|A Little Black Dress, anyone? Collage of LBDs from Little Black Dress Magazine.|
My darling Marsi is back today with more of her stylish writing and practical advice on how to keep black black.
Black is a favorite wardrobe color for many afemme d’un certain age. And why not? It’s sophisticated, chic, slenderizing, dramatic, easy. Black goes with everything and is appropriate for nearly every occasion, and it looks expensive even when it’s not.
And really, anything that puts the black in Little Black Dress has got to be good.
|Sophisticated? Check. Chic? Check.
Slenderizing? Check.Black? Check
The downside is that black also fades more than most colors when laundered. Fading is particularly evident anywhere there’s a seam (regardless of whether it’s a join, a hem, or a placket),and then the effect is anything but sophisticated or chic. Fortunately though, your casual cottons and linens can easily be restored to their former inky glory with just four bucks and an hour of your time.
|Rit to the rescue!|
Ever since I was college student who barely had two nickels to rub together, I’ve loved and used Rit Dye to freshen up my black cottons. I’ve never lost that sense of frugality with my wardrobe. It seemed to me so wasteful to part with a favorite garment whose only fault was fading, especially when it was so easily remedied.
When Rit started offering liquid dye, I quickly abandoned the fuss and mess of powder, and really, it couldn’t be easier.My grocery store now carries Rit Liquid Dye, so it doesn’t even require a special trip to the fabric shop anymore.The directions on the package are easy-peasy, the cleanup is minimal, the effects are perfect.
|Cute cotton marcels from Uniqlo that’d
be perfect for redying, when the time comes.
I’ve used both front- and top-loading washing machines for dying. I simply start an extra-long wash cycle with cold water (cold is plenty warm enough for dying), interrupt it after a minute to add the dye, restart it, and wait for the washer to finish filling with water. Once the drum begins to agitate, I throw in my dry, clean, faded clothing (up to two pounds per bottle). I make sure to add an extra rinse cycle, and then I walk away. An hour later, the cycle is over, so I wash the clothes as normal and drip-dry everything. Voila. Perfection.
I find that the wash cycle after dying clears the washing machine of lingering traces of the dye, but you can always run an empty cycle with a cup of household bleach just to be sure. I also think it’s very important to wash newly dyed black items together in their own load, just to make sure that any excess dye doesn’t stain other clothing in the load. Rit’s website has tons of tips, but to be honest, it makes the process sound more complicated and fraught with catastrophe than it is.
It’s really just so simple, and when I did a dye job last week, I really loved seeing the little stack of perfectly, deeply dark jeans and tees, ready to be worn. (It’s the little pleasures in life, no?)
|Black skinnies with a touch of Lycra in the cotton take dye well.|
Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth the proverbial pound of cure, so give these tricks a whirl to maintain the intensity of your blacks.
- Always launder black garments inside out. This minimizes the abrasion of the seams in the washing machine.
- Use a laundry detergent designed for dark clothing. The Laundress and Woolite make them.
- Always wash in cold water.
- Line dry your garments rather than run them through the dryer.
If you’d like to give it a go and still have questions or concerns, leave a comment below.