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My hang up with wire hangers

June 25, 2011

I do not have a “Mommie Dearest” hang up.

My aversion to wire hangers is not from the Joan Crawford film, but from the fact that clothes – shirts especially – can lose their shape hanging on those unforgiving wires. Years ago I gradually transferred all my clothes onto wooden hangers. (It seemed every trip to IKEA I bought a few. $4.49 for 8!) Yes wooden hangers are more expensive than the plastic ones from the 99-cent store or the “free” wire hangers you get after shelling out big bucks for dry cleaning, but trust me, clothes that are hung on better hangers will hang better on you.

Today I organized the seven closets (yes, seven!) of a client, an always impeccably dressed architect on the Upper East Side. We spent over two hours going through all of her clothes. The first order of business was weeding out what she could pitch. And she aced it. “Buh-bye,” she sang as she tossed a dozen cashmere sweaters, several tops, blazers, and a few pairs of slacks into a growing pile. Then I switched her summer and winter clothes between closets, and re-categorized within each. Blazers and shirts, pants and skirts, all hung together by color or length.

Having lots of space, especially closet space, is a luxury in New York City, but even the very well dressed are not experts when it comes to hanging up their clothes. After ridding her closet of three dozen wire hangers, I replaced her expensive tailored garments onto well shaped wooden or suit hangers. Then I made her repeat after me, “I will not hang Armani on wire hangers.”

When I was finished I left her with a warning that when I returned in the fall to switch her winter and summer clothes back, if there were any Prada or Valentino on wire hangers, I just might have to pull a Joan Crawford.

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