Even the most dedicated fashion enthusiast might be surprised to know that one of the world’s favourite accessories dates back to the 1400s. In fact, the word gilet comes from the word “jerkin,” which were clothing pieces used by French peasants to add a layer of warmth to their attire. A century later, jerkins were made for the wealthy, and decked out with plush padding and in some cases jewels. Even the infamous Henry VIII was a huge fan of the humble jerkin. The interesting history of the gilet tells the fashionable consumers of the world one thing, and that is that this wonderful accessory has stood the test of time. After all, here it is on 21st-century runways, and is in as much demand now as ever.
If you are like most fashion-conscious shoppers, you are likely planning to invest in a few faux fur or genuine fur gilets this season to make sure you stand out in a crowd. However, you may be wondering how best to preserve your fur gilets and keep them looking beautiful. Below are some simple tips to make sure your gilets stay clean and attractive throughout multiple seasons:
Caring for a Faux Fur Gilet
If you have invested in one or more faux fur gilets, you may be wondering how best to ensure they stay as lovely as when you first bought them. Naturally, you should always consult the label inside your garment prior to washing it. Different materials require different levels of care, so in order to confidently know what temperature washing cycle is suitable, always refer to the manufacturer. In most cases, however, the best results come when you wash faux fur that is short, since long-haired gilets, or those that feature a shaggy texture, are prone to matting and knotting if they get wet. If you choose to wash long faux furs, forgo the washing machine in lieu of hand-washing. Virtually any faux fur item can be lightly vacuumed with a hose attachment, which can eliminate dirt particles and help reduce shredding. Use a proper brush tool afterwards to gently go over the fur.
Keep Your Genuine Fur Gilet Looking Good
A natural fur gilet should be professionally cleaned on a yearly basis, by a dry cleaner or professional furrier. Never attempt to wash an authentic fur gilet at home, or you are risking permanent damage to an item in which you have invested money.
If your genuine fur gilet develops stains, you should also have them removed by a professional. If the stain is fresh, however, it is safe to quickly dab it with a clean, soft damp cloth. But only blot the stain gently and then let the gilet air dry. Do not attempt to rub vigorously to remove the stain, as this may damage the integrity of the fur. Never use detergent or stain remover on any real fur accessory.
How to Store Your Gilet
Although faux fur can get wet without being ruined, it does need to be protected from humidity, because the latter will make it frizz. So hang your faux fur gilet in an area where it can “breathe” a little.
Your genuine fur gilets should be kept on hangers or in aerated boxes in your closet where they are free from extreme temperatures and dust and dirt. Authentic fur also needs breathing room so make sure your fur gilets are not crushed in between other articles of clothing.
A Note of Trivia
Finally, a bit of trivia. Some people get confused concerning how to pronounce the word gilet. Probably that root word “jerkin” is to blame, who knows? However, the decision typically comes down to “gill-et” or should it be “jee-lay.” The correct way to pronounce this highly versatile accessory is “jee-lay,” so wonder no more.
Because it is sleeveless, the adaptable gilet layers ideally, usually without restricting movement. So add one or more to your wardrobe and get an extra layer of warmth–and fashion. Just make sure to care for and store them properly so they’ll stay beautiful for many future years. Once you add a gilet or two to your fashion arsenal, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.