Over the next few Stylewatch articles I’m going to look at how to tackle some key spring trends. However, before suggesting you go out and invest in any key pieces, I thought it might be wise to first touch on how to take care of the clothes you currently own.
Now before everyone takes offence, I’m not suggesting any of you were born yesterday or don’t know how to wash clothes. However, since moving to London, I have ruined more clothes on which I care to dwell– it may not be worth crying over spilt milk but a stiff silk shirt is another kettle of fish altogether. And just to prove I’m not as silly as my hair colour would have you believe – my mother actually made us do our own washing from about the age of 12.
So, should you still be with me, here are five suggestions that could have saved me some of my favourite Sass and Bide clothes. While it’s too late for them, I hope that I can save some of your clothes (if need be) by sharing my fateful mistakes. And just in case you’re still questioning my credibility, I did work in retail for seven years and saw some very interestingly customised clothes come back after being at the mercy of women of all ages!
1. Read the label
While this seems extremely obvious,trust me, it will be the one time you don’t that will end in disaster – such as my cream silk shirt that I’d just had flown over from Melbourne for example. Even a trip to the drycleaner could not revive my staple shirt for which I’d spent months searching.
Anyway, I digress. Make sure you always read the label carefully and follow what it says. If in doubt, take it to your dry cleaner. But, first, check that is says dry cleanable!
2. Don’t be lazy with your loads
We all know the drill: Whites with whites. Darks with darks.Colours with similar colours. But when you don’t have much washing piled up and are trying to save water, you may be forgiven for thinking that you could wash your light blue top with your whites.
Well, maybe you could, but is it really worth the risk? No, no it is not. Especially if you turn your favourite white $300 top to an unappealing grey tinge.
Pro tip: look at all the same-coloured clothes in this load and then imagine them all turning the shade of the imposter.
3. Some clothes aren’t friends
This relates to the above but is actually focused on the housing arrangements of your beloved garments. Let me elaborate. My most recent failing: the other weekend I pulled out my favourite red-coloured jeans – yes, very cool, very expensive (when you work in retail you get discounts) – and when I went to put them on, I noticed, to my horror, that they were covered in some black marks. I’d had them folded on top of a cheap pair of Zara black pleather leggings, and the black had transferred onto my precious pants.
One spot clean and wash later, I still haven’t found a way to fix them.And after reading the label (see point one), I read that it warned of this exact situation. So the moral of the story is, don’t just throw your clothes in your wardrobe or cupboard. Spend a few minutes thinking about how best to house each item. This goes for the hangers you use – once you’ve gone velvet or wood you’ll never go back to wire – and acknowledging that some items, such as knits, do not want to hang in your wardrobe, but, rather, be folded, thank you very much.
4. There’s clean and then there’s clean
I’m not suggesting you walk around in dirty, smelly clothes,but having said that, there’s no need to wash every item after you’ve worn it once. Sure, it’s tempting, because that way you don’t have to put it away. But washing ultimately wears clothes down and shortens their lifespan.
So, where possible, spot-clean what you can. Air out clothes that need to breathe but aren’t necessarily dirty, and get creative with how you clean your clothes. Google is your best friend too. Just today, I learnt that you can remove dirt from wool with a garment brush. Every one less wash counts…
5. Don’t let drying be your downfall
Right, so it’s survived the wash and seems clean. Yet human nature is to breathe a sigh of relief and throw the entire load on the clothes horse and get back to enjoying your life.
But wait! We’re not in the clear yet. Not all clothes want to dry in the same way. I know it’s tedious, but take the time to properly hang clothes that can be hung with their seams straight, so that they won’t get any unsightly creases or snags. Think about where you place pegs to avoid marks, and for those clothes that don’t want to be hung (those high-maintenance knits again), find a safe spot to lay them flat. While it’s beyond boring at the time, when you go to put them away and wear them next, you’ll be happy they sit straight and aren’t misshapen.
Do you have another helpful reminder or tip to share with our community? Say it in the comments for the sake of all our favourite clothes!