|Simple Silk Top|
Can you wear silk all year long? Yes! It keeps you warm in cool weather and cool in hot weather.
Can you wash silk? Is silk an affordable luxury? Yes, but you need to watch out for a few things.
Can You Wash Silk?
You can wash silk if it says “Dry Clean Recommended” or “Hand Washable.” Do not wash silk if it says “Dry Clean Only.” The dry clean only garment was probably dyed poorly and washing will cause the color to leach out. Or else the garment has trim that is fragile and might come off in washing. More reasons to avoid dry clean only garments! (Not to mention avoiding all the chemicals they use for dry cleaning.)
If you decide to wash a silk garment, be sure to wash it by hand only. No throwing it in the washing machine unless it’s a blend and the label specifically says it’s “Machine Washable.”
You can use any shampoo to wash silk in cool water. I clean my bathroom sink first using cheap shampoo. I use the same shampoo to wash the silk garment with no problems. Shampoo is formulated to remove grease and dirt from your hair and seems to work the same way with silk. Squeeze suds through the fabric and then rinse in clear water. You can roll it in a clean dry towel to remove some of the water if you like. Hang on a non-metal hanger to dry. I hang the garment inside out in case it brushes against anything in the shower that could leave soap residue.
The way I wash and iron silk has worked well for me for years, but if you want a more careful way to wash silk click here for an article at Treenway Silks.
When dry, iron on the wrong side of the fabric using the silk setting. See link at the bottom of this page for more ways to iron silk. To avoid ironing, shake the item a couple of times while it’s drying to stop the fabric from sticking to itself. You can hang the dried item in a steamy shower to minimize wrinkles. It might turn out to be fine to wear without any ironing that way.
I only buy silk garments that are easy to iron. If you can iron a shirt you can iron a silk shirt. Mainly I have silk tops with very simple construction. Using the silk setting on your iron works well or else use a low setting for steam ironing. The steam makes it go very smoothly. If the fabric starts to pucker you iron is set too high. If you wear silk often for your job, you will get very skilled and efficient at ironing it. For some career wardrobes, a silk blouse gives a lot of panache.
Is silk affordable?
Yes, if you are not getting it dry-cleaned all the time. I sometimes find 100% silk tops at deep discount and buy them for $10-20 for simple tops. Often the style is a cross between a t-shirt and a shell, having cap sleeves. That style is easy to care for and looks great with a suit, dressy pants, and even jeans.
Silk is a natural fiber that breathes well and has the amazing ability to keep you cool in really hot weather and warm when it’s cooler. (Think of all those saris made of silk.) It always looks classy, and you can travel with it. To avoid wrinkles in a suitcase, roll it loosely around a cardboard tube like the ones that come with wrapping paper. You can wash it while travelling and it might be dry by morning, but you’d have to accept some wrinkles if you don’t have an iron available. You can try the steamy shower trick to minimize wrinkles too. Silk is very lightweight for travel and if you choose dark colors (black is great!) it won’t show spills — and wrinkles will be less noticeable.
|Crepe de Chine|
Not all silk is created equal.
Some silks are very thin which is a lower quality than silk with more body. Be careful with light colors of silk because if the silk is thin you will have a show-through problem. For online purchases, I stick to darker colors.
The type of silk I buy is called crepe de chine. It has a subtle sheen that is quite beautiful. Do not get shiny silk or silk satin for most situations. Silk charmeuse is a beautiful shiny/glowing silk that is suitable for glamorous occasions. Think Jean Harlow and old Hollywood for this look. However it’s not appropriate for office wear. You want a silk that has a dull sheen to it for office wear, to church, etc. Save the shiny stuff for a wedding or cocktail party.
How Long Does Silk Last?
Silk seems to last forever as long as you don’t store it where light can fade it or damage it. Keep it in the closet or a drawer. And of course never hang silk to dry in the sun. With proper care it wears like iron.
Is Silk a Frugal Choice?
It can be a very frugal choice! If you choose simple styles in basic colors you will have beautiful silk blouses to wear year after year. You can dress them up, dress them down, layer them, and be comfortable in just about any climate. And you will always look great!