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A sloppy girl’s guide to wearing white silk, a pre-treating primer

how to care for your white silk shirt

Think of VAUGHAN's in-house agony Aunt, Auntie Kiki as your sartorial fairy godmother. She may not always be gentle, but she's always on point.

Dear Auntie Kiki,

I recently purchased my first VAUGHAN silk shirt… in white.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’m totally clueless on how to care for it – or even keep it clean!

Most of my clothes end up covered in random stains and banished to the bottom of the laundry basket. How the hell do I pull off all-white without showing off the grime of my 9 to 9 grind?

Yours truly,

Sloppy in Sacramento

 Dear Sloppy in Sacremento,

The ability to glide through life without condiments on your sleeve or a contentious coffee stain on your cuff is truly the apex of adulting. But when it comes to style, rarely do fashion and function meet.

Until they invent an all-purpose sartorial Scotchguard that defends separates against chewing gum bum and escaping mustard stains, the style literate must learn some of the essential rules of white shirt maintenance.

Exploring all those settings on your washing machine and equipping yourself with the fundamental tools to blitz your laundry is the true measure of a modish matriarch. 

Whilst relying on your local dry cleaner can make you feel more carefree about wearing white, the bills soon stack up in their favour – and wouldn’t that money be better spent on a bottle of Beaujolais?

Learning how to hand wash on the fly and trap stains before they become irreconcilable comes down to a few golden rules.

Take the dry-clean-only tag with a grain of salt

Rules were made to be broken, and that Dry Clean Only tag is no different.  Yes, if you only dry clean your shirt will retain the exact same characteristics as the day you brought her home.

But the big secret around VAUGHAN HQ is that we all hand wash.

When silk meets water it will eventually get thicker, not necessarily a bad thing, just different.  Eventually the darker colors may fade (just as with any other garment), but we prefer to call that "character".

Ban the bleach, pre-treat, dry with dignity

Eating with a napkin tucked into your collar might not seem particularly PC after the age of 8, but how else is a girl to eat linguine?

The truth is, there are really no reputable solutions for guaranteeing things stay white between washes. 

Instead, try to wash after every wear to avoid accidental marks and a grey build-up from pollution. For an everyday detergent that’s easy on soft silks like the crêpe de chine produced for VAUGHAN, I highly recommend The Laundress and their delicate wash.

When big stains occur, it’s all about triage.

Can you treat the stain immediately? (shirtless in a bistro is not an option).

If not, avoid the urge to blot and keep it dry until you can soak it in a bowl of warm water and delicate detergent for 30 minutes.

However bad it seems, never reach for the bleach, instead, try a household trick and mix two-spoons of white vinegar with a little water and let it sit before washing.

Whether you decide to use the delicate setting on your washing machine or clean by hand, avoid wringing out extra moisture and DO. NOT. TUMBLE. DRY.

Hang on a padded hanger in a warm room and leave to dry before ironing on a very cool setting under a clean tea towel.

Bright whites can give off an air of confident minimalism that needs no introduction – so to inspire your new foray into the world of clean, pristine dressing, follow this outfit that includes the Cassie pussy bow blouse in pure white for a look that’s style-proof, even if it’s not stain-proof…

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