Sustainable fashion is on the rise, but it might feel daunting to jump onto the hype when the entirety of your wardrobe is already classed as not sustainable. Of course, some people may be willing to donate the whole of their wardrobe to make way for more sustainable picks, but for the rest of us looking to make what we have last, there are some other routes to consider.
Making your wardrobe last is not only valuable for the health of the environment, but it will also save you a lot of money in the long run, and help you to buy better quality clothing to help you look and feel beautiful! Taking care of clothes is not often emphasised by fashion brands, mainly because they want us to keep on returning to spend more money on their stock. There are some great secrets however to maintaining your clothes if you are not sure how to make them worth the investment. Follow these care tips and read on to find out more:
Make Meaningful Investments
Making impulsive buys has landed many of us in a position where we have to spend even more money just to either replace or fix a broken item. If you have ever invested in clothes purely for how they look and not their quality, you may have paid the price for not making a wise investment. This is not to say you should only buy luxury streetwear from designer brands, but finding brands that value their quality over selling lots of cheaply made pieces is key for finding the best items.
Buying quality pieces can often be the smartest decision to make, for example buying a £30 coat that will have to be replaced within a year is not as savvy as buying a £300 coat that will last 10 years. It is hard to justify spending so much money on clothing, but if it is a great quality item that you know will be ultimately worth its cost, you should start making these larger investments for the long run.
Machine Dry Less
Not only is machine drying bad for your electricity bill, but it can also be contributing to the breakdown of the fabrics your clothes are made from. Machine drying can lead to clothes shrinking and being damaged simply because the heat is too high or they are not machine-dry compatible. If you do not machine dry but opt for dry cleaning services, they are just as damaging if not more fatal for your clothing items. Hard chemicals are used for fast results with dry cleaning, so instead take your time and hand wash your delicate, expensive clothes.
Buy a Drying Rack
On the topic of hand washing, letting your clothes naturally dry is a better alternative to machine drying. This will be much gentler on your clothing and avoid any damage such as shrinking that can leave your clothing items redundant and too small. If you also have spells of dry and warm weather, a drying line outside would be a great investment. Sometimes drying your clothes can leave the residue of smells or dust that we want to avoid on clean clothes, and drying them in fresh air is the kindest thing you can do for the maintenance of your clothes.
Don’t Overload The Washer
We all have been guilty of overfilling washing machines just to get the load done as quickly as possible. No one loves washing clothes, but it also should not be a task that is rushed. Not only can overfilling the washing machine damage the machine itself but it also does not allow your clothes to be cleaned appropriately. Also, too much friction between your clothing within the wash can damage your items, meaning that you aren’t protecting your clothes as well as you could with a smaller wash. Try to leave at least half of the washing machine drum as free space to allow your clothes to get properly cleaned.
Steam, Not Iron
If you are someone who loves to make sure your clothes are always properly ironed and freshly pressed, you might be doing more damage than good. A lot of people do not have their irons set to the appropriate temperature, which leads to overheating and damage to the clothing item. Wherever possible, you should try to steam your clothing. Steamers are a much safer alternative to ironing, and they can also save you a lot of time. Some people even recommend leaving your clothes hanging whilst you have a steamy shower, but maybe trail this before you invest in your steamer!
Store Somewhere Cool
Where you store your clothes might be the reason why they are not lasting for the long haul. If you store your clothing items in a dark place that is susceptible to mould and dampness, you should expect to have some problems. Keeping your clothes too cramped together when stores can also damage them, and instead allowing them some breathing space to also get some breathable air would be a smarter option for storage.
Learn How To Mend
Think back to all the clothing items that may have been slightly damaged with a broken strap, or an open thread that has been thrown away. You probably have tons of items that you refrain from wearing due to minor damage that makes them seem unwearable. If you simply invest your time into learning some basic mending skills, you will find that not only do your clothes last longer, but you save money on sending them to a tailor or rebuying the items.
Get Some Great Hangers
It is easy to simply take the plastic hangers that you can grab for free at the stores when buying your clothes, but investing in some hangers that are gentler for your clothes might just be the difference between repairing and durability. Wire and plastic hangers are not effective and won’t support your clothes effectively. They can even stretch out your clothes if they are not made for the specific item. Consider buying some wooden or soft-covered hangers that will be gentler against your clothes.
Stuff Your Shoes
If you are looking to help your bags and shoes last as long as possible, you should start stuffing them to help maintain their shape. Cramming some old socks or tissue into your shoes to help keep them looking brand new is just a simple yet effective way to make sure they are staying great quality for as long as possible. How many times have you left a bag or pair of shoes at the bottom of your cupboard to find it has been bent out of shape? They aren’t pretty to wear, and therefore you get rid of them. Avoid the stress of buying a new pair of shoes, and keep them pile-free and stuffed with paper to help them stay sturdy.