It’s no secret that our beloved clothes are no longer made to last as the speed of changing trends means that our wardrobes seemingly appear obsolete within weeks. But if you really love a piece – and you should only buy and wear pieces you truly love – you want to make it last for as long as possible. We don’t have to darn our clothes until the end of time to make a more positive impact and to extend the life of our pieces, but by understanding what is inside our wardrobes we can make our clothes last for years instead of a handful of seasons. At Quirky Lane we have compiled a list of five easy tips and tricks that anyone can do to extend the lifecycle of your clothes.
Easy, right? Maybe too easy! By understanding what the composition of your clothes are you can care for them in the correct way. Every fabric requires different care, and by respecting what the different fabrics need means that they will naturally last longer. It’s best to buy mono-fabric pieces, such as 100% cotton or 100% wool, as the aftercare washing or repairing is more straightforward.
2. Wash less often
Clothes don’t NEED to be washed after every wear (except maybe undies!). The more you wash something, the faster it wears out. Simple. Every time you wash your clothes the colour fades, little fibres are shed, and elastic stretches, so by minimising the amount of washes per item, your clothes will naturally last longer. If you spilled coffee all down your shirt, then yes, you should maybe consider washing it. But if your clothes aren’t visibly dirtied or stinking up the street, then consider wearing it again, and again, and again!
3. Wash your clothes correctly
Firstly, read step 1 again. Your label should tell you the best temperature and setting to wash your piece in. It says it for a reason, so best to listen to instructions or go on a colder setting to reduce colour fading. It’s also important to close bra-hooks, zip your zippers to the top, unbutton your buttons, and turn your clothing inside out. These little changes can stop hardware from catching and tearing or threads loosening while being tumbled, meaning less visible damage and need for repairs. Most things can and should be air-dried if possible so minimise the tumble drier if it isn’t essential.
4. Store in the right environment
Like people, clothes can thrive under the right conditions. Don’t store your clothes in a damp room where mould and bacteria will grow and destroy your clothes. Equally, be mindful to not overexpose your clothes to too much light. When hanging items, make sure to leave some space between each garment to minimise colour rubbing and wrinkling. Fold heavy sweaters so they don’t stretch out on hangers, and make sure to have moth balls or lavender nearby to avoid moths eating away at your beautiful sweaters.
5. Learn basic mending
We aren’t all trained seamstresses, but learning basic mending is essential for extending the life of your clothes and is also kinder to your pocket so you don’t have to go to a professional for small fixes (or even buy something new to replace it!). Over time threads can come loose and buttons can fall off, but this doesn’t mean you have to throw something away. Replacing buttons or mending a seam takes a few minutes and doesn’t require a professional machine – just some quick basic skills and a needle and thread! For more difficult repairs, there are plenty of professionals that can easily repair holes in cashmere or wool, or change zippers so your clothes look and feel as good as new.