From now until April, it’s likely your coat will serve many purposes: armor against the elements, critical piece of your daily uniform, a blanket on a long flight, a pillow on a car ride—you get the idea. Needless to say, it’s going to require some love to make it through the season.
It doesn’t take a lot to keep your coat from developing that it’s-halfway-through-winter-and-you-sure-can-tell patina (to put it nicely), but it does take a small amount of effort. A few Madewell design-team-approved tricks, right here.
1. Start with a good cleaning. If you’re taking it out of hibernation, the wonder of a leather or dry cleaner can’t be overstated.
2. Brush your coat (wool and leather alike) regularly. A bristle suede brush works best to wick stains and oils away.
3. If you have a stain that can’t be removed by brushing, use a damp cloth and pat the fabric lightly. You don’t want to spread it around—and aggressive scrubbing will do just that. If your coat is wool, you can add a small amount of gentle detergent. If it’s suede and the blemish won’t budge after tapping it with a damp cloth, a pencil eraser may do the trick once it’s bone dry again.
4. Remove everything from the coat’s pockets before you hang it. Every time. Fellow chapstick, ticket stub, candy and key hoarders, this one’s for you. The extra weight can make your coat lose its shape fast.
5. Hang it on a solid hanger. Not the ones they give you at the cleaners. Most winter coats are heavy and they need the support to keep their form. Those droopy shoulders you often notice three months before the season’s over? The wrong hangers are likely the culprit.
6. Give it another good cleaning before you store it for next year. We know, we know, this step feels so unnecessary if you’re just going to pull it out and clean it in six months but…moths and the like are attracted to any fragrances or scents left to linger. Not only will your coat look A+ all winter, it’ll be in tip-top shape next year too.
Looking to start this whole outerwear thing on the right foot (er, arm)? Shop all our new coats, right here.