How to take care of you clothes is worth learning if you want to improve your own impact on sustainable fashion. Read on to learn what I do.
Now let me be honest upfront, I am no domestic goddess, I repeat:
“I AM NO DOMESTIC GODDESS!”
So if I can bumble my way through this, so can you! With a focus on sustainable fashion and the increasing need for all of us to make more effort on reducing our impact on the planet; looking after the clothes you already own is a great way to start!
Over the last few months, I have been learning and putting new habits into practice and I want to share with you what I’ve been doing thus far. I am not perfect, but I do feel like I am now making a contribution and that’s a really positive position to be in, which I have to say makes me feel really happy.
YOU CAN WEAR AN ITEM OF CLOTHING MORE THAN ONCE
I believe there is a stigma to wearing an item more than one, I find people apologising because they have worn an outfit yesterday and then they put it all on again today – I believe people fear this gives a message to others “I might smell” which is completely ridiculous.
The conditioning we all have had to put worn clothes into the wash bin is something we have learnt from a child – and if you are a happy, careful, playful child then no doubt your clothes do need to go into the wash bin at the end of the day, with chocolate smudges, dirt marks from riding your bike, and sweaty t-shirts from all the running around and play you have had.
This is not however a typical day for an adult!
Apart from the obvious with undies, you need to really think about whether an item can be worn again before you pop it into the wash bin. We need to wash less, to help our environment.
Here is what I do:
- Undies – straight to the wash bin
- Cotton tops/vests – either to the wash bin or I sleep in it that night to then pop it in there in the morning
- Denim, skirts and knitwear – over and over again (more below on this one!)
- Trousers – until I think they smell
- Dresses – How long have I worn it? does it smell? what’s my week ahead looking like? Ultimately – it’s very unlikely to head to the wash bin – and here’s why…
A dress I’ve worn for a few hours, I will then steam it under the arms and remove any creases, then I will hang it in an area of my wardrobe that I have for items that have already been worn once – I suppose what I am trying to say is I don’t place worn clothing back into the mix with fresh clothes – I keep them separated.
Then I will either wear it to work for a full day or if it’s worn just for another quick ‘event’ say a brunch, lunch or dinner date – then I will repeat the process. I work on approximately 8-10 hours of wear before it heads to the wash bin or dry cleaners – so a dress could be worn multiple times.
This is not a bad thing, this is a really positive change of habit to help not overwash unnecessarily – we have to change our mindset.
THE SMELL TEST
If you have changed your habit with ‘best before’ dates on food, you will know what I am talking about. Smell it – it’s as simple as that, if it smells and you don’t think a quick steam or an hour out on the line will freshener it up, then YES it needs to be washed.
Avoid at all costs to use perfume to re-energise your clothes; you should never spray perfume directly onto any fabrics, it can ruin natural fibres or it can stain them – plus masking a poor odour can actually make a smell more stale.
INVEST IN A HAND -HELD STEAMER
I bought this one below just over a year ago, and I wish I had bought it sooner – it’s such an essential part of my daily styling kit.
Not only does it do the obvious of getting creases out safely on all types of delicate fabrics; but it’s my go to for refreshing my clothes and jackets after they have been worn; reducing washing, ironing, dry-cleaning costs – I cannot rate this product enough!
I opted for a light-weight travel version because that suits my personal needs.
WASH AT A LOWER TEMPERATURE
Apart from towels and bed linen, pretty much everything I wash will be on the quickest cycle and I choose either 30℃ or less – blouses particularly I wash on zero temperature to save the delicate fabric from perishing over time – I’m lucky to have a quick cycle of less than 15 minutes which means I can quickly freshen up garments if I need to without the arduous task of a long cycle which these days are completely unnecessary.
A garment category that needs a little more thought!
Producing anything in denim has already had a huge impact on our planet #fact – so show this type of garment some respect.
- Choose wisely – do you actually need a new pair of jeans? Buy the right fit, first time and they can last you a lifetime. Poor fitting jeans are uncomfortable and will never be right, ever!
- Sell whatever items you no longer wish to own, denim is popular.
- Never ever send denim into landfill – if you do not have any creative skills to repurpose into something new, then give it to charity. Many creatives will reuse denim for upcycling projects. Even if they are not another garment, denim is often used for quilting techniques, made into duvets or blankets, plus I’ve also seen cookery aprons and cushion covers; I loved visiting my friend’s house who did exactly that, the rear pockets were on the cushion and a little toy would be sticking out!
- Avoid washing denim – the more it’s worn it softens over time, there is nothing like a good pair of softened jeans or a denim jacket that has been well worn – get over the fear of thinking it smells.
WARDROBE MAINTENANCE FOR CLOTHES CARE
It’s an oldie from 2017, but all the points are still relevant, MY BASIC RULES FOR EVERY WOMAN’S WARDROBE gives you advice on seamstresses, full length mirrors and more!
And here are a few more tips I’m sharing to help on how to take care of your clothes
- Invest in good hangers – the right kind of hangers for each type of garment. This goes against some stylist advice you may have been told; blazers, leather jackets etc should be on heavy duty padded supported hangers to keep the shape. Jeans and knitwear I do not hang, I fold to keep them in good condition, plus you can see them so much more when they are stacked in a pile.
- Wash your ‘colourful’ clothes inside out and don’t dry them in direct sunlight, indoors (by a window) or outside (if you do hang them outside get your clothes in as soon as they dry or the colour will fade over time).
- As soon as item needs repairing, say a tear or a missing button – make plans to do this straight away; either pay someone or learn to do it yourself (watch a YouTube video – you’ll be surprise what you can achieve yourself) and then get wearing it again – there is little point having clothes sitting around not earning their right to be there.
CURATING YOUR STYLE
Avoid holding on to clothes that make you feel unhappy. Sell them or give them away – there is so much joy to be had in releasing the old and the extra space you’ll end up with, will allow the clothes you love, to breathe!