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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Cleaning and Restoring Leather Purses and Handbags

My parents really like to purchase things for my sister, my niece, and me that we wouldn’t normally buy on our own.  A number of years ago, my sister and niece both asked for designer handbags for Christmas, and my mom had so much fun shopping and purchasing their bags, and they have really enjoyed carrying those bags, that a new tradition began where my parents bought them an expensive bag every Christmas and birthday.

Two years ago, my mom began encouraging me to pick out a designer bag, and for a while I resisted.  I tended to think of handbags as mostly disposable, carrying a purse for one or two seasons, and then donating it to The Salvation Army or Goodwill once it served my purpose.  But ultimately, I relented, mostly to make my mom happy, and now I must admit that I have three designer bags, with my favorite being a red Dooney & Bourke bag that I am currently carrying.

Today, I look at my collection of bags, and purses in general, differently.  I did not donate the black Michael Kors purse that I received last Christmas; instead, it is upstairs in the guest room closet, in a cloth bag, waiting for me to carry it again.  Why? There’s a real difference in the quality.  After carrying it for 5 months, the bag held its shape nicely, has so many terrific features, and still looks like new.

But what if it didn’t still look like new?  Would I have gotten rid of it or stuck it in a closet to never use again?  No, that’s where Shores comes in.  If during the 5 months that I carried it, it got an ink mark, a lipstick stain, a scratch, the stitching came loose, or anything else that goes along with carrying it daily, I would have just contacted Brian.  Shores has been caring for purses and handbags for years and not only has the ability to work on them in house but also has access to top fabric, suede, leather, PVC, or any combination of materials restoration experts that can take a tired, blemished, or damaged handbag and return it to its former beauty.  

If you have a designer bag that needs a bit of attention, stop by one of our three locations and let Brian, David, or Mike take a look at it.  It’s so rare that a bag is beyond restoration, and our handbag specialists wouldn’t want you to get rid of something that has the potential to be restored to its original condition and more importantly, allow you to enjoy it for years to come.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How Much Does It Cost to Have My Wedding Gown Professionally Cleaned?

How long did you spend selecting your perfect wedding dress?  The answer always varies, but it takes most brides a couple of months to find the one, and when you did, it was probably one of the best days of your life.  Your wedding dress is not just a dress for a day, most likely you’ve been dreaming of this day and your gown since you were a little girl.  No, it’s not just a dress for a day, it’s a symbol for all of those to come.  Remember you’re going to look back at those photographs for the rest of your life.  That’s why the choice and selection of the perfect gown was so important.

So the big question now is what to do with it.  You may hope that a younger sister or perhaps even a daughter will someday wear your gown or you may want to hold onto it for sentimental reasons. In some cases, selling the dress to be a part of another bride’s dream day makes the most sense.  Whatever your decision, your wedding gown is a treasured keepsake that, if properly cleaned and preserved, can last for years to come.  Ideally you should have your gown cleaned and preserved within a few weeks of your wedding.

The question I am asked the most is: How much does it cost to clean and preserve a wedding gown?  The short answer is: It depends.  But I will try to dissect the market to help you make sense of the price points. 

There are generally two ways to have your gown cleaned and preserved: by mail or outsourced to a wholesale gown cleaning factory, or individually cleaned and preserved by a specialist.  Each method differs and have varying pricing. 

The factory option.  The price range for this service is between $95-$150.  Typically, you order a box that you will place your gown into and then send to the gown factory.  I like to compare this option to any big box operation; it’s a Wal-mart style process: big facility with a lot of automation and very little individual attention to detail and service.  Your gown’s safety will not be guaranteed nor will you receive a preservation guarantee against yellowing and brown spots.

Individual cleaning.  Having your gown hand-cleaned by a specialist on-site, while more expensive, has many advantages over your gown being sent to a factory.  True gown preservationists use museum quality materials and processes to ensure a flawless final product.  Many have special rooms with light, dust and humidity controls where the gowns are preserved buy technicians clad in lab coats and gloves.  Shores process includes a consultation and hand-cleaning by a certified gown specialist, giving the dress owner the opportunity to have the cleaned dress “revealed” before we proceed with the preservation.  Once we have approval, we perform an anti-sugar treatment to insure all stains that could cause yellowing and brown spots in the future have been removed. Then your gown is wrapped in freshly laundered muslin, surrounded with acid free tissue paper, and place in an acid free and pH neutral container.  Specialists will guarantee your gown's safety and provide you with a preservation guarantee against yellowing and brown spots.  Pricing for this type of service can range anywhere between $300-$600, with an average cost for cleaning and preservation falling near $450 depending on your gown.  Pricing can also vary slightly depending on the market you are in.

There are certain factors that cause the price of cleaning and preservation to go up.  Fabric content: Natural fibers such as silk, require a different level of expertise and time when it comes to stain removal and cleaning.  Trim and construction: intricate trim and cuttings need to be protected and sometimes removed and replaced to ensure against damage which increases the labor involved in cleaning a gown.   Damage in need of repair will incur alteration charges.  Significant staining could incur restoration charges.  In general, a silk couture gown will be on the higher side of average and a synthetic gown from a retailer like David’s Bridal would be on the lower side of average to clean and preserve.
There are also ways to reduce the cost of cleaning and preservation.  The Association of Wedding Gown Specialists offers a $35 off coupon good at any affiliate location.  Some cleaners offer packages that can be purchased that include gown services prior to the wedding and the preservation afterwards at a discount. For instance, if Shores performs alterations or pre-wedding cleaning, we traditionally discount the preservation charge for our customer.  Another interesting trend is to request gift certificates for gown preservation as a shower/wedding gift.  But I have seen that by far the most effective way to get your wedding dress preserved at a discount and sometimes even for free is to leave it at your parent’s house after the wedding.  Sooner or later they get the hint.

Whichever course you choose, remember to ask questions and make sure you feel comfortable and confident with the person and company you are trusting with your most treasured memory.  Click here if you would be interested in a free consultation with one of our specialists and fill out a request, or contact us at 1-844-My-1-Gown anytime to speak with the specialist on-call.  If you are not located near one of our facilities but would like to have your gown cleaned and preserved by one of our specialists, click here for more info.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Purchasing High-Quality Dress Shirts

There is such a big difference between the way a custom-made dress shirt looks and holds up when compared to mainstream brands.  Obviously, you pay a premium for custom-made dress shirts, but because they are custom-made for you, they fit properly.  Plus, no corners are cut.  For instance, many mass-manufactured dress shirts use adhesive around the seams of the pockets, collar, and cuffs, and because the adhesive weakens over time, the shirt simply won’t last as long or look as crisp as a custom-made dress shirt. 

So, you are in the market for some custom-made dress shirts, but what do you look for?  Below are the areas to focus on as you shop for your perfect shirt…and shirt maker.   

Collar – A quality collar will be properly proportioned, with straight and clean stitching along the edges, and include removable collar stays. 

Buttons and Button Holes – There are several things to check here.  First, buttons come in a variety of sizes and styles; however, if “Mother of Pearl” buttons are on the shirt, that indicates quality.  Whatever button is used, make sure buttons are firmly attached to the shirt, using the X method of sewing.  In addition, buttons that are shanked also indicate a certain level of detail.  Shanking is when another thread is wrapped around the threads that hold the button to the shirt, causing the buttons to stand out a bit.  But more than the button itself, high-quality dress shirts have cleanly finished button holes with no signs of fraying.  Check for a small button at the sleeve placket, the area of the sleeve that opens when the cuff is unbuttoned.  This button is import because it prevents the sleeve from hanging open.  Finally, a high-quality dress shirt will come with spare buttons attached to the shirt.

Stitching – Overall, the stitching should be straight or smoothly follow the curves of the shirt with at least 18 stitches per inch.  Single needle side seam stitching along the sides of the shirt and the bottom of the sleeves give the shirt a tight seam and a tapered look.  Check for reinforcement along the bottom of the side seams to keep the shirt from ripping or tearing.  Finally, check the stitching at the cuffs, ensuring they have pointed corners and straight stitches. 

Split Yoke – The yoke is the panel of fabric that runs across the shoulders, just behind the collar. A split yoke is where the yoke is made of two different pieces of fabric, and a true split will have two pieces of fabric cut at an angle.  When fabric is cut on an angle, it stretches more giving a greater range of motion.

Fabric – While 100% heavy weight premium cotton shirts finish the best, we find that fabric is very much a personal preference.  Choose what you like, but know that the quality of the fabric impacts the overall quality of the shirt.  If you want a shirt with some sort of pattern, be sure that the pattern matches at the center back of the split yoke, along the front of the shirt, and at the pocket.  If the pattern doesn’t match properly, the shirt will look sloppy. 

We realize that’s a whole lot of information to take into consideration for one dress shirt, but believe us when we say, you really can see the difference in quality.  If you’d like to get started, we are happy to share that many of our customers like these brands – Tom James, Richard Bennett, Charles Trywitt, and Brooks Brothers.  Once you purchase a high-quality shirt, keep it in great shape by laundering it regularly.  If you’d like to stop by one of our locations to examine a custom-made shirt or to just ask questions, please do.  We are happy to help.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Restoring Two Vintage Wedding Gowns

We always tell brides to have their gowns cleaned and preserved as soon as possible after the ceremony because the longer you let spills and stains sit on your garments, the less likely it is that a professional dry cleaner will be able to remove them.  Sadly, we didn’t know as much back in 1974 or 1946 as we do today, but luckily for Margaret Rehder, we are as good as we say we are.
Mrs. Rehder's Dress before and after
In 1974, Margaret wore this gown she purchased from Montaldo’s in Winston-Salem to marry her husband.  “It worked,” she said, “because I’m still happily married 42 years later.”  After her wedding, she placed the gown back in the Montaldo’s bag and stored it away.  The gown has moved around with them as they’ve changed homes, and most recently, it has been living in the same bag in their attic.

Margaret dropped her bridal gown, along with one that her mother had worn in 1946, off at our Shores location in Winston-Salem.  Brian, the General Manager of Shores, said that Margaret’s gown was no problem to clean and restore, but her mother’s gown was a completely different story.

Her mother’s gown, after being worn in 1946, was placed in an old electric blanket box without being cleaned or preserved.  The gown was made of Chantilly lace and the fibers were completely dried out.  Placing it in a machine or subjecting it to the smallest amount of agitation would cause it to completely fall apart.  So, David, Manager of the Shores in High Point, spent three days cleaning it by hand.  While the dress could not be returned to its original condition, it has been reconditioned and restored to its former beauty.

Mrs. Rehder's mother's dress before and after cleaning and preservation

Even though the dress looks beautiful, it cannot be worn again, and this very reason is why we are so adamant about providing the proper care for wedding gowns as soon as the ceremony is over.  If you have a wedding gown that’s been sitting in your closet untouched for far too long, drop it by one of our locations so that our gown experts can restore it to its former beauty.  Also, feel free to contact us with questions about our preservation process.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Starch and Dress Shirts

Three pressed, starched and laundered dress shirts
When you drop off your dress shirts to be laundered, we always ask if you’d like them to be starched.  If you do, we separate them from those that aren’t going to receive starch, both batches are laundered according to specifications with the shirts receiving starch getting it through a separate cycle, then all shirts meet back up at the finishing department.  But what exactly is starch and what purpose does it serve?

Laundry starch is a vegetable byproduct that’s dried and then mixed with water to create a sticky liquid.  Shirts that are starched, if they are 100% cotton, keep their form longer and are less likely to develop wrinkles.  We specify 100% cotton because they are the only shirts that can be heavily starched; polyester, a man-made synthetic fiber, will not absorb or hold starch the way 100% cotton will.  Starch cannot bind with polyester fibers so you will never get a stiff shirt.

Of course, with everything there are both pros and cons and adding starch to shirts is no exception.

Pro - Starch adds a layer of protection to dress shirts, allowing them to better tolerate rubbing from other flat surfaces.

Con - Starch stiffens fibers, making shirts less flexible, so it lowers the shirt’s ability to withstand bending, twisting, and flexing.

Pro - Tensile strength is the measure of how well fabrics and fibers resist breaking under tension.  The Drycleaning & Laundry Institute conducted a study and found that shirts with medium starch and no starch had similar tensile strength.

Con - However, after being laundered 10 times, the tensile strength on no starch shirts was 29% higher than the shirts with heavy starch.  Heavy starch can decrease the tensile strength of fabrics by increasing its rigidity.

Pro - Starched shirts tend to stay whiter and brighter, maintain a crisper look, and resist staining.

Con – The main purpose of adding starch is to create a stiffness to the fabric; this in turn creates a problem with fiber flexibility, and this lack of flexibility causes the fabric to snap rather than give when strained.

When it comes to starch or no starch, we find that it comes down to personal preference; there’s no right or wrong answer here.  At Shores, we are proud of our Platinum Shirt Laundry and Silver Shirt Services Laundry services, and we know whatever you choose, you’ll be happy with the shirt results from Shores Fine Dry Cleaning.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Magnolias of Madison

Allison Drake opened Magnolias of Madison in March as sort of an homage to her late mother.  “My mom had a bridal boutique in Eden for 30 years,” Allison explained.  “She loved her dresses, so I opened Magnolias in her honor.”
Sadly, on May 31, flood waters ravaged her business.  “I had just moved the prom dress collection out of our space and moved in 30 new bridal gowns,” said Allison.  “When I arrived at the store after the rain, I was in shock and absolutely devastated.  My inventory was ruined, and I had no flood insurance.  Given our location, I never thought I’d need it.”  But because of storm drain issues, many businesses in Madison had to deal with the same sort of issues.

Instead of giving up, Allison did some research and decided to call Shores.  “I’d heard of Shores, especially the Winston-Salem location, and their great reputation,” Allison shared.  “Then I did some research, discovered their certification, and learned that they really do know what they are doing.”

Allison began working with David King, the manager of our High Point location and our gown expert extraordinaire, and today she has a completely different outlook on things.  To date, David and his staff have restored and returned almost all the gowns, and Allison is looking forward to a grand re-opening at her new location, 101 West Academy Street in Madison, Labor Day weekend.  Their new location is a home, built in 1890, that is on the National Registry.  It boasts much more space than her prior location, has great visibility, and will allow Allison to showcase the gowns.  “I’m so grateful that I called Shores, and that they were willing to help,” shared Allison.  “Perhaps the silver lining in all of this is that we have a better location, and we got to work with some terrific people.”

Shores is equally as pleased with the results.  “It was a slow process,” said David, “but in the end, I’m so excited we were able to help her.”  To clean the gowns, David and his team, working on a couple dresses at a time, soaked the bottom two feet of each gown in a gentle cleansing solution, then one-by-one, they hand cleaned the bottom of each dress using the greatest of care.  “The results were amazing,” exclaimed Allison, “I think they look even better than they did before.”  Below are a few before and after photos so that you can see what a remarkable job David and his team did.

The first dresses hem before cleaning

A lacier dresses hem before cleaning

Soiled Wedding Dress Hem number three


The first wedding dress. stainless after cleaning
A second wedding dress after Shore's professional gown cleaning
The third dress, cleaned by shore's and now stainless
There’s a reason why folks like Allison call on Shores; since 1948, Shores has had reputation of providing quality and caring service to all their clientele.  To learn more about Shores, visit our website or check us out on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Under Arm Stains

An unfortunate image of an under-arm stained dress shirt
You feel like you haven’t had the shirt very long or at least you haven’t worn it that many times before you notice that slight discoloration, sort of a yellowish hue, underneath the arms.  What is it?  Perspiration.  Actually, it is likely a combination of perspiration and anti-perspirant, and while that discoloring can form on other areas of your garments, it seems the most vulnerable area is under the arms.
Perspiration is made mostly of water, but it does contain trace amounts of minerals, lactic acid, and urea.  The content makeup varies from person to person, but it, along with the materials found in anti-perspirants, in conjunction with a concentrated area (like the underarm area of shirts) leads to build up over time and with age and the heat of finishing after cleaning, causes these materials to oxidize and turn the stain yellow.

What can you do to reduce the effects? Below are some suggestions.
  • Let your anti-perspiration or deodorant dry completely before dressing.
  • Wash or dry clean clothing as soon as possible after wearing; the quicker you address dirty garments, the more likely stains and spills can be removed.
  • Consider wearing underarm shields with your dress clothes.
  • Switch from anti-perspirant, which contains aluminum chlorohydrate that tends to clump in cotton and damage garments fibers, to deodorant. 
  • Try soaking clothing in cold water and dish soap, which contains de-greasers, immediately after wearing.
  • Finally, occasionally soak in a mild color-safe bleach.  Avoid using chlorine bleach as it will cause the optical brighteners to breakdown. 
Of course, Shores has been removing perspiration stains for years, and we’ll be happy to remove those nasty discolorations from your shirts.  Simply drop them by one of our three convenience locations.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Linen Fabric

A linen shirt with stained collar and scuffs
Linen fabric is some of the oldest in the world with its history going back thousands of years.  It was so valuable that it was sometimes used as currency in ancient Egypt, and mummies were wrapped in it as a display of wealth.  Linen is made from the cellulose fibers that grow inside of the stalks of the flax plant, so one could really consider it a vegetable.  Flax can grow in various climates, but it does best in cool, damp environments, so planting depends on where it is being grown.  Once it’s planted, it lives for one growing season and is ready to be harvested in approximately 100 days.  After the stalks are harvested, they are allowed to dry out in the open air for several weeks before they go through various processes before finally making it to weaving.

Linen is a terrific fabric to wear during warmer weather because its porous texture allows air to move through the fabric, helping you feel cooler.  It can also absorb up to 20% of its weight in moisture before feeling damp, unlike cotton that gets heavy from perspiration.  Finally, it keeps its shape much better than other fabrics.  On the down side, it wrinkles – badly.  With all these benefits and only one (but a big one) drawback, how can you incorporate linen into your wardrobe while still looking crisp and sharp?
  • Avoid folding linen garments and instead hang them.
  • Don’t jam linen garments into an overstuffed closet.  Instead hang them in a closet with plenty of room. 
  • Linen garments aren’t the best to pack for vacation, but if you are set on taking one we suggest folding it carefully, packing it last, pulling it out of your suitcase as soon as you arrive, and iron the garment using a buffer cloth to avoid shine either while damp or using plenty of heat and steam.
  • Try using a clothes steamer to relax deep wrinkles.
  • Either hand wash linen garments or use the gentle cycle on your washing machine.
  • Don’t dry linen garments in the dryer.  Instead, lay flat on a towel to dry and gently pull the seams to properly shape and smooth. 
  • Remember, the more linen is worn and washed, the softer and more flexible it will be. 
But of course, if all of this seems like too much, Shores will be happy to take care of your linen garments for you.  Simply drop by one of our three locations, and we’ll take it from there.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wedding Gown Alterations

There is no such thing as the “perfect” wedding gown; that makes us sound like such pessimists, but the truth is that even the most beautiful of gowns needs a tuck here or a hem there.  So you have “the one”, and now what?  Here are a few tips to turn "the one" into "the perfect one":
  1. If you purchased your gown at a bridal salon, they will most likely provide alterations.  If that isn’t an option, be sure to do your due diligence and select a tailor or seamstress that specializes in bridal gowns. 
  2. Set up fittings with at least 2 and preferably 3 seamstresses before committing to one.  First, it will help you get a feel for pricing.  Second, you may connect better with one particular seamstress.  Third, you will learn something from each seamstress because they all view and tackle a gown differently.  Be sure to communicate your expectations clearly during your meetings.
  3. Wedding gown alterations should be finalized four weeks prior to your wedding date, so that means, given that most gowns require 2 – 4 fittings, you’ll need to begin moderate alterations roughly three months from your wedding date.  If your gown requires substantial alterations, then we recommend adding an additional month.
  4. Bring all undergarments, shoes, and accessories to every fitting.  This will ensure a proper fit and will also allow you to see your ensemble in its entirety. 
  5. Avoid bringing too many people to your fittings.  Obviously you’ll want to bring your mom, but it’s also a good idea to bring a trusted friend – one that will be honest but kind with their opinions.  Any more than that could create a chaotic atmosphere and lead to too many opinions. 
Of course, Shores offers wedding gown alterations, and we would be happy to assist you with your gown.  But whomever you choose, we want you to be happy with that selection, so if we can help by answering questions or offering advice, then please stop by one of our locations and talk to the manager.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Purse Restoration

I have friends that change purses for every occasion.  I think that’s simply too much work.  I don’t think of a purse as an accessory; to me, it’s more like a necessary tool.  It holds things that I need to function in everyday life – phone, keys, money, small notebooks (one for work and one for volunteer work), things Gray needs for school, Jolly Ranchers.  Basically my purse organizes my life.  So, I like to find an all-purpose, good-quality purse that I can use for pretty much any occasion, and when I find the right one, I hang onto it until it no longer conveys the nice, crisp, tidy image I’ve worked so hard to earn.

Recently, Brian sent me a text with some photos of a few purses he’d had restored.  My first question was, “When did you start doing that?”  In my head I was kicking myself for not asking him about the Michael Kors bag I recently donated because it was showing lots of wear.

Restoring leather and suede bags is not an easy process; it requires years of experience, the proper equipment, plenty of space, and sometimes many, many hours.  That’s where our friends at Arrow Fabricare Services based out of Kansas City, Missouri come in.  I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Susie, a third generation garment care expert.  Her family’s business has a fascinating story!  Her grandfather was an immigrant from Poland with expert tailoring skills, and he started the business in 1914.  When her dad came back from serving in the Air Force in 1945, he expanded the business into fine dry cleaning and leather cleaning.  In fact, her dad, at age 91, still comes into work every day.  Her brother now runs the business, and they started caring for handbags 10 years ago.  And just take a look at these results!

I asked how they performed such miracles, and of course, that’s a trade secret.  What she did tell me was that they have 5 different ways they clean leather, they use 3 different solutions, there’s a lot of hand cleaning and wet cleaning, most everything goes to a dye booth (that’s where the magic happens), there’s pressing involved, and their facility is 26,000 square feet.  I was curious as to whether there have been times when they couldn’t restore something.  “Oh sure,” she replied.  “There are times when things can be fixed, and there are other times when we can’t.”  She went on to tell me about a 1970’s leather bag with lacing they received.  The leather was as hard as a rock, and after evaluation they determined that it couldn’t be softened.  They told the customer there was nothing they could do.  “He said to throw it away,” Susie shared. “We will always give an honest answer.  If it’s not worth fixing, we’ll tell the customer.”  But then there was this $49,000 alligator bag that 3 people spent 10 hours on that came back looking brand new.

High-quality handbags are not meant to be carried one season and then replaced.  Your bag likely has unique features and characteristics that drew you to it, and to find something new that fits all your needs is difficult.  Why not let us take a look at your suede or leather purse, handbag, or briefcase to see if it can be revived so that it can continue to serve you faithfully?  Just drop by one of our three locations and let us take a look at it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Caring for Silk

According to Chinese legend, Empress Hsi Ling Shi, wife of Emperor Huang Ti, was the first person to accidentally discover silk for its ability to be woven as a fiber.  The story goes that one day, the empress was having tea under a mulberry tree, and a cocoon fell into her cup and began to unravel.  As she watched the threads, she discovered their source and then began cultivating silkworms and invented the reel and loom.

Today, silk is a soft, luxurious fabric that is versatile, practical, and durable.  Some benefits of silk garments include breathability, regulating body temperature, moisture wicking, doesn’t irritate your skin, no static cling, and can come in a variety of weights.  But with all its advantages, silk can sometimes be temperamental to care for.  Because of that, we’ve assembled a list of tips to help you keep your silk garments looking their best.
  • Always blot, never rub a spill – especially on silk.  Silk chafes easily.
  • Apply perfume, cologne, and hairspray before dressing to avoid color loss and staining. 
  • Make sure your deodorant is completely dry before putting on a silk garment.
  • Use great care when handling household cleaners (especially products containing bleach, alcohol, and chlorine) and products (like hand sanitizer, moisturizer, toothpaste, face cleansers, dish detergent) when wearing silk.  If left on silk untreated, it could lead to color loss or color distortion.
  • Never use bleach or products containing chlorine when cleaning silk.  They can permanently change the color.
  • Store silk garments in a dark area.  Prolonged exposure to sunlight or artificial light can cause the color to streak or fade.
  • Wash or clean all pieces of a matching ensemble at the same time so they continue to look uniform.
  • When it comes to cleaning silk garments, they respond well to dry cleaning.  Washing silk at home could cause shrinkage, chafing, and color loss.
  • But if you decide to care for your silk garments at home, we recommend that you follow the directions on the care label and check for colorfastness before cleaning.
If you are apprehensive about caring for your silk at home, our staff is trained to handle delicate garments, remove difficult stains, and solve problems.  Simply drop your silk garments off at any one of our three locations, and we’ll be happy to take care of it from there.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Caring for Sweaters

I’m always cold.  To combat that, I wear lots of layers, in both the winter and the summer, and those layers typically involve some sort of sweater.  Because my sweaters see lots of use, I make sure to give them the best care possible.

Here’s how I go about keeping my sweaters looking like new:
  • I care for a number of my sweaters at home, but if I ever have a doubt, I immediately discuss it with one of our store managers.  If you are unclear about how to properly care for a sweater, please call or stop by one of our locations.
  • Address stains immediately.  If you spill something, just blot it with a clean, white cloth and then leave it alone until you can get home and address it properly.  If you are dropping it off at one of our stores, point out the stain and let us know what it is.
  • Follow the care label to avoid shrinking or stretching.  Many sweaters are hand-wash only, which doesn’t mean wash in the washing machine on the hand-wash cycle.  Hand-wash means using a very small amount of a mild detergent, gently swirling the sweater around in water in a sink or basin, carefully rinsing, and gently squeezing out the water.
  • Avoid drying your sweaters in the dryer; instead lay sweaters flat to dry.
  • Never hang your sweaters on a hanger from the shoulders.  The weight of the sweater will cause it to stretch, leaving those golf ball dimples in the shoulders.  It is best to fold your sweaters and place them in a drawer.  If your drawer space is limited, then fold them over a strut hanger and hang in your closet.
  • Avoid washing wool sweaters in your home washing machine because wool is especially prone to shrinkage.  If you have a wool sweater that gets wet, let it dry at room temperature away from heat and then brush with the nap.
  • Make note of unraveling and fraying and be sure to secure any loose yarns to prevent further unraveling.
  • I have a couple sweaters that have decorative trims and embellishments, and I do not care for them at home.  Remember that delicate fabrics can stretch, shrink, and pull, while items with decorative trims require special attention.  In these cases, it might be better to trust those items to a professional.
Our managers at Shores are always available to answer any questions you might have, whether it’s related to sweater care or other garments.  Simply stop by or call one of our three locations, and we will make sure you are taken care of.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Real Bride Spotlight – Michelle Smith

Even though Nathan and Michelle attended, both majoring in Business Administration, and graduated from Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, the only interaction they had with each other while there was a few classes together.  It wasn’t until an Alumni Ski weekend at Beech Mountain in February of 2015 that the pair connected and started dating the following month even though Michelle lived in Winston-Salem, and Nathan lived in Crossnore.  However, it seems that fate was on their side because Nathan soon learned he was receiving a promotion and relocating to Clemmons.  But the best part of the story is the reaction from Michelle’s dad.  “I knew Nathan was the one from the moment we reconnected,” she shared.  “He is such a genuine man.  My father immediately knew he was the one, and when dad knows he’s a good one, you trust your heart and run with it!”

How did Nathan propose?

A few weeks prior to New Year’s Day, I heard that the thing to do to ring in the New Year was to go hiking.  New Year’s morning I woke up at 6:00, and we loaded up the car and headed out on an adventure.  But first we had to stop at my favorite breakfast spot – in fact the only place I will eat breakfast – Cracker Barrel.  After we enjoyed our breakfast, having the sweetest and most energetic waitress for it to be New Year’s Day, we headed toward Pilot Mountain.  During our hike, Nathan asked me to reach into his book bag to find his camera case, and the entire time I was looking, I was saying “I didn’t even know you had a camera.”  He told me to open the case and inside was a very fancy little burgundy box.  I started crying and immediately started saying “YES. YES. YES.”  After a hug, I realize he hadn’t actually even asked, so he got down on one knee and asked me properly.  Of course, I said yes. 

What was the date of your wedding?

October 22, 2016

Will you tell us a little bit about it?

We got married at the Overlook Barn on Beech Mountain, North Carolina. We chose this venue because we both have a dear love and connection for the mountains of North Carolina, and we chose fall because we both love that season.  Unfortunately, it ended up being 30 degrees with 40-50 mph wind gusts, so it felt more like the dead of winter without snow.  We planned on having an outside ceremony, but with the crazy weather, we moved it inside the barn that morning, which made everything a bit hectic but it turned out just beautiful and no one froze or blew away.

My bridesmaids wore plum dresses with nude shoes. The groom and groomsmen wore navy tuxes with a raspberry bow tie and brown wingtip shoes. I love deep, bold colors and wanted to blend, but stand out from the beautiful fall leaves.  Nathan's father sang and played guitar for our first dance. Our song is "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sherran. 


Will you tell us about your gown?

My gown came from Southern Bride in Yadkinville, North Carolina.  I purchased both of my prom dresses from Southern Bride, so I didn’t even think about going anywhere else.  The dress I chose is actually the very last of 4 dresses I tried on and not even one that I picked out myself.  Being a southern girl, I love lace so that is what I thought I wanted; however, the prom dress I wore my senior year of high school was just magical.  Anna, my consultant at Southern Bride, after showing her a picture of my dress went and picked out the dress that I purchased. It was an absolutely perfect mermaid style and as soon as it was all laced up, and I turned to look in the mirror with tears of joy in my eyes.  I knew it was the one for me!

Why did you choose Shores to clean and press your gown?

I met Brian at the Marry Me wedding show in Greensboro this past year. Being a first time bride I knew nothing about what to do with my dress after the wedding. Brian was so informative and easy going that I knew I was set on Shores based off their wonderful customer service, easy going employees, past customer reviews, ratings and accreditation within the wedding society.

Are you planning on cleaning and preserving your gown now that the wedding is over? Will you keep your gown or resell it?

Yes, I am having my dressed cleaned and preserved. I am planning to keep it.

Photography - Ben Hill Photography, Falls Church, Virginia
Cake - Hazel's Treats & Such, Clemmons, North Carolina
Wedding Dress - Southern Bride, Yadkinville, North Carolina
Bridesmaids Dresses - David's Bridal, Winston Salem, North Carolina
Flower Girl Dresses - Handmade by Michelle’s cousin Stephenie Thomas
Catering - Gadabouts Catering, Banner Elk, North Carolina
Flowers - Arrangements by Angela, Mocksville, North Carolina
Coordinators - Austin Wright & Cortney Morgan (friends)
Videography - Eyez N-The-Skyz, Newland, North Carolina
DJ - Carl Griewisch, Banner Elk, North Carolina

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Inspect Your Cleaned Wedding Gown

One week after Kayla got married, her mother-in-law kindly took her wedding gown to a local cleaner to have it cleaned, repaired, and preserved.  It was a big deal to her mother-in-law to have this done, and she took Kayla’s dress to the same cleaners she had used 30 years ago for her own wedding gown.

Kayla received word that her gown was ready, so she picked it up and took it home.  Because her gown needed a small repair, she decided to open the box to check out the work.  Thankfully she did because inside that box wasn’t a gown that was meticulously cleaned and preserved – no, while it was her gown, it was just as dirty as the day her mother-in-law had dropped it off.  She immediately took the gown back to the cleaners and asked that they refund her money.  The owner said it looked like it had been placed in the box completely untouched.  She said he apologized and offered to clean it, but she was too upset.  She took the dirty gown and started looking for another cleaners, but this time she ‘Googled’ ‘wedding gown cleaners’, and Shores popped up.  She immediately felt the difference when she walked through the doors of the Winston-Salem Shores location.

“I met with Brian, who explained the process Shores would use to clean the gown,” she shared.  “Then he suggested that I come back and look at the gown after it was cleaned but before it was preserved and boxed.”  “That’s something we offer all brides when they drop off their gown to be cleaned and preserved,” explained Brian Harrell, General Manager of Shores Cleaners.  “We want them to take a look at the gown to make sure they are happy with the results, and if they aren’t, we’ll address their concerns right then.”

Kayla shared her story with us because she doesn’t want other brides to go through what she went through.  Her parting words of advice are:
  1. Don’t just look at the cost involved in having your gown cleaned.  Spend the extra money and take it to someone that specializes in cleaning wedding gowns as opposed to any dry cleaner.
  2. Be sure to look in the box before they seal it.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take it back if you’re not happy with the results.