The availability (in recent years particularly) of cheap and fast fashion has given us a bit of a throwaway attitude to clothes. We’re buying things cheaper, yes – but we’re also buying a lot more.
How is that bad you ask? Well, if we’re buying a lot and using it, great, but if we’re buying stuff mainly because it’s cheap, not so great.
Why? It’s a false economy for one thing – as we all know buying lots of cheap, lesser quality clothes isn’t actually a bargain! And worse, throwing stuff out regularly is terrible for the environment – even if you give to charity shops an incredible amount of unwanted clothes still end up in landfill causing all sorts of pollution.
It’s true that years ago we had much more respect for the things we had. Our attitude was to make do and mend, and while we’re not suggesting you wear pants with the arse gone out of them, we are recommending taking a leaf out of our parents and grandparents book and making our clothes last.
1. Buy good quality clothes (even if it means splurging)
As we said, buying lots of cheap stuff isn’t a savvy move. Pretty soon you’ll be getting rid of the cheap clothes and replacing them with… well, more cheap clothes. We know how hard it is to resist the lure of a ‘bargain’ and how much harder it is to pay more there and then; but it will be worth it as a good quality coat or pair of shoes will not only last longer, they will look better – and guess what, you’ll look after them more!
2. Learn basic sewing skills
If you don’t have basic sewing skills or you forget the old Home Economics days, we’re pretty sure you could easily find someone who will teach you! Learning simple stitches to mend a sock or a hole in a pair of trousers is a worthwhile endeavour. Mending clothes take mere minutes and you’ll feel super proud of yourself that you didn’t succumb your garment to the ‘charity shop bag’.
3. Wash your clothes LESS
Now we’re not saying you should walk around with egg stains on your top, but by treating spot stains on items with a stain remover – and not chucking them into the washing machine – your clothes will last so much longer.
4. Don’t overload the machine
We’re all guilty of wanting to cram everything into one load, but packing clothes together makes them rub off each other, damaging the fabrics.
5. Don’t keep your clothes under plastic covers
Clothes can’t breathe under plastic – and as plastic traps moisture your clothes can become smelly or mildewed. No thanks. Try a cotton sheet or a canvas garment bag to cover delicate items instead.
6. Don’t hang your knitwear
Do cosy clothes a favour and fold them. Hanging knitwear damages and tears the fibres and the hangers stretch out and misshape the shoulders.
7. Wait for deo to dry
How many lovely white clothes have we had to chuck out because the underarms had gone an unappealing shade of yellow? Too many! Sweat is acidic and causes the fabric to discolour – so wash sweat stains immediately as the longer you leave them, the more the acid will attack the fibre. Funnily enough, lemon is alkaline, so rubbing some juice on discoloured underarms will freshen them up.
8. Look after those jeans
Turn jeans inside out and wash at a low temperature to keep them in tip top nick.
9. Don’t buy something delicate (if you aren’t going to look after it)
We are guilty time and time again of spotting something gorgeous we can’t resist and buying it – even though we have no intention of following the care label. “Dry clean only?” we say. “It’ll be grand, I’ll just throw it in the wash.” Then when we take it out it would barely fit a toddler. If you’re not going to hand wash or dry clean something don’t buy it! Resist! RESIST!