Most of us have at least one favourite shirt that we’ve been holding onto for a decade or more. It’s that one comfort-shirt that makes you feel good when you’re wearing it because it has been with you forever. But how can you help guarantee it’ll stay with you a little longer? A few simple preservation tips can help ensure you’ll be wearing your favourite shirts, pants or jackets for a long time.
Title photo by Ray_from_LA.
Do Your Laundry the Right Way
On its own, washing your clothes is the leading reason clothes wear down. Since you probably don’t want to just stop washing your favourite clothing, it’s best to learn a few simple ways to preserve your clothes and still keep them clean. Here are a few ideas for doing just that.
- Wash by Fabric Type, Not by Colour: We’ve mentioned before that sorting your clothes by fabric type is a good way to cut down on your energy bill, but it’s also a good way to keep a t-shirt alive for a long time. The idea is pretty straightforward: when you wash t-shirts together they live longer because they don’t have buttons, zippers or anything else beating them up in the washer. You can also add a pinch of pepper to the wash to keep the colours bright. If you really want to prevent wear, skip the dryer and let them air dry.
- Zip Up Jackets and Jeans: Leaving the zipper down on your pants and jackets means it can get caught up in things and attack any other clothes you have in the wash with it (including other jackets and jeans). When you zip them up they don’t flail around and don’t come out of the dryer all bent up.
- For Everything Else, Follow the Directions: With proper care most clothes can last a really long time. This is especially the case with jackets and sweaters, but only if you follow the directions and clean them properly. Dry cleaning isn’t really the most fun way to take care of clothes, but if you want them to last and the label recommends it then it’s your best option.
Washing your clothes right is just the first step of a larger puzzle to keep them looking good. You also need to store them the correct way. Photo by Horia Varlan.
Take a Few Preventative Measures with Your Storage
Unfortunately, you can’t wear your favourite clothes all the time (unless all your clothes are your favourite clothes) and you have to stick them in a closet or drawer every once and a while. To that end, it’s generally recommended you fold sweaters and t-shirts to help them last longer because putting them on hangers can stretch them out.
If you’re storing your favourite wool sweater over the summer, don’t forget to protect it against moth attacks with either moth balls or a little lavender. Be sure to store clothes in dark, dry places to help them last longer.
Make a Note of Where Your Other Clothes Fail
This might sound a little absurd to most people, but if you’re trying to stretch out the life of your favourite clothes, you have to look back at where your clothes usually fail. It’s likely that it happens in a similar way every single time. For instance, do you consistently blow out the knees in your pants? Do you have the mobile phone line on your jean pockets? Does the bottom of your favourite shirt have little holes where it rubs against a belt buckle?
When you find the root of most failures, you can adjust accordingly for your favourite clothes. If your belt buckle causes some unnecessary wear on your shirt, replace it or simply don’t wear the buckle with that shirt. If you’re not a fan of the mobile phone fade on your jeans, take your phone out when you sit.
Learn the Basics of Mending
You don’t need advanced seamstress skills to keep a pair of your favourite pants, sweaters or button-up shirts in order. You only need to know how to hold a thread and string to replace buttons or patch small holes. For sweaters you can easily mend a snag with nail polish and if all else fails you can still recover your favourite t-shirt by cutting out the image and resewing it.
For the rest of your mending issues, the always knowledgeable Martha Stewart provides any further assistance you might need. The key is to take care of small holes or loose threads quickly before they ruin the clothes completely. Photo by Dvortygirl.
Keeping that vintage Led Zeppelin shirt wearable for a long time isn’t that hard, but it does take a little mental effort. Have some preservation tips of your own? Share your methods in the comments.