Yesterday I started a four-part post describing tips for looking great in your clothes. If you don’t already think I’m nuts for folding my dirty clothes (and misspelling “nitpicking” on the first try) maybe you will consider reading Tip #2.

Use the best dry cleaner in town. I’m not going to kid you. We spend a small fortune on dry cleaning. I know this goes against the grain of most vintage purists and eco-aware people who say you must not dry clean your garments. I’m sorry, but that’s just not practical. I can’t bring myself to wear clothes that aren’t clean and I certainly wouldn’t sell something that way.

Some garments simply last longer when they are dry-cleaned. Yes, I have paid for some garments over and over again by choosing dry cleaning. I think of it this way: when I buy something, I usually intend to wear it for long time. Dry cleaning is like putting oil in your car. It’s a necessary maintenance item. Although I prefer washable clothing, there are exceptional pieces that simply shouldn’t be washed in water.

I have road tested all the reputable dry cleaners in Indianapolis. No one comes close to the service and expertise of Classic Cleaners. There are a few things that have greatly endeared this business to my heart.

  1. They treat my vintage and special garments with expert care for preservation. If they can handle these things, they can handle anything.
  2. My husband occasionally rejects a dress shirt when the collar is not pressed a certain way. It has always seemed petty to me, but they treat all feedback with importance. If it isn’t right for him, they take it back and redo it, no questions asked.
  3. They pick up and deliver free of charge, which is something that impresses me even though I’ve never used this service. That’s because of reason #4.
  4. Carol and Aimee are my friends. I visit Classic Cleaners on West 71st Street nearly every week. If I go between 2 and 3 in the afternoon, I can catch both of them during their shift change.

When I first started my vintage business, Carol was a supportive pal who allowed me to put my business card on their bulletin board. I hadn’t known her very long when I determined that we had something in common. She has always been a Daddy’s girl. This year dealt her a heavy blow when her father passed away. That loss took the wind out of her sails for several months. Seeing her once a week, I could let her know that I was concerned about her and see how she was doing. That seems like a small thing. But among friends, such things matter, don’t they?

Aimee is the perky understudy to Carol. I doubt that she is 21 yet, but Aimee has already mastered customer service. Like Carol, she is always professional, cheerful, and interested in giving me the best value. Aimee keeps informed about special deals that can reduce my dry cleaning expenses.

When I bring one of my vintage beauties in, Carol and Aimee pause to cast admiring glances. I’ve never had this kind of relationship with any other dry cleaner. This duo is part of the reason Classic Cleaners gets our business. Carol and Aimee aren’t good at what they do–they’re excellent at it. We like doing business with people who care. It’s as simple as that.

If you find a dry cleaner in your town that is on par with Classic Cleaners, be prepared to pay a premium. The kind of careful service you’ll receive is well worth the difference. If your budget does not allow you to use the best in town, I’m not against finding a budget dry cleaner for certain things. But you should never, ever take a garment you value to a $1.99 dry cleaner. End of story.

What tips do you have for making it easy to maintain your wardrobe? Share them with us!

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.