Fashion Tips : How to Make Your Clothes Last Longer

For fashion lovers who care about the environment, making clothes last longer is the first step toward a more sustainable and ethical wardrobe. It not only saves us time and money, but it also cuts our consumption and helps us leave less of an impact on the environment.

There are a lot of things we can do to keep the pieces we love looking new and fresh. Follow our ultimate guide to making your clothes last longer by picking up these good habits.

1. Buy Quality Pieces

Would you rather buy one $300 jacket that would last you several seasons or five new $100 jackets every season? Higher quality pieces, in addition to being better for the environment, people, and animals, will often last longer due to superior materials and construction. Make a list of wardrobe staples that will (hopefully) last you a long time, and don’t be afraid to splurge on them. You’ll cherish them much more, and they’ll last much longer than trend-driven things.

2. Use a Delicates Bag

You may have already figured it out, but I had to learn this the hard way when I first moved out. Rather than having your delicate underwear or clothing rip in the washing machine, invest in a few delicates bags to help extend the life of your intimates.

3. Carry a Stain Removal Pen

Those of you who are super-organized might want to keep a stain removal pen in your handbag. This allows you to treat stains as they occur, reducing the likelihood of red wine or grass stains ruining your favorite outfit.

4. Wash Less

Don’t twist up your nose now! We’re not talking about going out in public with a swarm of flies buzzing around! Consider what your garment goes through every time you wash it: tumbling in a washing machine with other clothes. Not only will it lose its color and have elastic stretch, but it may also end up in a hot dryer, where it will shrink, fade, and sometimes fall apart completely. Take the challenge to wear your clothes at least three times before washing them, unless they are clearly soiled or smell bad.

5. Don’t Dry Clean Often

This guideline is especially important for men who may be tempted to dry-clean their suits and personal items more frequently than necessary. Aside from the high cost of dry-cleaning, the process uses harsh chemicals that not only hurt the fabric but also the environment! This causes expensive items, such as suits, to fade and wear out far faster than they should. Alternatively, while showering, hang the item in the bathroom. This allows the steam to freshen your clothes without using any chemicals.

6. Get it right in the washing machine

Putting a load of laundry in when you don’t have a full load obviously wastes water, but shoving your entire wardrobe in and overfilling the machine isn’t good for your clothes. The clothes will not only not wash correctly, but they will also rub against each other, causing damage and fading. Another way to avoid fading is to wash your clothes on cold.

7. Reduce the Amount of Detergent

Aside from being bad for the environment, using too much detergent can leave your clothes drab and stiff. Instead, use 12 cup of the recommended amount of detergent and 12 cup of baking soda as a detergent booster. This will clean your clothes just as well as ordinary detergent and will also help you reduce your carbon footprint!

8. Wash Dark Clothing Inside Out

To keep the color of your favorite dark items from fading, wash them inside out. The same is true for t-shirts: turning them inside out keeps the print from cracking and/or fading.

9. Use a Clothesline or Drying Rack

If it’s not raining, the sun will dry your clothes considerably faster than your energy-guzzling drier. Aside from saving money on your power bill, utilizing a clothesline or drying rack prevents overheating and probable shrinking of garments in the dryer. This is especially important for intimate apparel and activewear, as heat is known to degrade garment elasticity, creating undesired stretching.

10. Store in a Cool and Dry Environment

Clothes, like humans, dislike being kept in cramped spaces and are frequently prone to over-exposure to light. This includes avoiding storing your clothes in places where bacteria might thrive and destroy them, such as a moldy basement or your bathroom. By allowing them some breathing room in your closet, you can reduce wrinkling and color fading caused by clothes rubbing against each other. Suits should be stored on a hanger in a ventilated canvas bag to prevent creases and mold growth.

11. Fold Heavy Sweaters on a Shelf

This may sound obvious, but for those of you who don’t already do it (I’m guilty as well! ), it can make a big impact. If you hang heavier sweaters, the fabric will expand, leaving you with a sad, droopy jumper that you won’t want to wear. A small extra tip: throughout the summer, keep your sweaters with lavender, bay leaves, or cedar wood scraps to avoid finding a few undesired moth holes by the time winter arrives!

12. Buy Better Hangers

Most plastic and wire hangers will stretch out your garments’ shoulders, leaving you with saggy clothing. Despite being slightly more expensive, hardwood hangers will last longer and care for your clothes better.

13. Know Your Iron

Those of you who avoid using your iron (*cough*) may be doing your clothes a favor! Many people do not set their irons to the proper temperature for particular outfits. This can cause shrinkage and, if you’re like me, burn through your favorite lace garment. Most light creases can be removed by setting the iron a setting or two lower than what is advised.

And, if you believe you can do without the iron entirely, give your clothes a good shake before hanging them up. You can avoid significant creasing by giving them ample of space on the line in the first place.

14. Use a Dye Bath

Most garments fade and lose color with time (particularly if you’re a serial washer). If you’re not quite ready to part with your favorite black jeans or white t-shirt, consider giving them a dye bath to refresh their color. All you have to do is combine some colored dye with the appropriate amount of water in a bucket, and your clothes will appear brand new! Use this procedure exclusively on block-colored items, and always wash with like colors the first few times to prevent dye from running.

15. Learn Basic Mending

How many pieces of clothing have you discarded because a strap came undone or a button fell off? Instead of throwing it away or taking it to a dressmaker, learn a few basic mending techniques that will preserve both your garment and your money. Fortunately, I’ve been saving complimentary hotel sewing kits!

Have you got any sure-fire ways to making your clothes last longer? Let Teeanime know how in the comments below.