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Have I reached a point in my life that the small, tiny, minute things in this world have begun upset me (trust me the irony is not lost due to my vertical challenged stature). Have I transformed into the previous century’s king of irritability, Victor Meldrew? Or am I being sensibly cautious?
Am I writing regarding a hilarious slapstick mishap during a power cut or equally absurd exploit with a cat found in the freezer (funniest episode ever)? No. I bring to you one word that will have you waking in a cold sweat in the middle of the night if you truly cherish your wardrobe – that word is MOTHS.
In my 30 years of dressing chaps, I count my blessings every night that I’ve never had to tackle these miniscule monsters myself. But this hasn’t stopped me from being terrified that armies of cashmere-munching moths are en route to devour my collection of precious knitwear, jackets, and coats.
The feeling of panic was exacerbated last week when I realised (like most of us I’m sure) I hadn’t really worn any of my suits in over a year and this meant: no dry cleaning, no brushing and certainly no maintenance. I needed to calm myself down and have a soothing cup of liquorice and peppermint tea. To help get a handle on my newfound fear of moth situation and, in turn to prevent a situation from arising in the first place, I spoke to the Mr James resident butler, Mr Dixon, of the renowned London Savoy who has buttled (yes that is a word) for the great and good for many, many years (but he doesn’t like to talk about it, until he has a drink or two).
Herewith, Mr Dixon’s fool proof guide to taking care of the clothes in your wardrobe and making every piece last that little bit longer.
Prevention is the key when it comes to moths. For most homes, high quality moth sachets in all wardrobes and drawers will suffice. Acana, Colibri and Modelli are all good brands. If your home is high risk i.e., you have antique rugs or curtains within the home, we would also recommend putting moth traps in. These aren't the prettiest of things but offer great protection against these little pests!
It depends on how bad the moth infestation is. I would always recommend getting a professional pest control company in to kill the moths. Once they have gotten rid of them, take further steps to prevent them coming back. Install moth traps and make sure you are refreshing your moth sachets regularly. I am so cautious of moths in my business that I suggest a pest control company visit all of customers every month. However, it is important to note that it can be very difficult to get rid of an infestation. I've known customers that have had to remove all the carpets in their home and start again!
It's a common misconception that adult moths eat clothes. It's actually the larvae that do the damage. The bad news is that there are a number of different moth species, and their larvae are capable of eating most natural fibres. Wool is definitely highest risk, but they really will go for most natural fibres.
Cashmere should be stored in drawers with moth sachets or hung on cedar wood hangers in a well ventilated, clean, dry wardrobe. Moths like warm, humid, dark places. Another good option is to store your cashmere in vacuum packs, but this is of course inconvenient if you want to wear it regularly. At Mr James, we also provide a vacuum pack service. Contact Mr James today for more details at James@mrjamesmarlow.co.uk or call 07912437900.
Some of the best advice is to use a reputable dry cleaner. They should be able to recommend the best cleaning method for any particular garment. It's amazing how many care labels will recommend a particular cleaning method and it's actually incorrect.
Moths are attracted to the natural oils on human skin, so storing clothes that have been worn is increasing the risk. Good storage is also an easy win. Using good quality hangers will ensure your clothes hold their shape. Like you and I, clothe likes to breathe so a bloody good culling is often needed to ensure there is adequate room in-between each garment (funny ... Mr James can help with that as well).
So, there you have it, Mr James (& Mr Dixon) to the rescue. I like to think we have ensured you will now sleep well tonight.
Now... If you were to tell me that you are not planning on inspecting your finest pieces in your wardrobe tonight for any naughty petite infestation, as Victor Meldrew would say “I don’t believe it!!”.
Please do let me know if you are having any sartorial issues via firstname.lastname@example.org
By James Mulchrone, stylist, shopper and veritable clothes doctor at Mr James Marlow Menswear. James has been dressing and styling chaps for over 25 years.