The Tribune - Spectrum

, June 30, 2002

Sunday Activity

Beat the barsaat blues with raincoats in bright hues

Sketch by Sandeep JoshiAS the days monsoon clouds loom large over the horizon and the sky gets overcast, there's no cause for gloom. Get into a wild'n'wacky raincoat and do a jig in the rain to beat the barsaat blues.

And if your rain gear isn't looking as fresh and colourful as when you bought it, here are some special cleaning and care tips, according to the type of material your raincoat is made of: To keep them longer for the next and next seasons, always hang them in the air, if possible, clean them well before airing. Avoid direct sunlight on them. If they get damp, mould forms on them and discolours them.

Have a nice, compact bag to keep them in, and carry it with you wherever you go, so that you are not caught unawares.


Airing must for mould-free raincoat

Many raincoats are "waterproofed" by applying a rubber coating to their reverse side when they're manufactured. However, rubberised materials generally do not respond well to dry cleaning and often need to be wet cleaned. Even then, some rainwear with rubberised materials may have colourfast problems. It is best to dry them when the sun comes out, lest they develop mould, and air them properly before putting them aside for the next shower.

Dryclean microfibres

A second "waterproofing" option, and one of the newest rages in rainwear, is microfibres. Microfibres are tightly woven into the rainwear fabric and this process can, in itself, make it water repellent. As a rule, this type of garment responds well to dry cleaning and just a little extra care is needed in the finishing procedure.

Urethane coating can peel

Rainwear is often made more stylish by treating the outer fabric with urethane coating, giving it a very smooth, leather-like appearance. Some of these coatings are attached to the fabric with adhesives that aren't resistant to dry cleaning procedures and can bubble, blister and peel. In some instances, this is due to wear around the collar, cuffs and pocket edges even before cleaning. Try hand-washing them and airing them at home.

Trim can be tricky

Most rainwear has some type of decorative trim that can pose a problem in the cleaning process. Often, the dye in trims isn't resistant to dry cleaning solvents and migrates to the surrounding lighter-colored fabrics where the trim is attached. Vinyl, also used as a decorative trim, can become stiff and brittle without the right cleaning process. That's because manufacturers use softening agents, called plasticisers, which aren't always compatible with dry cleaning.

Some do's & don'ts

Typically, most people wear their rainwear garments too long before cleaning. Therefore, soils become deeply embedded in the garment and stains set with age. To keep your rainwear looking its best-and to extend its life-clean all soils and stains immediately.

Wipe raincoats with a clean cloth and wash with water and mild soap or synthetic detergent. Do not use cleaning fluid like bleach on rain wear.

Machine wash in warm water. Do not dry clean. Drip or tumble dry. Remove spots by sponging spot with denatured alcohol. Immediately rinse in clean water.

Raincoats may lose some of their ability to shed water after a trip to the dry cleaners. Ask for a water-repellency treatment each time the coat gets cleaned.

Rain fashion

Most people hate the thought of being out in the sticky and wet rainy season. No less than Karen Carpenter sang of rainy days and Mondays getting her down. And for the stylish and the fashion-conscious, it could be a source of a major crisis as it also means saying goodbye to all those chic tubes, cool miniskirts and trendy shoes. But is that right?Of course, not!If anything, the rainy season gives fashion lovers another opportunity to change their style of dressing and make daring fashion statements, with their rain gear, of course. Here's how: Make a splash of colour: Don't add to the gloomy weather by donning pale shades.. When shopping for raincoats, put in mind that when it's raining and you have to go out, what people see is the coat, not what you are wearing inside. So, take time to choose something really cute and funky. To look really stylish, pick the ones with belts. Avoid buying mass produced raincoats, they get torn quickly. Get matching rain boots with your coats. If rainboots are too large for you, try the different designs of rubber shoes and slippers.

Tips to buy raincoats

Looking for a new raincoat? Here are some things to consider before buying and after the purchase is made. Raincoats come in many different fabrics, colors, prints and combinations. Some will have a shorter life than others. Rainwear fabrics should be color fast, retain shape, and have trim that will perform well under the care procedure that is on the care label.

If any part of the garment fails, it should be returned to the retailer.

Chetna Banerjee

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