First off, I want to thank my good friend Georgio for inspiring me to write this post. It’s something that’s never crossed my mind as a post idea, since I always assume that people do this kind of stuff without thinking too much about it. But I’ve realized that focusing on this topic could serve as a guide to some or simply provide a few pointers on garment maintenance for everyone. Even simple ‘maintenance’ things can keep our clothes looking new and presentable, which is ultimately a form of politeness, since you’re presenting yourself in the best possible manner. It’s not very sustainable to constantly buy more, so it doesn’t hurt to take care of what you already own!
There is a lot of content out there (including my own) that mostly focuses on new pieces or reviewing something currently ‘in style’, but we tend to miss that subject of the clothing from ‘before’, as well as taking care of it. Many people simply get sick of certain styles and decide to move on by selling or donating – and there’s nothing wrong with that! But for those who want to maintain the quality of their clothing while having it, there’s a few things to keep in mind.
It’s important to know how to take care of existing garments to extend their longevity. It saves you money and you get to appreciate the existing pieces more. It’s not rocket science and anyone can do it but it does take a bit of effort. Yes, it’s great to add new pieces to your wardrobe here and there, but not through large shopping hauls. I get that it’s nice to have new looks every time you’re out, especially from a fashion perspective, but most of the time, people don’t even notice that you’ve worn something before! We’re our own biggest critics and we overthink things too much.
While some things are obvious (like keeping your clothes clean without washing and drying them too often), you still want to keep in mind the garment’s particular needs, which is usually listed on the garment’s tag. But here are a few simple things you can do to get the most out of every piece in your wardrobe:
1. Iron or steam your shirts
No one appreciates a wrinkled shirt. We’ve all been there and it’s not a good look. It shows a lack of effort and carelessness, which again – no one is a fan of. It’s okay if you’re wearing casual t-shirts and such, but for work and other important things, it’s good to have a nice crisp shirt. If you’re too lazy to get an ironing board, try steaming. It’s super easy and affordable since you can pick up a steamer like this for very little. All you gotta do is prepare adequately and it doesn’t take much effort!
2. Dry clean or hand wash
Some garments simply can’t take being machine washing or drying since those processes ruin the fabric over time. So for suits and other fragile pieces, consider hand washing if you’ve got the time (you can do it in your bathtub easily) or even getting dry cleaning if you’re a little lazier. Yes, dry cleaning can get a little pricey, so many people don’t resort to it very often, but there are other options that are reasonable. In fact, my friends at Mr. Baffo have made it really easy to dry clean since they’ll actually pick up your garments once a week and do all the in-between for you. All you have to do is leave your garments at your concierge or front door. I’ll actually be writing a post soon about my great experience with them since they really simplify every aspect of getting your laundry done.
3. Do seasonal clean ups
This one is easier said than done. It takes a bit of motivation to get up and gut your wardrobe every once in a while, but it’s really worth it. It keeps everything organized and you get rid of what you don’t need anymore, while gaining appreciation for the pieces you truly care for. That way, you can have an idea about what you can work with for the season (in terms of outfit combinations etc.)
4. Fold your clothing and get shoe trees
Everything that my closet doesn’t have room for (ex. t-shirts, workout gear), I end up folding and putting away in drawers. It’s easier to throw off a shirt and worry about it later, but taking the time to quickly fold it maintains the shape of the shirt, while also clearing your mind a bit. I also feel that this subconsciously adds more value to the garment, because you take your time with it and put it away nicely. I learned how to do this quickly and it’s saved me a lot of time!
Secondly, shoe trees are very important for your boots, sneakers and loafers, especially if they’re leather. They help maintain the shape of the footwear while preventing cracking and the wood also wicks away moisture (to prevent rotting and damaging of the shoe). It’s not easy for someone to get used to these right away, so I suggest getting a few for your more expensive shoes. You can find them all over the internet, but here’s a recommendation.
5. Use proper hangers
This is important since it is often overlooked. In fact, I was guilty of this for a long time. But get yourself proper hangers! If you have a nice blazer, don’t hang it up on a small wire hanger. It’ll damage the shape of the jacket over time, causing a fabric fold when you wear it next. It doesn’t look good, and the last thing you want is a jacket that looks awkward because of the way it is hung. You’ll actually thank me for this later! (But don’t be afraid to use wire hangers for shirts, that’s totally fine… even though wooden hangers are obviously better)