From Santa Hollywood

Insight into Christmas, the Holidays and the World of Santa Claus

Being Prepared – Santa’s Magic Suit – Part V

posted by SantaTim On October - 24 - 2010 120 COMMENTS

Care and Maintainence of Santa’s Suit, Undergarments, Dry Cleaning

Your Santa suit will get little use for about 10 months of the year.  And then it can get over worked.  If you are working in a mall or have events scheduled every day, you may need two or more suits. 

Wearing the same suit every day is not good.  And if you perspire a lot, you should even consider switching coats during the day and letting one air out while you wear the other.  When airing out a jacket, turn the coat inside out and hang on a large wide hanger.  Then spray it with Fabreeze or one of the other fabric fresheners.

By turning the inside of the coat out, the damp areas get more air and dry faster.

You should also use a good antiperspirant and a shirt or garment that will absorbe the perspirations.  The less perspiration the coat absorbs, the less often you have to get it cleaned.

Never just, drop your suit or pants on the ground.  The fur is like a magnet and picks up dust and dirt.  After a while, the fur is no longer beautiful and white.   

If you are a party or special event Santa, you should schedule times when your suit can be cleaned and cared for.

Santa Suits are generally heavy and require good strong hangers.  Don’t depend on wire hangers.  You do not want to find your suit on the floor!  I recommend you search around and find good cedar hangers.  Cedar hangers will help absorb the moisture and odors 

The larger the hanger the better.  Your suit is heavy and Large wood hangers fill out the shoulders and allow air to move in and out of the fabric. 

I suggest that you find separate hangers for your pants.  Let them air out too.

My good friend Santa Gordon Bailey works with a costume company.  He knows about the care of a Santa Suit.  He suggests that you have a back up suit for emergencies.  When you get a new suit, don’t toss out the old one.  Keep it as your back up.  He says, “An old suit that fits you is far better than no suit, or a rush job from a rental company.”

Under garments

You rarely here any discussion among Santas about their undergarments.   I always suggest that under your Santa Suit you should have a decent shirt.  In this way, when you take off your Santa Coat, you are still in character.

But when you have no worries about what you have on underneath, there are some things that you should consider.  If you are wearing your suit for 8, 10 or 12 hours  a day, you should wear two types of shirts underneath. 

The first shouls be a lightweight moisture wicking shirt.  The second should be a cotton shirt or something that will absorbe the moisture. 

Most of the sporting good stores, Target and other carry the new moisture wicking shirts.  I even have a line of “North Polar Wear”  undershirts at SantasWardrobe.com.  

A moisture wicking shirt will pull the moisture  away from your body to the outer shirt which absorbs the perspiration.  Using this combination, you will feel more comfortable and the moisture will not collect in the lining of the coat.

Finding the right Dry Cleaner.

Some Santas can wear the same Santa suit, every day, for the entire season without any cleaning.  I do not advise this.  I know cleaning is a bit expensive, but children and clients can tell.

We all know that Santa Suits are Different.  And accordingly, they need different care when cleaning.  Even when they are being cleaned by a professional Dry Cleaner. 

I suggest that you check around and find a qualified Dry Cleaner.  Be certain that you find a dry cleaner that has the right equipment and chemicals to clean the suit and especially the fur.  You do not want to ruin the fur.

Whether you have a suit from the photo company, a rented suit or one that you have purchased, you don’t want to end up buying a new suit because you chose the wrong dry cleaner. The best way is to check with your local Costume shops. They have many special requirements for all of their costumes.  Therefore, they will probably have a qualified Dry Cleaner they can recommend.

Santa Gordon Bailey also recommends you have your suit cleaned, scotch-guarded and double bagged at the end of the season.  And before your season begins, have it cleaned and scotch-guarded again.

The Dressing Area

Now you have the suit or suits, boots, belt, gloves, etc.  Where do you keep them.  What about your accessories, make-up and everything you need to take care of your Image?

My suggestion is that you set us a Dressing Area.  Or for those of you with a Military background, a Staging area.

All of you wardrobe, boots, belt, gloves and accessories should be in the same area, all the time.  You should never have to run all over the room or your house trying to find everything. 

Your make-up and hair products, curling iron, hair dryer, hair spray and moustache glue should also, all be in one area.  And, preferably have your own make-up.  Don’t go messing with your wife’s.

By having everything together, you preparation time will be minimal and it will also reduce stress. 

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Order of Dress

One would think that as adults we would know the correct order for dressing.  But sometimes we are tired or maybe we are in a rush. 

Many years ago, when I started as a Santa, I received a list; I think it came from Western Temporaries.  In the seventies, they were one of the largest suppliers of Santas in America.  The list was taped on my dressing room mirror, at Bullock’s Department Store, and listed the order in which I should dress:

 Make – up, White for Eyebrows and Rouge for Cheeks

  • Socks
  • Padding
  • Trousers
  • Boots
  • Coat
  • Belt
  • Beard and Wig
  • Hat
  • Gloves

 

The final instructions were to double-check yourself in the mirror and, if possible, have someone else check you before you go on stage.

What does your checklist look like?

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