Wicked Lovely Fashion: 7 ways to extend the life of your wardrobe – Daily Herald

When it comes to fashion, nothing is better than finding that one article of clothing that really speaks to you.

A great piece of clothing can make you feel better, look better and even act better. Clothing has influenced generations and defined decades, and will no doubt continue to do so.

So how do you take care of the items that can define who you are? With simple knowledge and basic items, taking care of your wardrobe is easy. From well-worn processes to lesser known tips and tricks, there are many ways to take better care of your clothes.

1. Storage Matters

The way you store your clothes is more important than you may think. Whether you have a lot of space, or just a little, the principles still apply. Proper storage can add years to the life of your clothes. It should go without saying that you should not leave your clothes wadded up in piles, but there is more to it than that. When it comes to sweaters, these should always be folded and stored on a shelf. Not only will this save space from these bulky items hanging in your closet, but it will keep them from developing hanger holes or being stretched out from their weight pulling down. Hangers do matter, with the best being padded or velour lined to minimize stretching or falling. Try not to pack your clothes too tightly in your closet to avoid wrinkling or other damage and make sure to hang clothes keeping things like fabric and accents in mind. Avoid putting items made of chiffon, mesh, silk or other delicate fabrics next to sequined or zippered items to minimize tears or scratches and make sure to button buttons when possible to avoid snagging on other garments.

2. Basic household items can save you time, money and clothing

Getting double duty out of items you already use is always great, and even more so when it comes to saving the clothes you love. For example, take a disposable razor and shave off the little fuzzies that pop up on sweaters and shirts. Cheaper than any retail version, this little trick will give new life to older-looking clothing. Another thing you can do is to put a bar of unopened soap or a couple of dryer sheets in your clothes drawers to keep clothes smelling fresh. You should also keep a small pack of dryer sheets with you when you leave the house. Putting one in your pocket or rubbing one across your clothes and even your hair throughout the day will give them a fresh smell and counteract static cling on the go. Lotion rubbed onto hands and then tights can also banish static cling and smells great. Paint buttons with clear nail polish to keep them from loosening and falling off. The polish will act as a binder or glue, keeping the threads from fraying and coming apart. Nail polish also helps prevent and stop runs in nylons and tights.

3. Simple Stain Fighters

While there are many tried and true ways to get out stains, some of the best ways utilize simple means. Carrying on the goal of using household items you probably have on hand, you can use things like flour, baby powder, dish soap and even vinegar to remove stains. Spray hairspray on clothes stained with lipstick and let sit for 10 minutes and then wipe with a damp cloth. Treat ink stains with rubbing alcohol. Put baby powder or flour on oil stains to absorb the oil and then wash with dish soap to break up the oil and remove. When dealing with tomato-based stains, dish soap works wonders. White vinegar can also be used to lighten up tomato stains that can’t be removed with dish soap alone. Mix 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide and 1/4 cup baking soda to form a paste that can treat blood from light clothing (it will bleach darker clothing, so avoid), while a stick of clear deodorant can be used on darker clothing stains. Repeat any as necessary and do not dry clothes in the dryer until you are satisfied the stain is removed. The variety of solutions is almost as big as the list of items that can cause stains, so when in doubt; dish soap works more often than not on most stains.

4. Avoid product fading

While hairspray is great at taking out stains like lipstick and pen, it, along with other culprits like hair dye and toothpaste, can cause clothes to fade, stain and look worn out. Just as clear deodorant can help with stains on darker clothing; it can have a reverse effect on white clothing, making items appear yellowed or discolored. Foundation can stain shirts during application and perfumes can mark delicate fabrics like silk and chiffon. Because of this, it is always better to apply all make-up, hairspray, deodorant and perfumes and let them fully dry before getting dressed. This will minimize the chemical contact with your clothing and keep articles looking newer longer.

5. Properly washing your clothes is about more than just sorting

Besides the basics of sorting out like with like when it comes to doing laundry, there are other things you can do to keep clothes looking their best. Make sure to use the right detergent for the clothing type, and you should always follow the clothing’s tagged instructions to start. Also, try things like washing dark clothing inside out in cold water to help them hold their color or wash delicates in a laundry bag on gentle to keep them from getting damaged and help retain elasticity. Wash heavy duty clothes like jeans and things with zippers and buttons separately to avoid damage to other articles and only dry clothing you are sure will not shrink or fade if dried in the dryer. If you subscribe to the notion that you should never wash your jeans, but they are getting a little smelly, pop them in a freezer bag in the freezer for a bit to get them smelling good as new. Finally, if you like to keep things simple, do not buy clothes that require special treatment or dry cleaning. This can decrease the value of the item because of the cost and time it takes to make sure you keep the clothing looking its best.

6. Steam is your friend

Though nothing beats an iron at pressing creases onto shirts and trousers, using steam is a great way to quick, wrinkle-free clothing. If you own a clothes steamer, you know that they save space and time by eliminating the storage and set up of an ironing board. They also heat up quickly and are safe to use on fabrics where an iron might do damage. Often much faster than an iron at getting out basic wrinkles, they are also great for getting wrinkles out of difficult spots like ruffles or sleeves. No steamer, no problem. An oldie but a goodie, hang clothes in the bathroom while you shower and let the steam iron out the wrinkles for you.

7. Size and fit affect the life of your clothing

Though no one wants to admit when they should go up a size, wearing the right clothing for your frame and size is important. Not just so you can look your best, but also to extend the life of your clothing. When clothes don’t fit right, people tend to tug, pull and stretch the fabrics into place. This weakens the fibers and opens the garment up to tearing and holes. In addition to this, if you have a lot of ill-fitting clothes in your closet, you will find yourself gravitating to wearing the clothes that do fit and are comfortable more often. This can wear these pieces out faster and give you minimal use from your wardrobe. Likewise, wearing clothing that is too large for you can increase wear due to friction in places where the article is not made to take it, as well as wear and tear on pant legs and sleeve cuffs from draping and dragging. For items that you just can’t live without, but know that they do not fit you as well as they could, consider a tailor. They are relatively inexpensive depending on the alterations and you will get much more use out of an article you are comfortable wearing.

There are many more ways in which you can increase the life of your clothing, but they all boil down to paying attention to the basics. Know what your clothes are made of and launder accordingly. Avoid pulling, tearing and otherwise abusing the fabric of your clothing. Read and apply all recommendations found on garment tags. Learn stain fighting and how to utilize household items on quick fixes. Lastly, learn now how to properly store the individual types of clothing you have to give longer life to all your pieces. If you take care of your clothes, they will take care of you for a long time to come.


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