No matter how hard to try to prepare you will get caught in the rain. I promise. You won’t always have overshoes or a raincoat for protection, so for those times when your more delicate garments get wet it’s good to know how to recover.
It’s been extremely wet these past few days in Chicago and we’ve been going from blue skies to downpours in half an hour or less. For those times when you aren’t wearing the rubber-soled shoes and didn’t bring the trench, here’s how to recover from a few minutes in the rain.
The soles are at the biggest risk here. Wet leather soles are like wet cardboard. If you can swap them out for a dry pair and avoid walking around on wet soles all day, that’s really best. Either way, when you get home avoid the urge to blow dry them or stick them near the radiator. Heat like that will only crack leather and rob it of the oils it needs to recover from the damp.
After you take them off, brush off any excess moisture on the uppers and out of the welt. Then stuff them with newspaper or other porous paper and lay them on their sides. You might want to swap the paper every few hours until the insides feel really good and dry. Then stick your trees in them and leave the pair a few days. Unless you have to, a week is really best to let them fully recover.
Wool Jackets and Trouser
Anyone who’s seen Gene Kelly’s famous dance in the rain should know that shooting that scene took almost 40 suits since each would shrink to unwearable proportions after a take or two. Obviously you want to avoid this with your own clothes. Unless you have to, don’t walk around in a typical wool sport coat in the rain without an umbrella. Duck inside if you have to – if not you’re just asking for trouble.
Again don’t dry the clothes too quickly. You want them in an area that will get some air circulation, i.e. not a closet, and hung on whatever will allow them to drape and retain their shape. A jacket should be on the sturdiest hanger you have and trousers hung so their own weight will prevent shrinking. Laying them flat is another no-no. You’ll get more shrinking that way.
Yeah, of course they’re supposed to get wet, but they’re not supposed to stay wet. Whether a small travel brolly or a full stick, forget superstition and open it a large section of your home or even in a garage if you have one. Don’t shake it too hard, but gently spin it or shake it to get big drops off, and then leave sitting, canopy down for a few hours. Most canopy are made of quick-drying material, so it shouldn’t take too long. Then furl neatly and not too tightly before storing.