How to make the most of ties, belts and hats

How to make the most of ties, belts and hats

Ties, belts and hats are staples for some, worn for an occasion (or function) for others. Whatever the reason you wear yours, and however often, one thing is clear — you want to keep them in top shape. Follow these tips and they, and you, will look great.

How to make the most of ties, belts and hats
How to make the most of ties, belts and hats

Selecting a tie

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when you’re out shopping for a tie:

  • Look for ties with linings made of wool or several layers of silk. This crucial padding will make the knot look better when you tie it. The lining should extend the full the length of the tie.
  • A good tie should be made of three pieces of fabric, not two pieces.
  • When choosing which tie will go with what shirt and jacket, remember not to clash. A bold shirt should be paired with a more subdued tie. Limit patterns to two. Choose patterns for either your shirt, tie or jacket, but not all three of them.

Avoid creases

Here are two ways to keep your ties from developing ugly creases that shorten their useful life:

  • After wearing a silk tie, rub it across your thigh to take out any creases and remove lint. Never iron the edges of a silk tie, or it will lose its ability to tie.
  • Folding ties for storage eventually causes creases that are hard to get out. They are best stored by hanging.

Resize a belt

  • If you have gained or lost a little lately, you don’t have to go out shopping for a new leather belt.
  • Just make adjustments in your current belt. To add a hole, make a mark where you want the new one, place an awl on the dot, then hammer it through.

Polish the buckle

  • Belt buckles can stay shiny and bright if you coat them once in a while with clear nail polish.
  • Store leather belts hanging on a hook, not curled up, which stretches the leather.

Take care of a felt hat

A felt hat should last you for years if you give it extra attention. Here are some tips:

  • To clean your felt hat, just brush it with a soft brush. If that doesn’t do the trick, you can hold it briefly over a steaming teakettle, then brush again to remove soil. This will remove creases as well.
  • Store your felt hat clean and in a hatbox to keep off dust. The best way to store it is upside down, stuffed with tissue paper or plastic bags, so that it won’t lose its shape. It’s also best to clean your hat before storing it.
  • If you get caught in a shower or snow with your felt hat, let it dry naturally — don’t use a heater or hair dryer.
  • If you are adjusting your hat on your head, use the front and back brims. Don’t touch the crown to avoid getting oils from your skin on this most visible part of your hat.

Water a straw hat

  • Panama or straw hats must be kept moist to retain their shape and durability.
  • They can be sprayed occasionally with water (use a plant mister, for instance).
  • When picking up your hat, grab it by the brim, not the crown, so that it won’t crack there later.
  • Finally, don’t store it in the light, which will also cause damage.

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