“You break it, you buy it,” used to be the way of things in retail, but a twist on the adage for shoppers often goes something more like “You buy it, it breaks,” especially when it comes to clothes. Thinner material, faux pockets, not-so-sticky bedazzlements and more delicate, strappy pieces pose interesting challenges to maintaining beloved pieces you love to hate just a little bit.
Look, layering is great and all, but shoppers still want their clothes to last. Vintage pieces prove more durable, but time affects that durability.
Thankfully, the return to quality materials and vintage looks helps solve some challenges, but obstacles to making your clothes last long remain. Sometimes, you must accept the rips and tears as happenstances that make those pieces more unique while preventing too much unraveling. Here are a few tips and hacks to make your clothing more timeless in every sense of the word.
Launder Clothing Inside out, Buttoned and Zipped
Wash your clothes inside out to prevent fading and intentional tie-dye. Look for decals, embroidery, special stitching and other delicate details when you turn your clothes inside out.
A similar rule applies to bits and pieces that can get caught on other clothes and torn in the machine. Always button buttons and zip zippers before laundering your clothes.
Wash Like with Like
Washing clothes is like practicing sympathetic magic. You sacrifice your money and your favorite clothes for convenience every time you mix all your clothes together in one cycle. Wash like with like to preserve your clothes longer. Wash colors with colors, whites with whites and delicates with delicates.
Hand-wash Delicates and Wash Durable Fabrics/Fancy Fabrics Less
Wash smaller and more intricate delicates by hand. This is easier on the material than using a machine. Hang drying them also helps!
Take that advice with a pinch of salt. You don’t have to wash denim as often, and it preserves the material. Do regularly wash your denim inside out, but never flash freeze—it doesn’t kill the germs. You can also spot treat instead of washing more durable fabrics so often.
Skip a wash if you have a weighted fabric in more fancy wear you’ll only wear to a brunch and not for another few months. If you spent four hours dancing in a club, wash it or take it for dry cleaning per the instructions on the tag.
Steam out Wrinkles While Showering
Why bother with a steamer or iron when you can multitask? Steam out wrinkles while showering by hanging clothes nearby on the other side of the shower curtain.
Get your steamy hot shower in and don’t worry about having to find what to wear. You’ll also avoid damage by too much steam, heat or pressure with your regular tools. Prune while your clothes un-prune!
Hairspray Your Hose After Your Hair
This is a classic fashion tip that never wore out over the decades. Prevent runs from running their course in your hose by spraying them with hairspray—it works by stiffening the fibers so the run doesn’t spread. Another tip is to use clear nail polish, but that’s not always a neat fix.
DIY Awkward Happenstances
Rips, tears and stains happen. So, get creative! Stock up on fabric markers, glue and tape. Buy fabric-friendly paint and create stencils. Add your own embellishments and bedazzlements. When in doubt, online tutorials make almost all things possible!
Invest in Classics
Stop perpetuating the cycle of buying it only to have it break in a day or week. Pay attention to stitching, fabric, cut and fit when you shop for clothes. Are you willing to buy the same thing every season just to replace a basic? Are you willing to replace a zipper?
Invest in classics over cheap clothes. You’ll save more money in the long run and look timelessly amazing, too.
Your Tailor Is Your New Best Fashion Friend
Whether it’s downsizing or maintenance, some items are worth a visit to a tailor. These professionals are fashion miracle workers, but it’s always best to do a test run with less favorite items to see if you like their work. With your measurements, they can accurately repair damages within reason and upgrade existing materials for a better fit for your shape. Check out your local listings for a tailor, or make friends with someone who does costume design and patron them.
Follow these tips to make your clothes longer and create truly timeless and unique looks. Your wardrobe should be as fabulous and strong as you are.
Photo by Zhou Yu
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