I somehow doubt it’s a secret that I have a large wardrobe. I love clothes, and they really are to blame for my spending problems in the first place. A world without fashion would be a world without fun.
But clothes are expensive, and I don’t know about you, but walking into a mall to buy one thing usually ends with me spending hours in the mall and leaving with armfuls.
Plus, I develop favorites. I have had some peices of my wardrobe since I was 16 and, despite not fitting for awhile, they remain my favorite pieces.
The key to being able to keep my clothes for that long is simple: I take care of them.
I didn’t used to. I’d throw my favorite jacket in a crumpled heap on my bedroom floor, only to be used as a scratching mat for the cat or a bed for the dog, and despite my denial, it would usually end badly for the coat.
I’ve learned that it’s very worth it, from a cost standpoint, to take care of my clothes. Here are some tips and tools to use to take care of your clothing to ensure that you never look dishevelled.
Don’t wash them every wear
Seriously. I’ll never understand those people who wear a top once and throw it in the washing machine. Unless you go to spin class in your work blouse, there really is no reason why you’d have to wash your clothes after each wear.
Some people’s jobs require them to be more active than mine, so take this with a grain of salt, but I can’t fathom anybody’s clothes smelling bad or looking dirty after 8-12 hours of wear. I can usually wear dresses three or four times before washing them; skirts about 3 times and pants twice (I’m short so the bottoms of pants get dirtier than most people’s.
It really depends on the material, color, and wearer of a shirt as to how much you need to wash it. If you’re a messier eater, like me, you’ll probably have to wash shirts more often.
Washing clothing fades the color, and is generally not great for the fabric. You can keep clothing looking newer for longer if you limit the amount you wash them.
Read the label
I know you’ve probably heard this advice before, but it really is important. I’ve washed clothes the wrong way before, and it ruined the clothing. Learn how to read the washing instructions and make sure to follow them. If you don’t, then don’t be surprised when the fabric pills or the seams fray. Some clothing is too delicate for traditional washing methods.
On the same note, make sure you put similar fabrics, in like colors, in the same loads. I know this is obvious but many people fail to do so. My Lululemon clothes all go in the same load, for instance. Washing Lululemon with normal, cotton fabrics can really pill the Lulu fabric, which is a no-no since it’s so expensive.
Invest in some tools
I don’t have a ton of “tools” to keep my clothes nice, but I have three that I use on a regular basis.
A sweater shaver
A sweater shaver shaves more than just sweaters. I can use it on my Lululemon pants to get rid of pilling, my cardigan sleeves when lint starts to build up and hand out on the cuffs, and my wool winter sweater which starts to look like a Pomeranian after a few wears. If you get a decent sweater shaver, this tool is like gold for making your clothes look acceptable again. Plus, it’s fun. It’s like pulling glue off fingers.
A lint brush
Even if you don’t have pets, having a lint brush around is crucial. I shed like a crazy person, so that’s a consideration, but also dusty and lint from other fabrics can stick to your clothes. Especially if you’re wearing black, this is not cute.
I even have a lint brush in my car, just in case.
An iron or steamer
I was a late bloomer on this one; I never used to buy clothes that needed ironing, so I avoided having to buy an iron. Lots of work clothes, though, has the tenancy to be made in wrinkle-attracting material, so I invested in a clothes steamer last weekend.
I use it every day and I can’t believe I got on without it. Every time I needed to get rid of wrinkles, I’d just wash my clothes and hang them up before. How ridiculous of me!
My steamer was only $79 and I love it. It works beautifully. Remember: when it comes to clothes steamers, the higher the wattage, the better.
Do you have any tips on how to make clothes last (without sacrificing how they look)?