If you’ve spent time and money collecting a great wardrobe, it's worth it to know how to maintain your clothes and when it’s time to toss them. A cashmere sweater is only luxurious as long as you take care of it, and it doesn’t matter how much something costs if it’s full of holes.
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your items as you get ready for the warm weather, and for any time of year:
- Dry Cleaning
Know what items are dry clean only and stay on top of them. Depending on your wearing habits, once a season, or once a month, make sure your clothes are smelling fresh. For outerwear you will obviously get more use between cleanings, but something like an appliquéd sweatshirt might need a cleaning every time. You can use this as a guide to decide if a garment is worth the dry cleaning bills when you go to purchase it.
It’s a good idea to know your dry cleaner anyway, they can provide tailoring services for weight fluctuations and general wear and tear. A fraying hem on your pants doesn’t have to be a reason to throw something out, but you still don’t want to wear them to a date or a job interview.
Depending on your level of comfort with a sewing kit, you can repair shirts and jackets with small tears or missing buttons. But if that’s not your thing don’t be afraid to take it to a professional. While it can seem extravagant to spend money on a tailor, it can save you in the long run.
As far as smaller items, like undershirts, boxers and tee-shirts, most of these are not worth repairing. Check your stuff for holes every time you handle them, and be prepared to let them go.
- Regular Laundry
If you have laundry outside of your building you may find it challenging to get done. This can lead to rushing and using hot water or harsh detergents that can damage your clothing and shorten their lifespan. Always check and respect the care instructions.
Weigh your options- you could get a small washer-dryer for under $200. These are simple to install and make a huge difference for your laundry cycle. There are also drop-off services at laundromats where you can specify the care your clothing needs. Many also provide the mending and tailoring services listed above.
- Invest in Quality (especially for the little things)
While brand name shoes and coats are obviously good investments, things like socks and underwear can go overlooked. Buying cheap items leads to wear and tear and just more shopping. Besides, an attractive pair of boxer-briefs can make a big impression on a date. Make a solid purchase with some stylish, durable underwear.
People also underestimate the power of a great swimsuit, and the attention you get in a pair that fits right. Remember that saltwater and chlorine can fade colors and degrade materials, so give them at least a rinse after every wear.