How to Make Your Favorite Clothing Items Last Longer So You Can Wear Them More Often
Cesar Cruz, Co-Founder of Sebastian Cruz Couture said it best: “fashion should be innovative, bold, timeless and have the ability to make you look and feel your best.” We all know the feeling of securing a classic and timeless piece that we intend to become a staple in our wardrobe for years to come. However, you also probably know the feeling of seeing the first signs of wear and tear on your favorite article of clothing. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure that your holy grail pieces are with you for years to come. Here we will discuss some expert tips and tricks for prolonging the lifespan of all of your favorite items.
Buy High-Quality Items
“Buy Less. Choose well. Make it last.” is Fashion Designer Vivienne Westwood’s philosophy when it comes to purchasing clothing. Meaning, the first step that you can take to make your clothing last longer starts at the store. Fast fashion has been taking over the fashion industry the past few years. These items are typically made with low quality materials and are mass manufactured to keep the prices down. Fred Gerantabee, Chief Experience Officer of Readers.com believes that “You should not waste your hard-earned money by purchasing items that will need to be replaced throughout the year. Focus on high-quality products that can stand the test of time.”
While there are some steps that you can take to prolong the life of low-end items that you already have on hand, these items will have a naturally shorter lifespan. “Splurging on high-quality staple pieces will help cut down on wear and tear over time and will have a positive effect on the environment by helping less fabric end up in landfills” says Gigi Ji, Head of Brand and Business Development at Kokolu.
Store in a Dry and Cool Place
If you are currently storing any clothing in or near your bathroom, this could be contributing to wear and tear. “Bacteria thrives in warm and moist environments and your clothing and accessories can be susceptible to that. It is important to store your pieces responsibly to extend their life” says Eric Elggren, Co-Founder of Andar. Additionally, if you have any windows in your closet, you should consider using a curtain to help keep direct sunlight away from your garments. Clothing that is exposed to the sun will show increased levels of fading and color alteration over time, so it’s best to avoid this.
Fold Heavier Items
According to Sumeer Kaur, CEO at Lashkaraa “any pieces that have weight to them will stretch out and lose their shape when hung up.” Think heavy knit pieces, things with beading or embellishments, or even long dresses or tops. Gravity will take its toll on these pieces over time, so it is best to fold rather than hang them.
Buy Good Quality Hangers
Even clothing items that are not heavy can be affected by the wrong type of hanger. First, you will want to ensure that you can fit your clothing items around your hangers without having to dramatically stretch the fabric. You may not realize that hangers do come in different sizes. Try to avoid plastic and wire hangers in favor of a sturdier option like a wooden hanger. This will be an expense up front but will help reduce the need to replace clothing items over time.
Ditch Your Iron
“I like to wear things that don’t need ironing. It seems a fundamental design flaw when clothing needs ironing. There are loads of fabrics these days that don’t need ironing, so I stick to those” – Konnie Huq, Radio and Television Presenter.
It is all too easy to ruin your favorite pieces while using an iron. Most people run them on way too hot of a setting and lack an understanding of which fabrics can be safely ironed. Overheated irons can contribute to major shrinkage which can instantly make the item unwearable. The best option is to hang dry your clothing straight out of the washer to avoid wrinkles. However, for the times when wrinkles can’t be avoided, try a steamer instead. Steamers are far gentler on your clothes and are safe for a wider range of fabrics. Not to mention the space you will save from ditching your annoying ironing board.
Now, let’s get into the proper laundry procedure. Most crimes against fabrics are committed in the laundry room. Not taking the time to ensure that we are washing our clothes properly is the biggest reason our clothes don’t last as long as we would like them to. Here’s a list of steps that you can take to increase the longevity of your garments during laundry time.
- Tend to Stains Immediately: The longer a stain sits, the more likely it is to stay on the fabric for life. If you are particularly accident prone, try carrying a portable stain remover in your bag or in your car so you can tend to any mishaps instantly. This will give your items a better chance at being restored to their former glory.
- Read the Labels: “Make time to read the fabric care label on any new items before their first wash. These are there for a reason, as the manufacturer knows what the garment can and can’t handle based on the type of fabric.” says Will Watters, Co-Founder/Creative Director of Western Rise.
- Don’t Overcrowd the Washer: Not only will overstuffing your washer make it more difficult for your clothes to get clean, but it can also damage them. If there isn’t enough space for your laundry to spread out, your clothes will rub together throughout the wash cycle and that friction is what will cause the damage.
- Don’t Overuse Detergent: It can be easy to assume that a bit of extra detergent will get your clothes even cleaner, but this is actually quite the opposite. Excess detergent can settle into the fabric and create a dull and stiff finish on your items.
- Use Fabric Softener: Did you know fabric softeners can help your clothing last longer? They work as a lubricant to help the fibers slide against each other more gently which helps reduce wear and tear by increasing the resistance of the fabric. But similar to detergent, you don’t want to overdo it with these. Follow the instructions on the label for best use.
- Always Sort Laundry: We are all guilty of skipping this step. And we are not just talking about sorting by color either. You need to sort your laundry by the type of fabric as well. Remember those labels that we told you to read earlier? Items with similar label instructions should be washed together in addition to being sorted by color. “Delicate lacy pieces should never be washed next to rough items with zippers or buttons. This makes it highly likely that the fabric could snag or tea,” says Georgie Dorfman, CEO of All My Love.
- Wash on Low Heat: Hot water can wreak havoc on your clothes. It can cause your garments to shrink or stretch and can even permanently set stains. Save the heat settings for your bedding and wash your clothing at a lower temperature to help preserve it.
Drying Your Clothes
Similar to the heat settings on your washer, drying your clothes on a high heat setting can have the same effect that washing them would. The best way to handle your clothes post-wash is to hang dry them on the high-quality hangers that we discussed earlier. If you must use a dryer for your laundry, then make sure you are selecting the correct dryer cycle to avoid damage.
Keeping Your Favorite Items Long-Term
“Choosing the right outfit each day is a sacred ritual for fashionistas of all ages. When you don your favorite clothing items, you have the power and confidence to take on just about anything” says Lori Price, Founder of PixieLane. Fashion is a powerful thing, and when you find a piece that makes you feel like a rockstar, you want to ensure that it can stand the test of time. Make sure to employ these tips and tricks to keep all your favorite pieces around for as long as possible.