I’ve learned that striving for sustainable fashion involves a lot more than just buying from eco-fashion brands. It starts with making the most of the clothes you already have and that includes making them last longer.
My own style of dressing is fairly minimalist, in the main just leveraging plain staple items. For that reason, I shouldn’t have the need to be constantly buying clothes. I’ve figured out, however, that a good percentage of my clothes purchasing is to replace clothes that are looking worn and faded or have lost their shape. This is costing me money as well as damaging the environment with a continuous purchasing cycle.
Same for you? What can we do about it? Well, I sent a couple of days trying to read everything I could about how to make clothes longer. This is what I learned:
The 40 tips!
- Wash your clothes less often. This is the number one tip that I found everywhere. Other than underwear, you don’t need to wash everything after one wear
- Buy higher quality clothing
- Don’t dry-clean frequently
- Don’t overload your washing machine
- Wash at lower temperatures
- Use less detergent in your washing
- Wash inside out to preserve colour
- Avoid the tumble dryer, use a clothes-horse or washing line
- Store clothes somewhere cool and dry
- Fold knitwear, don’t hand them
- Use better quality wooden hangars
- Use the right settings on your iron for the garment you’re ironing
- Follow the laundry label instructions
- Iron inside out
- Handwash jumpers and delicates
- Treat stains quickly
- Sort your laundry into groups before washing
- Button and zip fastenings before washing so that they don’t snag other clothes
- Don’t overpack your wardrobe, gives clothes room to breathe
- Try steaming your clothes rather than ironing
- Keep shoes in dust bags
- Don’t keep clothes in plastic dry-cleaning covers
- Don’t dry dark colours in direct sunlight
- Stuff shoes with tissue paper to keep their shape
- Spot clean stains rather than washing the whole garment
- Use wooden shoe trees to maintain shape
- If wooden shoe trees would be too expensive, stuff your shoes with newspaper between use
- Rotate your shoes. Don’t wear the same pair every day
- Polish leather shoes. Use waterproof spray on suede.
- Replace soles before they wear too much and damage the rest of the shoe
- Clean white marks on leather shoes with distilled white vinegar on a cotton bud
- Avoid putting shoes by a radiator to dry them out
- Don’t just pile shoes on top of each other. Keep them in boxes, a rack or show organiser
- Dry woollens flat in their natural shape
- Dress according to your activity. If you’re doing something that’s likely to generate a mess, wear old clothes (this is fairly obvious but nonetheless a good reminder to me!)
- Use a stain remover pen to spot clean rather than washing the whole item
- Shower regularly and use deodorant. If you smell better, so will your clothes and hence they’ll need less washing.
- Check the furniture you use regularly, like your office chair or desk and consider how they’re rubbing on your clothing (e.g. shirt cuffs on the edge of a desk). Adjust position to compensate.
- Wear an apron when cooking! Again obvious, but I never do that!
- Moths are apparently on the increase in the UK! Keep moths away from your wardrobe; clean your wardrobe out regularly and hang dried lavender bags.
So there you go! Forty ways to reduce the need to buy as much clothing. What do you think? Are these practical? Are there any other tips that I’ve missed?