Designer jeans: $120. Lambs wool sweater: $70. Protecting your investment:
Your wardrobe is a huge investment.You spend time, energy and — most importantly — money on building an impressive array of denim, cardigans, suits and blouses. Yet it seems like it becomes less of a priority to take care of them and thus, all these high-priced items need to be replaced.
In lieu of the upcoming spending craze that proceeds Christmas, it’s important to take some time to read the labels on your clothing and make a resolution to take better care of them so you won’t be forced to replace everything. Maintenance is not hard if it is practiced regularly. This week, I offer you a few tips on how to preserve your wardrobe.
First, washing can cause your clothes to wear faster. So don’t use fabric softener every time you wash. This can weaken the fibers and cause them to get holes or, even worse, make them flammable. Another thing to remember is denim is dyed and has been stressed already in the process of its creation. That’s why important to either buy denim detergent or dry clean your denim to extend its life.
This is my favorite Denim wash by The Laundress (www.thelaundress.com) Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and use cold water. And remember, if you're not sure, be safe and use less. (less is more)
Dark denims such as black, navy or gray can be dry cleaned to protect the color. If hung up in the closet (not tossed on your bed or on the floor), jeans can last two to three weeks before needing to be cleaned or ironed again. This also depends on how often you wear a particular pair of jeans (everyone has a favorite). You can also use denim soap to hand wash your jeans.
Second, everything doesn’t go in the dryer and everything doesn’t go in the washing machine. Sweaters, blouses and tunics are perfect examples of clothing that can be ruined in the washing machine. If the tag says “hand wash,” clean out your bathroom or utility sink, run mild to warm water and use a detergent that is not too concentrated so you can clean the clothing without leaving soap in the fibers. If it says gentle, use the gentle cycle because normal agitation might be too harsh. Also, brands such as Woolite and Cheer have special formulated detergents that help retain color and tighten fibers.
Washing machines can be pretty harsh on your clothes. If the clothes are made of more sensitive material, they are more likely to rip, unthread or stretch out in the washer or shrink in the dryer.
Finally, take the time to sort your clothes. I know in college it might seem cheaper to wash things in large loads but, in the long run, you could ruin your clothes by bleeding colors, shrinking or ripping. Then you will have to invest in new clothes. If you can only do three loads, try to do at least one gentle load for your higher-end clothing and save the other two for clothing that can take a beating. If you can only do two loads, do one warm and one cold. Invest in some plastic hangers or a drying rack so that you don’t succumb to the temptation of the dryer.
Clothing is expensive, but with a little care and maintenance, you can make it worth the effort.
Remember. Being a smart consumer isn’t about rebuying and respending. Its about being responsible.
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