As I get older, I’m beginning to learn that there are more important things than clothes. Ugh! It pains me to even form that sentence; however, it’s true. While it used to be a priority to dress hundreds of dollars beyond my means, I have had to put my money towards less fabulous things such as food, water and electricity. Though I may not have the latest BCBG wedges, I won’t look emaciated and un-showered and I will have enough light in my apartment to visually see the depressing predicament that is the lack of funding that goes into my surprisingly fashionable ensemble.
Thus, since I don’t have a lot of expendable income to go buy the latest fashions, I have to make do with the stuff I already have. Do I walk around looking like a hot mess from three seasons ago? Only on Sunday, but most days, it’s not obvious to the non-budgeteer eye. It can be challenging at times but with a little care and a lot of creativity, you can keep your closet dapper and your outfits on point.
When it comes to making a piece of clothing last, the biggest thing is to ensure its lifespan. You do this by taking the time to properly wash your clothes. Surprisingly, a lot of people don’t wash their clothes the way they are supposed to. A big don’t is throwing all your clothes in one load and washing them in cold water. You’re not in college people! While I suppose this leans toward water conservation, at some point, the conservation of fashion has to become more valuable (as hippies turn in their graves, Gianni Versace is somewhere doing victory dances). It’s all about priorities, people. So here are a few laundry tips that in part I learned from my mother and mostly learned from my years as a self-proclaimed Google analyst (it’s easy to do, just doubt yourself often and Google everything).
Wash by fabric type and color: When you sort your clothes, pay attention to the type of fabric, whether something has zippers and buttons and what color it is. All of your jeans should be in one pile, while all of your light T-shirts go in another. You should have piles of darks, whites and lights as well as jeans, silk-likes and cottons. While washing a cotton T-shirt and a cotton hoodie together seems harmless, it is actually incredibly damaging to your shirts to have things like zippers and buttons beating against them in the washer. It is also a good idea to turn your graphic T-shirts inside out to help preserve the image longer.
Read the label: There are washing instructions on your clothes for a reason. The labels help you further sort your clothes into temperature and setting piles. Some clothes will be warm water, tumble dry low, and others will be cold water, gentle cycle and lay flat to dry. The labels are mostly important because they help you determine your delicate pile. This pile is perhaps the most important because more than likely it contains your most expensive clothes.
Zip up jackets and jeans: Leaving the zipper down on your pants and jackets means you’re making your other clothes in the wash vulnerable to dreaded zipper attacks! Like a hungry shark in the water, zippers can snag and wear out fabrics. I’ve never encountered a shark in person; I just assume that they literally do this.
Fold sweaters and T-shirts: This is important because putting sweaters and T-shirts on hangers can actually stretch them. They also give them weird Lady Gaga shoulders over time and who wants to look like that train wreck? Even if you use non-plastic hangers that help protect the shoulders, you are still gradually stretching the material downwards.
Save your buttons: You know all those crazy buttons that come with all your new clothes in a little plastic bag? Save them! Most people toss them but when you lose a button in the wash, you need to be able to go to your button drawer and sew another one back on. How tragic would it be to throw away an entire shirt because of a silly button? I don’t like to mourn my clothes.
So those are some preventative measures I take to marathon my clothes through the seasons. While taking the time to do your laundry properly will definitely cut into your time laying around the house and doing nothing (I only assume that people who do laundry in one load do this), it is completely worth it to not have to shell out the money for new wardrobe pieces.
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Turn Your Rags into Riches
— When you get a bleach stain on a shirt, don’t toss it! I saw on Pinterest where this girl took a Tide bleach pen and drew a really cool design over the stain. She let it sit for about five-minutes and then tossed it in the wash. It came out looking like something she bought from Urban Outfitters.
— Instead of buying new outfits to keep up with the Kardashians, invest in inexpensive costume jewelry pieces. You can easily find a big statement necklace for $10 that can be worn with several outfits and keep you looking like a million bucks.
— If you have a pair of heels that are all dented, scratched and torn at the stem, go buy some gems or studs and super glue them up the stem and back of the heel. A lot of shoe designers such as Christian Louboutin are actually doing this now.