September 11, 2015

Ask Ashley: Linens and Luggage


Time for another installment of Ask Ashley- Registry edition!  This week we are talking everything linens and luggage- two often neglected areas on a couples registry.  This is the time to make a list of absolutely anything you have ever wanted.  Don’t skimp on the textiles.  


HOLY SHEET
Everyone thinks that high thread count is all thats important when buying sheets, when it’s really the thread that matters most.  A better quality fiber will be more durable and long-lasting, even when used in a lower thread count sheet.  Definitely look for thread count, but there are a few other things to keep in mind, when looking for the perfect bedding.  I recommend registering for a few sets of sheets,  a couple for your bed, but also some for the guest room.  

Get Your Fiber:
A cotton-polyester blend is a nice because in addition to be up to half the price of cotton, polyester is wrinkle-resistant and the combo of the two is very durable.  For that super cool, super soft bedding, you are going to want to go with 100% cotton.  Cotton fibers naturally wick moisture, so you will almost never weak up clammy.  Cotton is also more stain resistant.  For the softest cotton sheets, you are looking for long-staple or long-fiber cotton.  Short stable cotton is more likely to pill and lint.  Look for words like Egyptian, pima and supima- all of these are high quality, long fiber cottons.

Girl Look at that Weave:
Weave is very important as it determines the feel, lifespan and price of the sheet.  Percale weaves are an upscale version of a plain weave.  This kind of sheet will feel crisp and will have a long lifespan.  Sateen weaves are extremely soft but they are more likely to pill or tear because of the higher ratio of vertical threads in the weave.  There are more intricate weaves like damask, which will feel textured and show a pattern, these are typically very durable, but because they are made on special looms you can expect a higher price tag.  

Finish Strong
Did you know that most sheets are treated with chemicals to stop shrinking, shape-loss and wrinkling?  These chemicals include things like chlorine, formaldehyde, silicone and alkalis.  It is possible to find pure-finish sheets though.  This means, either no chemicals were used during the finishing process or all traces of chemicals have been removed.  If you suffer from allergies or chemical sensitivities, pure -finish sheets are worth it.  They will wrinkle more easily, but its probably worth it.  Organic sheets are finish-free and the cotton used is grown without pesticides. 

Dye Job
After sheets are woven, patterns and dyes are applied.  Sometimes this will make them a little stiff until they have been washed a few times.  To avoid this, look for colored or patterned sheets that are made with yarn-dyed fabrics.  This means the yards were dyed before the weaving process.  Jacquard weaves are a great example of this.  They are super soft, but also more pricey.  


TOWEL TIME
Your mother has been telling you for years not to judge a book by it’s cover- also don’t judge a towel by it’s softness.  When walking down the store aisles, you can easily be deceived by towel softness.  Manufacturers add softness to the finish, but after a few washes it may end up rough and far less lush than you anticipated.  For snuggle worthy towels, keep the rolling factors in mind:

Fiber:
Look for 100% combed cotton.  Cotton can hold 25 times it weight in water.  Combed cotton has had all the short threads removed, resulting in less likelihood of pilling.  

Loop:
You want a thick, tightly packed loop.  The denser the thread loop, the more it will absorb.  If you can see the base of the towel, keep walking!

Weight:
Pick those babies up!  A high quality towel will feel heavier than it looks.  This proves it has more volume and it’s gonna suck up moisture. 

Durability:
For the most durable towels, look for double-turned edges with double stitching.  The extra reinforcement stops fraying and will help your towels last.  

Register for at least 3 sets of towels,  so you can have one set in the bathroom, one set in the linen closet and one set in the wash.  Don’t for get the hand towels, washcloths and bathmat to match. 


LUGGING THAT LUGGAGE
Some people don’t think they need to register for luggage, and maybe you don’t, but I think it is nice when you are combining your life with someone else, to take that first trip (and every trip after) with matching luggage.  Here are some things to consider when purchasing or registering for luggage.  

Suitcase:
Personally, I love a hard shell, rolling suitcase.  Why?  Because it’s durable, stain resistant and you aren’t gonna have damp clothes if it’s on a rainy runway or strapped to the roof of the car in a storm.  Plus I’m never worried about things getting broken or crushed.  You can find some great lightweight options.  Soft luggage is great too, especially for anything you are placing in an overhead bin, as it’s easier to squeeze them into small spaces. Also make sure it has been treated with Duraguard for water proofing

Remember bigger isn’t always better.  For me, bigger means more space to fill and unfortunately the airlines and I don’t agree on luggage weight limits.  I recommend registering for 2, but you can probably get away with splitting one on most trips.

Carry-on Bag:
You’ll want to register for two.  I say this knowing that I can fill two carry-ons by myself, but also because there may be times you both are traveling in different directions and you want to skip the luggage fee and waiting at the carousel.  Choose a piece that is 45-50 linear inches because they will fit in most airlines overhead bins.  Any larger and you might have to gate check more often.  

Rolling Duffel Bag:
These are great for packing in your suitcase and filling with souvenirs.  Definitely go with a duffle that has wheels and a retractable handle to save your back.  

Garment Bag:
For traveling to formal occasions, this is a lifesaver, keeping your formal wear less wrinkly and it can be used as a carry on.  

I hope these tips have helped you add some quality linens and luggage to your registry!  Do you have a question for me?  Leave a comment!

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