We all have those times when you head to shops, not really hoping to find much, and pick up a random item you end up falling in love with. You wear it over and over again, for loads of occasions, and it never seems to date.
I’ll admit this doesn’t happen very often for me and I’m usually frustrated with my wardrobe in the mornings, but when I do find something I really love I make sure I take care of it. After all, there’s nothing worse than finding the perfect dress only for the colour to fade or the material to go bobbly.
So, if you want to keep your clothes looking as nice as they did the day you bought them, follow my handy guide to looking after your garments.
WASHING & DRYING
Read the care labels: This might sound like an obvious one, but you wouldn’t believe the number of people who just shove their clothes in the machine on a 40 degree cycle and hope for the best. My boyfriend included! If the care label tells you to wash on a cold or delicate cycle, do it!
I’d recommend hand-washing any delicate items by mixing a bit of your usual washing power or liquid in the sink. Squeeze as much water out of them as possible and hang them over your bath until enough water has dripped away to continue drying outdoors or on a clothes horse.
Which wash to use: So, how do you know which wash to use on each item of clothing? When you look at the care label you’ll see a symbol that looks like a little tub of water – this means it can be machine washed. The number inside (usually 30, 40 or 90) will tell you the temperature. If there are lines under the symbol it needs to go on a delicate wash.
If the tub of water has a hand in it, this means the garment should only be washed by hand. If the garment needs to be dry cleaned, it will state Dry Clean Only on the care label. You can also take items to the dry cleaners for delicate washes if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself.
Don’t over-wash clothes: Washing clothes will, over time, affect the material. If you’ve only had a T-shirt on for half an hour to nip to the shops there isn’t really any need to wash it! Fold it up and wear it again to make the material last longer.
Tackling stains: Stains can be a nightmare and ruin your favourite clothes – dab (don’t rub!) stains with ice water as soon as they happen to ensure they don’t set in to the material.
Drying clothes: The best way to dry clothes is by hanging them up outside. This helps stop them from shrinking, blows out creases and gets them dry fast. Reshape T-shirts as soon as you’ve washed them to stop the side seams from getting twisted – once the damage has been done it’s tricky to realign the seams again. Similarly, reshape jumpers while they’re still damp to stop them from shrinking or twisting.
If you don’t have an outdoor space, use a clothes horse. Make sure you shake out the clothes before hanging them instead of leaving them scrunched up – they’ll dry much better and make your life a lot easier when it comes to ironing. Hang heavier items (like denim jeans) on the outside and lighter T-shirts or underwear in the middle/at the bottom.
Do it in sections: I know lots of people hate ironing, but I actually quite enjoy it because it’s something easy I can stand and do when I’m watching TV. The trick is to take your time – if you try to speed through your laundry you’ll end up ironing more creases in and it’ll take even longer.
With any garment, make sure you match up the seams before ironing to stop items from twisting. Never iron over seams – this leaves an imprint in the material that won’t go until it’s washed again.
I find it easier to start with smaller areas, like sleeves, and then work on the body of the garment, laying it flat on the ironing board and slowing moving it up bit by bit, rather than trying to iron the whole thing down the length of the board in one go.
ARRANGEMENT & STORAGE
Folding/hanging clothes: When you’ve washed and ironed your clothes, hang or fold them up properly– they’ll never stay in good condition if you leave them screwed up in a pile in a drawer. Fold them neatly and do up buttons on shirts and trousers when they’re hanging– it’ll help keep the shape better. When you’re folding things try to follow the existing seams– it means you won’t add extra creases and it’ll help keep the clothes in better shape.
Storing seasonal clothes: Unless you’ve got a wardrobe to rival the closets in the Kardashians’ house, chances are you’ll need extra storage at certain times of the year. When it’s warm it pays to fold up jumpers to make more room, while you can put your hot pants and sandals away during colder seasons.
The best way to do this is using a clear plastic container– this means you’ll easily be able to see what’s inside. Make sure your clothes are clean and neatly folded (the rules above still apply!) and add a few cedar balls to repel bugs that would damage your clothes when they’re being stored for months at a time.
These might seem like simple things but in the long-run they’ll make all the difference and mean your favourite dress lasts a lifetime!
This post is written by Olivia Golding, who is an aspiring writer based in Manchester, UK. She has a keen interest in all things fashion and has a lot of love for a multitude of brands, including Missguided dresses! We hope you’ve enjoyed this post and have found it useful, and if you have tips of your own, we’d love for you to share and leave them in the comments section below. xx