After my last fashion post about investing in wardrobe staples for a more sustainable wardrobe, I got thinking about what else it takes to move towards a long-lasting wardrobe. There’s something else we need to be ensuring we are doing as well as just investing in better quality, and avoiding fast, throwaway fashion… Looking after your clothes! Properly! So here we are, 10 ways to make your clothes last longer.
1. Invest in better quality clothing.
Like I discussed in my last fashion post, invest in good quality clothing, The general consensus to remember while shopping is that you get what you pay for. This can be taken to the extreme, and I honestly don’t think a lot of designer items are worth the extortionate price tag. But from working in a buying team myself, I know full well that most of the more premium high street retailers are offering lovely quality at a reasonable price.
2. Stop washing your clothes.
I don’t mean completely, you don’t need to smell in the name of sustainable fashion, but just stop doing it so much. Did you know that every time we wash our clothes microfibers are released into the water systems, and eventually the ocean, polluting the environment with plastic microfibres with every wash? Unless it smells bad or there’s a bad set-in stain, it really doesn’t need a trip through the washing machine.
3. Follow the wash care instructions.
When they do need to go through the wash, wash them properly. So many people I know just bung everything in the machine and hope for the best. It might come out looking ok, but it’s not what’s best for the longevity of the garment quality. Trust me, as someone that works in the industry, wash care instructions are there for a reason. I know that a lot of cheap fast-fashion brands don’t pay much attention, but quality brands will give you proper instructions that you should be following to keep your garments looking and feeling top notch.
4. Get a good stain remover.
Sometimes detergent isn’t enough to budge that tomato sauce stain on your new crisp white shirt, so always having a decent stain remover in hand is a must. Particularly if you’re a clumsy eater like myself…
5. Stop Tumble drying.
Like with the washing machine, it’s just an unnecessary workout that you are putting your clothes through. It will wear out the quality of your clothes much quicker than if you let them air dry. Personally I think the dryer should only be used on towels and bedding, and only in winter at that. And emergencies obviously, as a luxury.
6. Hang clothes to dry properly.
Following on from that last point. The main one to remember is to dry knitwear flat! Particularly fine knits. Stretch them back into shape when damp and then leave them flat to dry. We all know knits can shrink the easiest, so a quick stretch back to the original shape when they are warm and damp will do just the trick to maintain that original shape. Also, aside from knitwear, make sure you give your clothes enough space to dry on the clothes airer, there’s nothing worse than a damp smelling pair of jeans that have been crammed onto an airier after a full washing machine load.
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7. Keep the spare buttons.
Try keeping a little tub with all your spare buttons in. Usually whenever you buy a button up shirt or a new coat, there will be a spare button sewn onto the care label just in case. 9 times out of 10 you will never use them, but that one time you catch the button of your favourite coat in the car door, you will be so thankful that you have a spare to sew back in and give that coat another life.
8. Learn to Sew.
The ability to be able to fix things, whether it’s darning a hole in the armpit of your favourite merino wool jumper, or tacking a belt loop back onto your holy grail pair of jeans, it’ something we should all be doing.
9. Proper Storage.
Hang your coats with plenty of space, Don’t ever hang your knitwear, particularly heavy knits, as it will just ruin the shape of the top of the jumper. And give your t-shirts plenty of room to breath in that draw of theirs, rather than ramming them all in all crushed up together just so the drawer will close.
10. Save your Best for best (a.k.a. not for cooking!)
I’m not a fan of saying we should save things for best. Because what is ‘best’? We should be trying to feel our best everyday. But, there are some items of clothing that just shouldn’t be worn at certain times, E.g. don’t wear your new socks whilst bleaching the shower (guilty) or your favourite cosy neutral knit for slaving over the hob with oil spitting up at you (also guilty).
There you have it, 10 ways to make your clothes last longer… If you have any more tips please let me know below!