Often, we’re a lot harder on our clothes than we could be, and we throw things away that could still be easily worn. Here are a few tips to keep your clothing looking new!
1. Wash your clothes often, but not too often. You want to find a balance here. Some things (underwear, socks) you need to wash after every wear. Others it can be a bit more. I can’t tell you how often because it really depends on how much you sweat, how many layers you’re wearing, etc. Obviously if it smells a bit or you spilled something on it, it gets washed. You don’t want to over-wash you clothes, because even a gentle cycle can slowly wear at them, but you also don’t want to leave it too long, because the oils in your skin can also degrade fabric (especially natural fibres such as silk, wool and cotton). You have to strike a balance here.
2. Don’t pull at your clothes too much when you’re taking them on and off It can stretch at the fabric.
3. Invest in a fabric shaver. Make sure you get a fairly good one. The cheapy ones don’t have much use as they don’t actually shave the fabric. If you don’t know what this is, it’s pictured with the cardigan in the photo accompanying this entry. It shaves off the pills on your clothing. I don’t use mine only for knit wear; I also use it for my wool coat, which gets a bit pilly, and also for my Lululemon yoga pants, which I love but they do tend to pill after a while. My lint shaver keeps these things looking brand new.
4. For pieces you love, consider repairing them Some things are beyond repair, and some things really aren’t worth it (There’s no point in patching up a $20 pair of H&M shoes). I do find though that for my nicer pieces a lot of repairs are helpful. I’m lucky in that I can sew up seams and hems that have come undone myself, but I also do get my good shoes repaired (rather than replacing them). I also think that re-dyeing clothing can fall under this category. Blacks are the simplest to do. Once again, it probably isn’t worth re-dyeing a $10 t-shirt, but if you have a cashmere sweater or a favourite piece that’s a bit faded, it could be worth it.
5. Consider wearing protective garments. By this, I mean that you should wear an apron when you cook (especially when using sauces and oils. I’ve learned this the hard way), and that things like undershirts are your friends. I often wear another layer underneath when I wear wool and cashmere, not just because it’s often very cold when I wear these things, but also because these fabrics are a pain to wash and if I wear something underneath I don’t have to wash them as often. This also leads back to #1.
6. Appropriate clothing for the activity in question is key. This might seem obvious but it’s another one I’ve learned the hard way. Stuff like cleaning might not seem that hard on clothing, but it does wear at it, so when I clean I wear older, cheaper clothing. Also, if I have to walk a lot, I’ll carry my heels so that I don’t wear down the caps so quickly. Use your judgement. While looking great is always a positive thing, you have to consider what you’re doing and throw that into the equation.