How to Extend The Life
Of Your Clothing
Whether you simply love the clothes you own, are trying hard to be more sustainable or your current shopping habits are aimed more towards others with the festive season so close, looking after your clothing is always a good idea.
In fact because I own so much knitwear, some of the most asked questions over on my YouTube are all about how to look after clothing. From knitwear to denim and from winter jackets to boots - there's always a way to breathe life back into your pieces.
I must admit that I'm no expert when it comes to extending the life of my clothing, but over the years (both pre and post blogging life!) I've picked up a few tips that never seem to steer me wrong and leave my wardrobe favourites feeling as new as they day I bought them.
From the most simple tips, to some you may not have even thought of, there's always a way you can ensure your most worn and most loved pieces can be a part of your wardrobe for as long as possible.
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Read The Labels
Starting with simplest tip of them all - read all the wash labels in your pieces carefully. In the past I've been the queen of trying to take shortcuts when it comes to looking after my clothes but I'm also the queen of regret when it comes to shortcuts. I cannot tell you how many times I've convinced myself that something that says it shouldn't be in the dryer, will be fine on a cool cycle - I'm here to tell you don't risk it! I've had to pass so many beautiful knits onto my niece when I've shrank them and also shed a tear or two. Not only that but adhering closely to the wash labels, that are created based on the material used, will mean your clothes not only have a longer life but they'll look newer for longer too.
Spot Clean Instead
As I've grown older, especially when it comes to outerwear and blazers, I've realised that pieces don't need to go through a full wash or dry clean after every wear. Not only is it better for the environment to avoid washing your clothing so often, but spot cleaning is more than sufficient unless you're perhaps the messier eater on the planet. There are so many products you can buy now such as Tide Pens (I always stock up whenever I'm in the US) that not only can you carry with you on the go incase of any coffee cup related accidents, but that work amazingly well. Washing your clothing less will always bode well for the look of your favourites, so if you can comfortably avoid a dry cleaning appointment you'll extend the life of your clothes and save money in the process too.
Change Your Storage
No matter what the size of your wardrobe, whether it's walk in or a single door, there's ways in which you can store your clothes that will extend the life of them. For example if you own any knitwear the best way in which to store it is to fold it. Whether that's on a shelf, at the bottom of your closet or even under your bed, folding knitwear loosely will preserve the tightness of the knit instead of stretching the weave by hanging. Delicate pieces such as silk or satin should always be hung and in dry cool places as any oils on the fabrics will stain and be exacerbated with heat, making them very hard to remove. Pieces that come in gorgeous travel bags/suit bags for extra protection can of course be stored in those bags, but they must be breathable fabric bags, otherwise they'll become musty and possibly faded dependent on the item itself.
Choose Quality Clothing
Don't mistake choosing quality clothing for having to spend a lot of money. We all know that there can be an assumption of a higher price tag equalling a higher quality piece, but it's simply not always the case. Buying long lasting denim is a great example of this! Of course we'll always opt for the denim that fits us like a dream as a priority, but be wary of the jeans that have too much elastane in them. Elastane is the perfect addition for a figure hugging fit but the higher the elastane content in your new denim, the more likely they are too lose their shape after multiple washes. Quality clothing, denim included, will feel weighty, have perfectly regimented stitching and even a smooth zipper and quality buttons. A little time taken in choosing your clothing will pay off in the long run.
Take Care Washing
When it comes to washing your clothes, after adhering to the recommended washing guidelines and not taking any tempting shortcuts, there are also some little tips and tricks I've gotten into the habit of using. When it comes to denim, I always wash inside out to reduce the colour fade and to avoid things like zippers and buttons catching on other clothing. When it comes to knitwear that's suitable for the washing machine I always ensure it's washed in a delicates bag to avoid things like roll necks and sleeves being stretched as they're spun. When it comes to lace pieces such as bras or even camisoles, I again use a delicates bag and completely avoid the dryer, opting to dry them lying flat so that any fibres aren't stretched. And when it comes to all my clothing, I use a cooler wash and a gentle detergent because the combination of the two will extend the colour of clothing in the long term.
Feel free to share your own tips below - it would be amazing to compile some new ones that we haven't yet tried and that might extend the life of our clothes even further!
These images were captured as part of a recent project with Jimmy Choo but are not part of my work. I just wanted to share them as a blog post as they're simply so autumnal :)