If you’re like me, every item of clothing in your wardrobe is important to you. For me, it’s not just about looking great or wearing my favourite stylists, it’s about the memories that come with everything that I buy. For instance, when I look at my range of designer bags, I think about all of the shopping trips I’ve enjoyed in big cities, and when I look at other items of clothing I think of a memorable day out with my friends. Because my clothes hold so many treasured memories, I want them to last as long as possible. And sure, making sure you buy quality clothing to begin with is a good place to start, if you look after your clothing it can last for many years and look as good as the day you bought it. Here are my favourite tips when it comes to keeping your wardrobe contents in top condition.
Read the fabric care label
One thing I find a lot of people overlook is the fabric care label. Every single garment comes with one, and they specify instructions on how to care for it. It will include information on how to wash, dry and iron the fabric. It will also outline the temperatures and whether it’s safe to put in a tumble dryer. I’ve found that following these guidelines, even if that means washing it in a very particular load, helps make the garment last longer and most importantly, look as good as the day I bought it.
I also find that separating items of clothing and sorting them into colours and the type of fabric also helps to prevent damage or colour running. I also use different types of detergents for different fabrics because the more delicate garments of clothing need a detergent that’s gentle. It might sound like a lot, but it’s really helped lengthen how long my clothes last. I also only wash them when I absolutely must.
Understand the best methods of storage
Knowing the best ways of storing each item of clothing can also increase the longevity of your clothes. For example, heavy sweaters aren’t meant to be hung in your wardrobe because they can end up stretching. Instead, they should be properly folded. However, other garments like suits and dresses are better hung up to keep their shape and prevent creasing. Some people don’t realise this and will hang their knitwear, causing lumps at the shoulders. As soon as I started seeing this happening to mine, I stopped immediately. Once I started storing things properly, I noticed how much better my clothes looked.
I also learned that overcrowding your clothes can actually cause wear and tear, even when you’re not necessarily wearing them! For very valued items of clothing, you can actually use a self storage unit so that it can help preserve those items. These are often temperature controlled too. Simple things like rotating between seasonal clothes can make a difference, so I make sure my most treasured pieces are stored away safely from the everyday movement in my wardrobe.
How to deal with wear and tear
Even if you’re as careful as I am when it comes to looking after your clothes, wear and tear will happen. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of days for your favourite blouse or the jeans that compliment your figure. I took the time to learn some basic sewing skills so that I could fix small tears or reattach buttons that have fallen off. It took some practice, but now I can repair items of clothing without it being obviously repaired by an untrained seamstress.
But, I do make sure that I take the clothing with significant damage like a broken zipper or a ripped seam to a tailor. While I could have a go at repairing the damage myself, the quality of the clothing would diminish, and I love my clothes to look as good as the day I bought them. So, if there’s significant damage to your clothing, consider getting it professionally repaired.
If the garment is beyond saving, that doesn’t mean it’s goodbye. You could always keep the fabric for personal projects, or you could even upcycle it into a cushion cover or part of a large duvet you’re sewing.
Manage your laundry loads
While it might be tempting to deal with large loads of laundry to get the pile down a little, putting your clothes into larger loads can actually cause some damage. Not only do a mix of fabrics create friction during the wash, but colours are more likely to run, leaving your clothes a different shade and not looking their best. I find that doing smaller loads of washing helps preserve my clothing.
I also make sure I hand wash certain items to help preserve their shape, texture and colour. Using lukewarm water and a detergent that isn’t so harsh can also help with this. Remember that even when you’re hand washing garments of clothing, it’s important to be gentle with the fabric, so try and avoid wringing or twisting them as this can cause them to become misshapen.
How to deal with stains
No matter how careful you are, stains can happen, but that doesn’t mean your clothes are going to be ruined forever. I find that if I treat the stain straight away, I have a better chance of removing it altogether. Also, contrary to popular belief, rubbing the stain isn’t as effective as blotting because it can actually rub the stain further into the fabric.
Also, making sure you’re using the right stain remover will make a difference. Research different stain removers for different fabrics and grab a bottle of each just in case the need arises. I’ve thanked myself many times for having some in the cupboard!
Finally, if I can’t get the stain out through using the right remover and treating it early, I find that taking the item to be professionally cleaned is the best way to restore the garment properly.
As you can see, it takes some effort to properly look after my wardrobe, but it’s worth the effort to have my clothes looking and feeling as good as the day I got them.