Some people like to think of Memorial Day as the start of summer, which means it’s the perfect time to bring out the white wardrobe! There’s just something so lady-like and clean and sophisticated about a little white dress, especially one of a midi length and paired with kitten heels, complete with dainty ankle straps. And that is exactly how I found myself looking this past weekend for my Memorial Day festivities (I say festivities but what I really mean is lowkey feasting with my family).
I love this particular midi LWD that I snagged from Nordstrom. It’s not one of the current Half-Year sale items, but the style, length and fabric make it so worth the price. I was actually planning on just wearing it by itself for an all-white palette, but at the last minute, I decided to break up the monochrome with dashes of blue in the form of a cropped denim jacket and these summer-friendly Polette sunglasses (there’s also a really cute pink version!).
But with bright whites, there comes the risk of accidents resulting in panicked trips to the dry cleaner that makes me just want to revert back to my signature blacks. Luckily, I found this handy little guide on keeping white clothes clean, and I want to share it with you all in hopes that you will find it useful too! From Mary Johnson, fabric care principal scientist for Tide and Downy detergents, here are some wise tips to remember (source: luckyshops.com):
1. Dirt attracts dirt. If an item isn’t fully cleaned on the first go, it’s liable to get dirtier and dingier over time. Find a detergent that gets the job done (recommendation: Tide PODS plus Febreeze), remember not to overload your washer and don’t let dirty clothes sit unwashed for too long, or else unwanted grime can set further into fabrics.
2. Bleach is often not your best bet. The chemical makeup of bleach can actually break down fabrics, especially synthetics, and even strip them of dye altogether, leaving a yellowed effect.
3. Fight yellowing with specialized formulas. Rather than relying on your regular old detergent to get out months or even years of build-up, find a product designed specifically for cleaning and brightening whites (recommendation: add Tide’s Vivid White + Bright Booster to your regular wash for set-in dirt and soils). Bluing agents are another, somewhat old-fashioned alternative. They work by adding microscopic particles of iron to fabrics to tint them slightly blue, counteracting the yellow hue that whites often take on over time. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle carefully, however, especially when it comes to diluting the product, since the color can stain clothing when applied in excess.
3. Be mindful of fabrication. Not all fabrics are created equal. Hand washing delicate fabrics (like silk) is preferable, as is laying the garment flat to dry, and if you choose to machine wash, use the gentle cycle with like colors and fabrics. For linens, wash with cold water to safeguard against shrinkage or distortion. It’s generally ok to throw them in the dryer, but use the low cycle, remove them before they’re fully dry, and either hang them or lay them flat to maintain their original shape. As for your favorite white jeans, be sure to zip up the zippers, button up the buttons and turn everything inside out so there’s no danger of damaging anything else in the wash.
4. When in doubt, protect yourself. If you’re going to be devastated if your new white dress gets ruined, consider finding a cheaper alternative that won’t break the bank (and your heart along with it.) Layer tank tops, camisoles or slips underneath white garments to prevent direct contact with skin, and throw on a sweater or scarf if you’re wary of dinners with red wine. Pack a Tide To Go pen in your bag, a few garment shields for unexpectedly sweaty commutes and do your best to forgo any heavy makeup that might rub off on your collar.
Additionally, this is a great guide on how to treat different types of stains. White is such a fun color to wear, especially since it’s the perennial summer staple color, so have fun with it and try not to worry too much about clumsy staining accidents!
Photos by H