Clothing Care: A guide to getting the most use out of your clothes

We’ve all been there; holding that favorite T-Shirt up in the air as you quickly scan the dimensions, noticing that the shirt you put into the dryer is not what came out. You hold it up to yourself only to find what used to be the perfect fit is now short, and too narrow to wear comfortably. Now you’re tugging, pulling, and stretching away at what used to slip on effortlessly with no struggle at all. Maybe you try to pull it off one last time, or maybe you decide to steer into the skid and fashion your own crop-top, but deep down we know what’s to come. Yet another article of clothing that is to be cast out into the reject-pile of clothes that we all know we have. The pile of shirts, jeans, and pullovers that we’ve failed to keep in wearable condition, yet we just can’t seem to get rid of. It’s always the same, you can wear something 99 times, but the 100th time through the wash cycle puts the nail on your favorite shirt’s coffin. Is this inevitable? Or is there a science to keeping clothes fresh and wearable for life? The mystery of proper clothing care can be frustrating at times. It may be impossible to make seven outfits last a lifetime of Monday through Sundays, but there are definitely some tricks to getting the most life out of your favorite clothes.

image of torn jeans for Clothing Care post

 You get what you pay for

 Unfortunately, while price isn’t everything, there comes a point when cheap, really just means cheap. Certain fabrics, stitching, and materials simply don’t last as long as others. This is not to say that one isn’t able to find durable clothing on a budget, in fact, most high-end fashion brands do not come equipped with the longevity and toughness that can be found in bargain clothes. The trick is identifying whether something is cheap, or is cheaply made. The biggest identifier of whether or not an article of clothing is made with quality is to observe the stitching. Something to keep in mind when it comes to stitching: more, is usually better. When a shirt, or pair of pants have been stitched together in world-record time in an effort to save time, money, and effort, there isn’t going to be much thread holding the piece of clothing together. Observe all the seams, and see how well they keep tight when tugging at them gently. In a poorly made article of clothing, you can often see the stitching starting to loosen up under minimal pressure. Make sure that when you’re evaluating your options, you find something with stitching that holds up under some gentle tugging.

 Wear for intended use

 This may be a no-brainer, but unfortunately, all too many articles of clothing fall victim to mistreatment by activity. For example, wearing a pair of khakis and a dress shirt on the treadmill is not a great idea. It may sound bizarre, but many of us have definitely spotted the older gentleman at the gym exercising in business casual. This is obviously an extreme case, but even things we don’t always notice right away play a big role in the outcome of our clothing’s longevity. Going hiking in sandals and a tight skirt for example, or going for a bike-ride in a pair of chinos. Again, some of these examples might seem ridiculous, but imagine that older gentleman at the gym the next time you’re about to run off into some physical venture, and consider what you’re wearing for the occasion.

Simple tips for every day

a image of  happy lady for Clothing Care post

With quality clothing that has durable stitch work and materials, there are still countless ways to put your clothes’ lives in jeopardy. In fact, most of the crucial errors are made at home, not in the factory. The first thing to pay attention to is washing/drying care. Oftentimes, the specific information and instructions on wash care can be found on a tag, or on the brands website. It is important to pay attention to the materials at play for each article of clothing. Some materials require warm water, some cold. Some can be machine-dried day after day and show little to no distress, but others will begin to shrink the moment you close the dryer door. Make sure to follow the washing instructions carefully, and it never hurts to be extra cautious, and allow certain tops and bottoms to air dry when you aren’t exactly sure what to do.

Another thing to watch out for while washing clothes are the zippers and buttons. To avoid snags and tears, make sure each pair of jeans, slacks, button-down shirts, and jackets are zipped up, or buttoned all the way to the top. Ensuring that all your articles are securely fastened will protect them against getting caught on other clothing, or the machine itself. It’s easy to forget, but a good habit to get into is to fully fasten all of your clothing before it even goes in the dirty laundry bin. This way, you won’t have to worry about sifting through your clothes on laundry day making sure everything is in order.

Sometimes things need to be washed. You don’t want to be going to the gym in the same, unwashed outfit you wore yesterday, and maybe even the day before. Personal hygiene is always a priority. However, there are occasions where not everything needs to be put through the wash cycle every time you wear it. Certain articles such as denim, pants, shorts, outerwear such as hoodies, pullovers, sweaters, or jackets can be washed far less frequently than they often are. This is definitely a judgement call, as some individuals may sweat through clothing at a higher rate than others, but typically, a pair of jeans, or a jacket can go several wears without needing a wash. 

Folding is something that most people probably wouldn’t expect to make much of a difference, but it actually holds high importance in the world of clothing care. While folding a shirt, or a pair of pants, try to fold along the seam lines. Follow the stitching and keep the regions of fabric between them laying flat and unrolled. When articles of clothing are folded carelessly, the seams can get tugged at, twisted, or folded in a way that puts stress on the stitching. These rules all apply for traveling as well, so make sure you pack your suitcase with care!

Knowing what you have

At the end of the day, there are a thousand little things that could be damaging your clothing, or at least reducing their lifespan. The important thing to remember is to be aware of what you have, as in the materials, fabrics, and needs that go along with them. Clothing care isn't always obvious, but take time and try to notice the little things you do each day. Take your time while putting your clothes away, or packing for a trip, and don’t be afraid to air dry a few extra pieces each week. Always keep an eye out for poorly made pieces of attire and hasty stitch work. You don’t have to pay top dollar for a long-lasting, durable shirt, or pair of pants, but remember to try and spot the difference between cheap, and cheaply made. If you are looking for well made clothes take a look at our shop