Maintaining your clothes and making them last longer is one of the first steps towards an ethical and sustainable wardrobe. Not only will this save you time and money, it also cuts your consumption and helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
There are many things we can do to keep our cherished clothes looking fresh and new. Get into these good habits with our ultimate guide to making your clothes last longer!
1.BUY QUALITY PIECES
Quality over quantity is the key.
It’s better to invest in one quality item than five poorly made pieces that may need to be replaced in a few months. By spending a bit more on quality pieces that never go out of style, you create a solid base wardrobe that will last over time. When shopping for a new piece of clothing, carefully consider whether you need it, and how much you will wear it. Scouring the second-hand market may also lead you to a beautiful piece of clothing that may become the centrepiece of your wardrobe!
When opting for a new, and high-quality item of clothing, look for clothes that are durable and made of thicker fabrics and good construction. While shopping, look for simple clues that indicate whether an item is made to last – and remember, price isn’t the only indicator. Try to pay attention to details, as well as tight seams and buttons. If the material is very thin, or you see loose threads, buttons, or snags, these are clues that an item may not be very well made and probably will not last long.
2.PAY ATTENTION TO THE FABRICS
Treasure fabrics from nature, and avoid synthetics wherever possible. The production of natural, ‘eco-friendly’ fibres has a lower impact on the environment! Some of the lower-impact fabrics to look out for:
- Recycled fibres, such as recycled polyester, or recycled cotton or also wool;
- Plant-based fibres, like organic cotton, linen or hemp;
- Animal-based fibres (produced in an ethical and sustainable way): silk, responsible wool and responsible cashmere;
- Semi-synthetic fibres, like lyocell or orange fibre.
3.LEARN HOW TO WASH CLOTHES PROPERLY
Do you wash your clothes very often? The more you wash clothes, the quicker they wear out. Indeed, by doing less work – you may be able to make your clothes last longer. Throwing a bundle of clothes into the washing machine regularly may be detrimental to the quality and longevity of the items. Specific clothes may require different washing settings and maintenance. The labels on your clothes are easily forgotten, however, they often contain helpful laundering instructions which will aid the process of maintaining your item of clothing.
Here are some more laundering tips can help keep your clothes in great shape!
Wash Your Clothes Less. The washing process is really harsh on clothes. Agitating, tumbling, and coming in contact with other garments can leave garments faded, stretched and damaged. Unless your outerwear is visibly dirty, you probably don’t need to wash it after each wearing.
Wash Dark Clothing Inside-Out. Darker material can become faded in the wash, especially when it rubs against other garments. Washing them inside out will prevent the print from cracking and/or fading.
Invest in a Clothes-line or Drying Rack. If it’s not raining outside, the sun does a much better job of drying your clothes than your high-energy consuming dryer. Other than being a lot kinder on your electricity bill, using a clothesline or drying rack will avoid overheating and potential shrinking of garments in the dryer.
Go Colour-Safe. Is there anything more frustrating than ruining clothes with bleach? While it helps make your beautiful white clothes whiter, it can also stain coloured clothes and damage delicate fibres. Swap your regular washing agents for a colour-safe alternative, which are more gentle on the fabrics. Consider chemical-free natural washing agents for coloured clothes – as an added bonus, they often smell wonderful!
Reduce the Amount of Detergent. Other than being harmful to the environment, a large amount of detergent can actually make your clothes more dull and stiff. Instead, use half of the prescribed amount of detergent and add half a cup of baking soda, which acts as a detergent booster. This will make your clothes just as clean as regular detergent and will help you lower your expenses too!
Don’t dry clean often. The process of dry-cleaning involves the use of harsh chemicals that not only harm the fabrics but the planet as well. This causes expensive pieces, such as suits to wear out and fade a lot faster than they should. An easy and cheap alternative: hang the piece of clothing on a hanger in the bathroom while you shower! This allows the steam to refresh your outfit without the use of any chemicals.
4. QUICK-FIXING AND MENDING
How many pieces of clothing have you thrown away after a strap became loose or a button fell off? Instead of tossing them or taking it to your local dressmaker, learn a few basic mending tips that will save your garment and your money!
A simple sewing kit costs just a few euros and contains scissors, a variety of needle sizes, and thread. Even if you’ve never sewed before, online videos can teach you everything you need to know, from buttonhole stitching to repairing a zipper. Don’t be intimidated by starting, its more doable than you think!
Being able to fix or modify a broken garment with your own hands is very satisfying, you can be proud of having done something nice for yourself and the planet!
5. REPURPOSE OLD CLOTHES
Some clothes aren’t meant to last forever, what can you do then? You can give them new life by repurposing the cloth and new creating pieces for various functions. One of the easiest ways to repurpose old clothes is to simply re-use them for cleaning. The cloth can be cut and mended into handy sizes for different cleaning activities. There are many more creative ways to repurpose clothes, such as by transforming them into pillowcases, making bags, using patches to mend other clothes, and even making toys and decoration!
Applying just a few of the tips in this article can extend the lifetime of your clothes by years and make a significant impact on your consumption habits! So, by being a little more careful in the way you clean, handle, and store your clothes, you can transform your wardrobe and make positive changes. When you multiply these results by spreading the word and encouraging your friends and family to make small but impactful changes, you create a wonderful sustainable community.
Chicfashic is eager to expand the sustainable fashion community, and we offer a multitude of workshops to help you on your sustainable fashion journey. Find more information on how to become a style-icon with your sustainable wardrobe, how to mend clothes and much more on our WORKSHOP PAGE HERE