Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Care ‘n’ share: making your clothes last longer 1

Lately I’ve been faced with that familiar conundrum: how to make those things you love last longer – because no one wants to bin their number one dress of 2011 as soon as 2012 rolls around just because it’s frayed …

Thu, Nov 24, 2011, 08:30

   

Lately I’ve been faced with that familiar conundrum: how to make those things you love last longer – because no one wants to bin their number one dress of 2011 as soon as 2012 rolls around just because it’s frayed and faded and bobbled up under the arms.

Image via Black Milk

When I think about clothing care, a few anecdotes spring to mind. The first, from when I interviewed Sheana Keane a couple of years back about her cashmere collection (swoon!) and she made a point about the jeans she wore for The Afternoon Show. She told me that she had a pair bought for the show that she loved so much, she bought them for herself – but the ones she washed herself in the machine looked about five years older than the ones used in the show, which were dry-cleaned about once a fortnight. She showed me the two pairs, side by side, and the difference was astonishing. So that’s the bad news: if you love something, dry-clean it. It will last way longer.

The second bit of information was gleaned from a stylist’s tip in Elle; she pointed out that we wash our clothes far more frequently than is necessary, and that we should only wash clothes when they’re dirty – not just because we wore them all day and feel like they kinda should be washed. Since reading it, I’ve taken it on board and not only is my life a lot easier (three washes a week as opposed to five or, more often, six) but I’ve realised how fussy I was being. Now I try to air my clothes instead of washing them; I just hang them in front of a window or in the airing cupboard overnight and the smells that would, 24 hours earlier, have warranted a spin in the washing machine, have disappeared.

So the two points really boil down (ahem) to one: don’t wash your clothes as often. Think about how damaged they’re getting by being spun around in that machine and try to air them, brush them (H&M do clothes brushes by the till for less than €5) or, if they need a good clean, send ‘em to the cleaners’. What are your top tips for getting the most out of your clothes?

This is the first in a series of posts on how to care for your clobber.

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