In order to change the way we think about fashion, we need to focus more on garment care, rather than just shopping more sustainably. Sadly, we are so used to menswear being disposable that the idea of mending and repairing our clothing is a foreign concept to many of us, the logic being it’s cheaper to buy new ones than to maintain the old. We need to start seeing our clothes as pieces for life, rather than outfits to be worn just a handful of times. The simple fact is that ell made garments can last for decades and there’s a lot you can do to make them endure. It may require changing a few habits. Luckily, you don’t need any special products to garments looking sharp.
Buy Quality Garments
First and foremost, buying quality clothing is always a good investment. You don’t need to visit the most exclusive designer boutique in town. But investing a bit more in your garments might prolong their shelf and will prevent you from going back to the shops for replacements. Always make sure to purchase clothes made from natural fibres, with a transparent and accessible chain of production.
Clothing Care 101
Although there is no “Golden Rule” of clothing maintenance, here are a number of general tips that apply to almost every item in your closet:
Read the fabric care label, and follow the instructions
Care labels are essential for proper garment care. If certain materials are not cared for in the proper way, it is possible the fabric could rip, stretch out, or even shrink. Often times without proper care labels, colours will run onto other clothes while in the washing machine, or in fact some fabrics should not even be put in a traditional washer; instead they must be dry cleaned by a professional service.
Don’t Wear Them All The Time
Everyone has that favourite shirt, sweater or suit they like to wear all the time. Unfortunately, overuse of your favourite garments can destroy them well before their expiry date. Especially natural fibres need time to breathe and recover after use. This downtime lets the garment recover and regain its original shape.
Getting Rid Of Lint
Lint, pet hair, dandruff, dust or even dirt will get on your clothes eventually, but they don’t have to ruin your style. It just takes 30 seconds and a quality lint brush or, for more difficult cases, a clean brush with stiff bristles to clean your clothes after each wearing. Brushing removes the dirt on the outer layers before they have the chance to settle into the fabric and prevents fabric damage as the stains might attract insects.
Treat Stains Immediately
Yes, you heard right! Stains should always be treated immediately. The removal process depends on what caused the stain and what fabric you’re removing it from, but the rule of immediacy stays the same. Leaving stain removal detergents to dry on your garment can completely destroy it.
Stains on clothing happen to the best of us. But have no fear, even red wine stains are not as difficult to remove as you might think, especially if you act quickly.
For an additional degree of caution, test the stain removal method of choice on a hidden seam before applying the treatment to the complete area. Avoid direct heat, which usually accelerates the stains’ bonding, and avoid applying solvents with an excessive amount of pressure or forceful scrubbing.
Remove Lingering Odours
As with stains, the treatment required for lingering smells depends on the odour in question, but baking soda or vinegar is frequently a safe bet. For example, cigarette smoke smells are best removed by soaking clothes in a baking soda/water or vinegar/water solution.
Hand Wash your Garments
Sometimes it’s best to ditch the washing machine and take a manual approach. Washing your clothes by hand in cold water, using a mild detergent and avoiding bleach is by far the most gentle approach and can certainly make clothes last longer.
Use Specialty Cleaners
Although regular detergents will remove most stains, for more severe staining you might want to try detergent boosters such as Oxiclean or specialty cleaners such as sweat stain removers. Beware of overdoing it though.
Dryers will almost always break down the fibers of the fabric and cause the garment to shrink and age prematurely.
Iron With Water
Whether you opt for steam or no steam, try to avoid completely dry ironing. It is better to iron the garment while it is still humid. If necessary, spray it with water to make ironing more easy. It is also important to keep the iron moving at all times to avoid delicate fabrics being scorched.
Use a Steamer
Steaming clothes is a gentler way to get rid of wrinkles, and it doesn’t create creases.
Whether you’re using a professional steamer or an iron with a built-in steaming function, it is an excellent way to quickly remove wrinkles from the most delicate fabrics. The only time we recommend ironing over steaming is when the wrinkles cannot be removed with steam alone.
Dry Clean, But Don’t Overdo It
While most cottons and durable polyesters can be washed in the washing machine, anything that is 100 percent silk, wool garments, 100 percent linen and structured jackets and coats, including fur or leather should primarily be dry cleaned. We recommend dry cleaning only when absolutely necessary and not more often than once every three months.
Learn Basic Repairs
Even if you’re perfectly careful with your clothing, loose threads and popping buttons are bound to happen. Learning to complete a few basic repairs on your clothing, such as replacing a loose thread or a missing button, will make your garments last longer.
How to Properly Store Men’s Clothing
Not all clothes are stored equally. Some need to be hung up, some folded. Even if you’re short on space, resist the urge to squish your clothes next to each other, as this can result in wrinkling and tear. You need to give your clothes some breathing room. If there isn’t enough storage space for your clothes, an easy solution would be to rotate your clothes. By sorting your clothes into categories such as those you plan to wear this month and others to be used later, you’ll ensure that the things you’ll be wearing on a daily basis are right where you need them to be.
Here are the best ways to store your clothes to make sure they last as long as possible:
Fold heavy sweaters on a shelf
While Suits, trousers, coats and dress shirts should be hung up, Heavier garments such as wool sweaters can actually stretch out when you hang them in your closet. The best way to ensure durability is to stack them folded on a shelf so they keep their shape.
Button buttons and zip zippers
Sharp zipper teeth, studs, and buttons can catch on clothes and result in damage, so make sure they’re fastened when you hang them in your closet.
Invest in better hangers
Wire hangers from your dry cleaner are not made for long-term storage. Wire hangers can stretch out the shoulders of your precious garments. Consider investing in higher quality wood or velvet to ensure garments keep their shape.
Taking good care of your clothes only requires small changes in behaviour. When you’ve invested in quality garments, it is worth your while to pay close attention to how your items are cared for and have it last the extra distance. You will look better, save a lot of money and take a more sustainable approach.
Unfortunately, not all clothes are meant to last forever. Some items have a predetermined shelf life. They’re bound to tear, wear out, fade, and change shape after every day use. Still, it isn’t always about making your clothes last longer either. Taking good care of your clothes is just as much about making them look new for as long as possible, even if their overall shelf life isn’t affected.