Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tips to Make Your Wardrobe Last

When you invest in nice clothes, you want expect them to last more than one season, right? Well, the quality of the garment affects it's longevity to some degree, but there are some steps you can take to ensure that you will get maximum use out of your favorite pieces.

RealSimple recently compiled a list of "20 Tips to Make Your Wardrobe Last" by Sarah Jio.  I'm going to share some of our favorites here (mostly laundry tips), but check out the full article for more great ideas and details on prolonging the life of your clothes and accessories.

 Image source: Laundry Tamers

Iron clothing inside out. "Ironing can fade dark colors as well as create shine marks on fabrics with sheen, like gabardine, acetate, and polished cottons," says Chris Allsbrooks, a textile analyst with the Dry Cleaning & Laundry Institute, in Laurel, Maryland. Avoid damage by using the appropriate heat setting and pressing the item on the reverse side. Or use a cloth between garment and iron. And, adds Boorstein, “never iron a crease on a black garment―it can leave a permanent line.”

Hold off on your jewelry. "Wait 15 minutes after applying perfume or body lotion before slipping on baubles," says Krodel. Beauty products are notorious for leaving a greasy buildup.

Store handbags on shelves. It may sound counterintuitive, but “hanging a bag by the handles lessens the life span of the bag,” says Chris Moore, owner of Artbag, a New York City handbag boutique and repair shop. Hanging puts stress on the strap seams, and “it can leave unsightly marks on the handles,” says Moore.

Launder whites after every wear. It’s tempting to put a white blouse back into the closet after a spill-free wearing. After all, it looks spotless. But "body oils and perspiration, along with other time-released stains (like perfume, white wine, and oil splatters), will start to give a once-bright white a yellowish tint," says Steve Boorstein, developer of the DVD Clothing Care (Day Light, $20).
...But don’t overwash darks. Boorstein blames frequent washings for faded clothing. Black pants, in particular, can be worn several times before laundering. For best results when you wash, run darks on a short cycle in cold water and let them air-dry. Blot any stains, since rubbing will create a lighter spot.
Beware the dryer. "Excessive heat makes fibers brittle, causing the fabric to break down," says Boorstein. Combat this by removing lightweight garments, like T-shirts and camisoles, and anything containing spandex (which can lose elasticity over time when exposed to too much heat) 10 minutes earlier than heavy garments, such as jeans and sweatshirts. “Most of the damage is done in the last 10 minutes of drying,” says Boorstein.

Zip up to avert snags. Your clothing goes into the wash perfectly intact. Later you notice a mysterious pull. "The teeth of zippers (especially those made of metal, as on jeans) or any kind of hook closure is typically the culprit," says Boorstein. Next time close all zippers and clasps before tossing clothes into the washing machine (or, better yet, the hamper). 

Wash (unstained) jeans every third wear.  “Most people wash their jeans too often,” says Melissa Ladines, a fit expert for Levi Strauss. Launder them inside out and in cold water. Obsessed with preserving the deep dark rinse? Skip the clothes dryer and let them air-dry, or take them to a dry cleaner. 

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