Some of the best money tips aren’t trendy ones. Instead, they rely on looking back at the way people used to do things a century or more ago. For example, you can look to the past to learn to extend the life of your clothing. When clothes were made to last, and people repaired them again and again, much less money was spent on fashion. Learn how to take care of your own clothing well and reduce this aspect of your personal budget considerably.
First, Quit Fast Fashion
There are many ways to extend the life of your clothing. However, you have to begin with a good product. A low-quality product isn’t going to last for a long time no matter how well you take care of it. Therefore, we all must start now by quitting fast fashion. It’s much more cost-effective to pay a little bit more for high-quality clothing (shop around, it doesn’t have to be a lot more) than to buy something cheap that only lasts for one or two wears.
Moreover, fast fashion isn’t just bad for your budget. It’s also bad for the planet. If you haven’t ever watched The True Cost documentary, go watch it now. It will give you great insight into all of the problems that exist with the fast fashion industry. You’ll feel better about yourself quitting fast fashion. Invest in solid, timeless pieces that are designed to last. Then learn how to extend the life of your clothing to get the most out of those pieces.
6 Tips For Buying Long-Lasting Clothing
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you switch away from fast fashion and towards items that last:
- Forego seasonal, trendy items. They usually aren’t designed to last. Moreover, even if they do last, you aren’t likely to wear them often. You want items you’re going to get a lot of wear out of over a long period of time.
- Feel the fabric. You want to choose a thicker fabric. The New York Times recommends “a fabric weight of around six ounces per square yard” for t-shirts, for example, and 10-14 ounces per square yard for jeans. Of course, most of us don’t know what this means in practical terms so they further suggest: if you can see your hand through the fabric, it’s probably too thin.
- Generally speaking, choose natural fabrics (cotton, linen, wool) rather than polyester and other synthetic fabrics.
- Check the seams at the stress points (for example, the knees and elbows). These should be well-stitched and appear durable. Look for even stitching. Stretch it apart from a little and check for strength and flexibility.
- For dressier clothes, make sure that they have a lining. Slacks and dresses with linings will generally last longer than those without.
- If you find a store and/or brand that you love for durable clothing, stick with it!
How to Extend the Life of Your Clothing
Once you have purchased the right clothing, you need to properly care for it, wear it well, and learn how to repair what gets damaged over time.
Extend the Life of Your Clothing with Proper Care and Cleaning
One of the things that you should look at when purchasing new clothing is the label that tells you how to care for the item. If an item requires a lot of special care, you should consider whether it’s worth the investment. If you’re the type who looks at a label that says, “dry clean only” and wonders if you can get away with tossing it in the washing machine, then you aren’t going to have clothes that last. You should skip the dry clean clothes if you’re not going to care for them properly. (Plus, it’s expensive to dry clean clothes, so if you want to save money on clothing, this isn’t a top choice.)
With whatever you do buy, follow the care instructions on the label. You can also research the best washing options for specific fabrics and fabric combinations. If you care for the fabric the way that it’s meant to be cared for, you will extend the life of your clothing.
7 Tips for Better Care of Clothing
With that in mind, here are some general guidelines for proper care to extend the life of your clothing:
- Wash your clothes when they’re dirty but not before. You don’t want clothes to sit around with too much dirt on them as that can impact the fabric. However, if you only wore a pair of jeans for an hour and they’re still clean, you don’t need to wash them, yet. Be smart about how often you wash your clothing.
- Change out of nicer clothes as quickly as possible. Change work clothes, school clothes, and dressy clothes right after you get home. Whether or not they need to be washed, at least you’re minimizing their usage.
- Wash your clothes in cold water. It’s almost always unnecessary to wash clothing in hot water. Doing so often shortens their life span.
- Wash your clothing inside out. If you iron your clothes, you can iron them inside out as well.
- Dry your clothes on the line. The heat from the dryer isn’t good for your clothes. If you must use a dryer, try a low-heat or air-dry setting.
- Use soft, natural detergents and cleaners. You can even make your own, which will likely save you money at home while you extend the life of your clothing.
- Avoid stains by using aprons and napkins when cooking and eating. Spot clean any messes right away so that you don’t have long-lasting stains that ruin your clothing. If you have to use bleach, you’re shortening the life span of your clothing.
Extend the Life of Your Clothing with DIY Repairs
The most obvious thing that you need to learn how to do to extend the life of your clothing is to learn how to sew. First of all, you should definitely know how to sew on buttons. They often fall off and yet they are so easy to repair and replace. Do it yourself to save costs instead of taking the clothing to a tailor.
Next, learn how to repair simple tears. With high-quality clothing, you shouldn’t see too many tears at the seams. Nevertheless, accidents happen. You don’t have to toss away a good piece of clothing when it has a simple tear in it. Instead, some simple sewing skills will help you extend the wearability of the item.
Embrace the distressed style. Certain clothing, such as jeans, can still be worn even after some damage. Rips in the knees of jeans are often on-trend. Funky patches with a retro flair can also dress up torn jeans or a denim jacket. Also, look for ways to Upcycle / repurpose slightly damaged clothing. Cut off worn sweater sleeves; make a vest of the sweater and use the sleeves as leg warmers or arm warmers. Use very old clothing as cleaning rugs. Make the most out of every item before you throw it away.
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