Like many New Yorkers, I am extremely lazy about my laundry, and I’ve had my fair share of dry cleaning disasters. When I moved to Williamsburg a few years ago, I dropped everything off at the local laundromat, because I heard that’s what Brooklynites did. Then, I went on vacation for the weekend. When I returned, the laundromat was closed forever, with no warning. And I was forced to bid adieu to a quarter of my wardrobe. After that disaster, I turned to on-demand app FlyCleaners, the Seamless of socks and underwear. It seemed like they wouldn’t close anytime soon, and their trucks would pick up a hefty bag of clothing from my fourth floor walk-up, summoned only by app.
For years, FlyCleaners was quite loyal. Sure, one time I received a bathrobe that certainly didn’t belong to me. And once my own bathrobe was ruined–they said they would provide reimbursement if I sent them a link to the original robe, but unfortunately, it was monogrammed, customized and unavailable online. I wondered if I should simply start wearing the rogue bathrobe they had delivered, instead. There were a few times where I was sure I lost socks, or had long, black, manly socks delivered to my door. But otherwise, it was a perfectly pleasant experience.
Until one day, I sent out my laundry and dry cleaning, in separate bags. When my clothing returned, it had all been washed–including the dry cleaning. I opened up the bag, only to find a silk Equipment work dress that was now fit for a small child, a collared Ralph Lauren piece resembling a pint-sized school uniform, a French Connection cocktail dress that was short enough to only be worn in a nightclub, a Marc Jacobs dress that would become a sad nightgown and Reformation dresses that would maybe have fit me a decade or two ago, when I was a child.
When I emailed the kind folks at FlyCleaners, they were perfectly lovely. They asked for links to the dresses, and promised to reimburse me for half of the least expensive price they found online. But first, they sent the clothing to a specialist who was going to rework all of the outfits. When the clothes returned, they were wearable with tights, if I tugged at the hems for hours. They all looked a little worse for wear, permanently wrinkled and sad, despite only being worn once or twice.
To actually obtain reimbursement, I had to send the pieces back again, for my 50 percent consolation prize. I only sent one piece back (a dress I wore once, on my birthday, to great acclaim), thinking it would be better to have worn out clothes than no clothes at all–but as the days went on and the dresses seemed to grow shorter each time I wore them, with my days at ModelFit doing nothing to improve their length, I wondered if I should’ve sent everything back to start fresh.
While FlyCleaners is fine for anything you don’t mind having destroyed, like towels, ancient sleep shirts or sweatpants you’ve been wearing from sleepaway camp, perhaps you should avoid sending your favorite dresses somewhere by app. Luckily, dealing with their customer service is far nicer than chatting with the folks at Time Warner, who tried (and failed) to ghost me. But still, there were no real explanations for how a bag of dry cleaning gets ruined. At the end of the weeks long experience of back and forth emails and early morning house calls, they asked if I was happy with the experience. And no, receiving only $100 for an enormous bag of ruined dry cleaning didn’t exactly make me smile. If, however, you somehow shrink overnight and are looking for a shorter wardrobe, definitely download FlyCleaners now. Or, there’s always Wash Club.