in one of the cupboards of my dressing table. My suspender belts are stored on the shelf above, in a similar box, with my bras, panties, and shapewear stored in the drawers.
One of the biggest things you can do to prolong the life of your stockings is to care for your hands – I have problems with my skin and so moisturise every day as it is, but spending a few moments once or twice a day putting some moisturiser on your hands will do them – and your delicate items – the world of good.
Keeping your nails in good shape will also prolong the life of your stockings; I’ve been wearing stockings for quite a number of years now, and for most of those I’ve carried a nail file in my handbag – snagged or ripped nails portend the quick demise of stockings the moment you get an itch or perhaps need to re-adjust (as many who are new to stockings may need to do frequently) so it’s much better to take a moment to smooth a nail than risk your stockings. Generally keeping your nails in good condition should reduce the number of rough edges you’ll have any way, and you don’t have to have a professional manicure – it’s easy to trim & shape your nails at home – and paint them, too, if you so desire.
As an aside, I don’t paint my fingernails because with my level of clumsiness it’s not odd for me to chip my varnish within hour of applying it, and chipped varnish can be just as bad as a damaged nail for stockings.
One other thing I do to protect my stockings – especially my fully fashioned stockings which require a little bit more ‘handling’ when I’m putting them on – is to wear gloves. You can buy specialist hosiery gloves which usually are white cotton, but I picked up a bright pink vintage pair – similar to the ones below – they’re a synthetic fabric so slide nicely over the fabric of my stockings, and ensure I don’t snag or catch my stockings.
Unless I know I’ve got something that needs taken care of on my hands, I don’t tend to keep my hosiery gloves on to attach my stockings to my suspender belt or put on any of my other lingerie.
Of course, the final note on caring for your delicate items is washing and drying them. It’s generally accepted that stockings, shapewear, bras, and panties are best handwashed with a detergent for woollen and/or delicate items and never tumble dried.
I assume Perwoll is American, but that’s they type of detergent you’ll want to use (I get mine from The Co-operative, because it’s cruelty free), I also have a washing machine with a hand wash setting (which may or may not have been a deal-breaker when we were shopping for a new washer last summer). I put my bras & suspender belts in special ‘lingerie wash bags’ to ensure the catches don’t snag anything; I also wash my stockings this way too, to ensure they don’t tangle. If I have enough lingerie bags each pair will get its’ own bag, otherwise they get nestled between the cups of a bra in a wash bag.
Once the cycle has been run, all the items from the drum are removed and carefully hung on a clothes horse away from radiators and out of sunlight as these can damage & discolour all your delicate items in some way (as well as some none-delicate items).
What about you – how do you care for your stockings and other delicate or special items? Do you use any special storage methods you want to share with us? I’d love for you to share in the comments below!