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Denim with Accents is In (Part 1)

Shirt-themed dress also in vogue as spring ‘sequins’ toward summer

CONCORD, N.C. — Now is a good time to gaze into the crystal ball of fashion and try to predict the trends the designers and manufacturers will be offering the consumer for the late spring and summer.

Those fashions will eventually find their way to your counter. You will need to have a plan in place to deal with any delicate construction and trim.

When you are prepared with knowledge and a plan, you are well on your way to successful and profitable care of the customer’s garment.

While khakis and fatigues remain in vogue, the trend is to make these items dressier by using sheer fabric and gathers in the construction.

This is good news for the professional cleaner, since the garments are more labor-intensive, thus less likely to be done at home.

The more fragile construction requires attention to “first, do no harm.” In many cases, this is achieved by turning the garment inside-out and running it in a mesh bag.

Denim continues to be a fabric of choice for designers. It is being accented by oversized ornamental trim, especially in the form of exposed, oversized zippers.

Denim is often top-dyed, which makes it prone to bleed and crock (color rubbed-off) when supplemental spotting is required. Even the smallest light area, that results from aggressive spotting, will ruin the visual impact of the entire garment.

New denim should be spotted using cold water from a spare spotting bottle, instead of steam. It should be dried using extra distance to reduce the effects of the air’s friction on the fragile dye.

Most denim is woven in a twill pattern, which makes it very durable. Just remember that the dye should be treated as fragile. Ornamental trim can be protected by turning the garment inside-out and running it in a mesh bag.


This spring, we’re seeing the return of a staple of the women’s wardrobe: the shirt-themed dress.

It will come in virtually every fabric, but most will be accented by contrasting trim. This trim must be protected at the cost of a few extra seconds of preparation and effort.

Something as simple as pinning the flap holding the buttons over, to make a “button sandwich,” can protect even delicate ceramic buttons from chipping.

A few designers are offering a more structured shoulder, even using shoulder pads. When presented with shoulder pads that are not easily removed, you should extend your drying/deodorization time to ensure that the pads are completely dry and give off no chemical smell.

Unfortunately, the mixing of high-contrast colors will continue this spring.

The color scheme has now expanded to a wider pallet of hues, including vivid reds, orange and blues.

While it is not the only potential solution to the problem, many cleaners are having success with an extended clear rinse. This allows the fugitive dyes to be flushed away before the heat of drying has a chance to set the dye that has wicked from the dark area into the light area.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].