How to make your clothing last - and stay in great shape
There is nothing more annoying than a garment losing colour and shape after only a couple of wears. Not only does it ruin the look of your whole outfit, but if your clothes are continually falling apart, it will also start to burn quite a large hole in your wallet.
But while sometimes the demise of our clothing is beyond our control, fortunately, there are many ways we can work to lengthen the lifespan of our garments. Here are 10 simple tricks to keep your clothes looking great for longer...
1. Buy quality
The first step toward having clothing that will last and stay in good shape is to buy quality. There is no point in babying and rigorously caring for an item that was made in one minute for 50 cents - it’s likely that no amount of love and care can prevent the inevitable deconstruction of a poor quality garment. For long lasting garments, invest in high quality pieces and care for them well. Click here to find out how to distinguish high quality from poor quality garments.
2. Store properly
Store all clothing in a cool and dry environment to prevent mould and bacteria growth. Try to give your clothing a little space to breathe rather than packing your wardrobe full to the brim - this will reduce wrinkling and colour fading from clothes rubbing against each other.
3. Buy better hangers
It is important to invest in quality wooden hangers as cheap plastic and wire hangers can stretch out the shoulders of your garments. Wooden hangers also last longer than flimsy wire or plastic versions.
4. To hang or not to hang?
Carefully consider which clothes you hang and which ones you fold. Hanging heavy knitted garments will cause them to stretch out and lose their shape. Instead, they should be stored folded in a drawer or on a shelf.
5. Read care labels
Care labels are sewn into garments for a reason, so before you have a laundering disaster, make sure to check and follow the garment care instructions from the manufacturer.
6. Wash less
Most of us are washing our clothes too much. The laundering process is very hard on garments and can therefore affect the shape and colour retention of our clothes. Not every garment needs washing after a single use, and while we are not telling you to go out in smelly or stained garments, unless something is visibly dirty or has an odour to it, it can probably be worn again without washing.
7. Use a 'delicates' bag
A 'delicates' bag is essentially a small mesh bag in which you place undergarments such as underwear and bras to protect them from stretching, tearing or becoming misshapen during the process of laundering. Using a garment bag will not only lengthen the lifespan of your undergarments but it will also reduce the likelihood of damage to other clothes from things such as bra clasps which can catch on or pull knitted fabrics.
8. Avoid the dryer
The heat of the dryer can cause clothing to shrink, fade and sometimes fall apart all together. Instead, hang your clothing out on the washing line or invest in an indoor drying rack. This will not only protect your clothes but will also reduce your electricity bill!
9. Iron delicately
Try to avoid ironing garments where possible. Ensure you give them a big shake before hanging them to dry to reduce wrinkles. For light garments with a few unsightly wrinkles, try hanging them in the bathroom while you have a shower - the steam may help wrinkles to fall out of the fabric. If ironing is unavoidable, find out the required setting for the garment and set the appliance to one or two below recommended to reduce heat damage.
10. Learn basic repairs
A lost button or a loose stitch here or there doesn’t have to spell the end of a garment. Learning how to complete some basic repairs can have your garment looking in tip top shape once again. And you know what they say - ‘a stitch in time saves nine’, so try to fix issues as soon as they arise rather than leaving them to get worse before you take action as this may leave your garment beyond repair.