I have noticed that many of my clients feel that even if they invest in good clothing brands, their garments do not last long in good condition.
Is this because brands are reducing the quality of their products, or is it because we don't know how to take proper care of our clothes? Well, I'm here today to show you why it is so important to take adequate care of your clothes and how you can ensure all of your garments last longer.
It is important not to idealize clothing brands. Their marketing teams have been working for many years to make you think they have unique garments and are all worth it, but unfortunately, this concept is incorrect. The same brand can work with exceptional fabrics and patterns when they produce coats, but the quality leaves much to be desired when it comes to shirts.
But in some of my client's cases, we have concluded that the garments' maintenance and care are inadequate; that's why they don't last as long as they should. The fact is that even if your clothes are very expensive or come from a well-known brand, you can still damage them if you're not careful.
The good news is that there are things you can do to make sure you keep your favourite garments in good condition for a long time! In this post, I will explain how to take better care of your clothes to make them last longer and how to buy fewer garments so you won't be contributing to the fashion industry's waste problem.
We will also look at the symbols on the labels of the clothes and what they mean. There are many factors that can affect the longevity of your garments. Proper care will help keep them in good shape for years. However, no matter how good you are at caring for your clothes, they cannot last forever. Eventually, you will have to replace them with new ones. But you can extend their life by taking care of them properly and storing them carefully when not in use.
We are going to start by understanding the information the labels provide us. In each garment we buy, we find labels (yes, those itchy ones that we use to finish cutting them) explaining where it is made, the different fabrics are made of the garment, how to wash it, how to iron it and whether it can be tumble dried or not, among many other things. And although it all seems very obvious and clear, sometimes we have a hard time understanding exactly what we should do to take care of our clothes and maintain them in the best possible way.
Do you know how to take care of your garments properly? Many times those strange symbols that we see on the labels are odd to us, and we don't know how to interpret them; that's why in this post, I will tell you how to take care of every garment you have in your wardrobe and avoid that they can shrink, lose colour or break due to inadequate care. In short, by reading these labels and understanding their materials, you will be able to make your garment last ten years instead of two.
We can start with the laundry washing symbols. These symbols give you information about the temperature you should use; it can be indicated with the dots as you see in the picture or with the number of degrees. Another thing you will find here is the washing machine program you can use; it can be normal, perm press or delicate. Also, you can see a cross, which means that you can not wash it, or a hand which means it needs to be hand washed. If you can not wash it at home, you will find a circle representing dry clean only.
Now other complicated symbols are the drying ones. This information tells you if you can dry your garments in the tumble dryer, the heat they can support or if you need to let them naturally dry. Be very careful with drying; this can cause your clothes to shrink and, in some cases, can even ruin them. If you leave them to dry naturally, I recommend taking them from the machine as soon as they are dry, so they don't go stiff.
To conclude with weird symbols, we find the iron symbol, which is also very important because it tells you how hot you can iron your garments; if you see a dot, it means that you should iron it at a low temperature, while if you see three dots, it means you can iron it at high heat. Then you can find an iron with some lines under which means that you can steam it, or a cross that means not to iron it at all.
Having all this information about the symbols will help you a lot to take care of the clothes you have in your wardrobe, but it will also help you to know what fabrics your clothes are made of. There are two kinds of fabrics, natural and synthetic. Natural fabrics are cotton, linen, wool and silk. Synthetic fabrics are acrylic, polyester and spandex. Now it is essential to know which kind of fabric you have in your wardrobe to treat them the right way.
Cotton: it is a natural fabric great for every season of the year. It is very good in winter because it is able to keep the body warm, but it can also keep you cool in summer because of its breathability. On the other hand, ironing can be tricky, and it is not very resistant to wrinkles. You can wash in the washing machine very easily and without ruining it; I suggest washing at up to 40 degrees.
Linen: it is also a natural fabric but very different from cotton because instead of fibres, it is woven from flat yarns. It is usually used for summer clothes to keep yourself cold. The con of this fabric is the wrinkly effect, but as cotton, you can wash it in your washing machine in a regular program at up to 30 degrees.
Wool: another natural fabric; this one is better to use in the winter season. It keeps your body warm, but also it is breathable, so do not overheat yourself and sweat too much when wearing it. Because of its fibres, you cannot put it in the washing machine unless you have a special program in your matching for wool or delicate fabrics, but you can take it to dry cleaners for some maintenance.
Silk: a very soft and elegant natural fabric; this one can be a little bit hard to work with as it can be very fragile and not very practical, as it can be destroyed by water stains and cuts easily, so I highly recommend to follow the label instruction and take it to the dry cleaner if need it.
Synthetic fabrics such as polyester, acrylic and spandex are all man-made fibres made from petroleum or natural gas derivatives. You can find any garment made of these materials. They are effortless to keep clean because of their resistance to water and stain removal characteristics, and they are very durable. The con is that they are not breathable and tend to overheat your body very fast. Besides, many of them have static on them, so they stick to your body, an uncomfortable feeling when wearing blouses or dresses.
To sum up, read the labels of your garments carefully and before you buy the item think if you would be able to take care of it as the label says. Buy those which are easy to wear and easy to care for also, try to keep your clothes as long as possible since everything has a life cycle and if you can keep things longer it means you buy fewer new clothes and you will be more sustainable.
I hope these tips help you take care of your clothes, and you can enjoy your garments for longer.