Category: Quality Wardrobe

How to take proper care of your clothes

Creating a capsule wardrobe means investing in quality. Taking care of your clothes is a crucial step in creating a wardrobe that will last. |aheartymatter.com

If you follow my capsule wardrobe on this blog and my daily outfits on instagram, you will have noticed two things: (1) I tend to wear the same things over and over again – I’m a believer in uniform dressing, and (2) I own quite a few items that have been in my closet for years. I started my quest to buy quality clothing several years ago, but adopting the capsule wardrobe concept has given me more dedication to work towards a quality wardrobe. When you limit the number of pieces in your closet, you will inevitably want to invest in high-quality clothes and accessories at some point. A capsule wardrobe not only means that you buy fewer pieces of clothing throughout the year. By having fewer items in your wardrobe your clothes will get a lot more wear. Quality clothes are the ultimate goal. Having pieces that look good from the distance and upclose.

With this post on taking care of your clothes I add to my little mini-series on how to achieve a high quality wardrobe.

When it comes to taking care of my clothes, I like to keep it simple and practical. I certainly want to wear my clothes for several years, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time and energy on taking care of them. So my tips are super simple and don’t require any gadgets.

Taking care starts before buying

When you think of it taking care of your clothes really starts in the store, before that first laundry cycle – with buying the right clothes. Buying high-quality clothes is really the first step towards caring for your wardrobe. But you also need to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into. When you try on clothes and check the label for the material (as part of your quality-check), take the time and look at the care instructions. What is the recommended way of treating the garment? Is this something you are willing to do? I love the idea of wearing a silk blouse – it sounds so incredibly chic – but I know that in the busyness of my day-to-day life going to the dry cleaner to have my silk blouse cleaned is not going to happen. So I don’t buy silk. Be honest upfront, so you can really fully enjoy your clothes after you swiped your card.

Take better care of your clothes and create a wardrobe to last. | aheartymatter.com

Wash them right

Do you really need to wash it? This is an area I am still working on, because my initial reaction to wearing something is to throw it in the laundry hamper. But most clothes can be worn more than once. Now, a button up I wore to work for a full 10 hour day will go straight to laundry (hence the high number of shirts in my capsule), but if I wore something only for a couple of hours, airing it out is usually enough. Especially denim and wool can be worn way longer than you may think.

When you decide to wash, pay attention to the label. Here’s a little guide to what the symbols mean. Don’t wash the garment warmer than recommended as that is a surefire way to reduce the longevity of your garment. Sort your clothes and only wash similar colors (yes, this is where a color palette for you capsule comes in handy). Dark colors and denim are prone to bleeding and you don’t want that on your whites. Also turn your clothes inside out to wash them as this is more gentle and most items will hold up longer that way. Lastly, put everything delicate (bras, everything with lace or sequins) in a mesh bag as this is not only more gentle, but also prevents your delicates to get caught in  the rest of the laundry. Let’s prevent those hooks-of-your-bra-get-caught-in-a-loose-knit situations as they aren’t fun – not that I know 😉

Dry them right

Try to limit the dryer as much as possible. I have to admit that I am guilty of using the dryer more than I should. I have thrown garments in the dryer even though the label tells you not to. Sometimes, with a busy schedule, I am compelled to go the lazy route. Please be smarter than me. But, let’s face it sometimes practicality is the route to go.

For those moments I will share a tip with you that I’ve figured out when I want to use my dryer even though I shouldn’t. Now, before I share, a little disclaimer: (1) please don’t put wool, cashmere, or other delicates in the dryer, no matter how desperately you want them to be dry fast. That never ends well – unless of course your goal was to shrink your pullover by 3 sizes. (2) please use your brain. You’re smart, so please think about if (and with what clothes) you want to give my tip a try. When I want to use the dryer for clothes that according to the label aren’t supposed to go in the dryer (like jeans or cotton tops or  cotton knits), I use the program for sportswear on my dryer (if you’re curious, that’s the dryer we have). Because sportswear is delicate and breathable the program is more gentle and doesn’t dry on such a high temperature as other programs.

Drying outside is better for your clothes (and your electricity bill). But be careful with direct sunlight. The sun can fade out colors and really hot dry weather isn’t ideal either, because the clothes are dried really fast (similar to a hot program in the dryer). If you live in such a climate dry clothes in the shade or early morning/ late afternoon when the sun isn’t as powerful as at noon.

Storing your clothes the right way can make a huge difference in how well the garment lasts. Learn more tips on clothing care to create a wardrobe that lasts. | aheartymatter.com

Store them right

Once your clothes are dry store them right away. I like to hang my button ups, my dresses, and those clothes that have more structure. The rest of them is folded. I fold my clothes so they stand on the edge (instead of flat), but I wouldn’t say that I follow the Marie Kondo way of folding. My folding is certainly inspired by her, but I really just winged it. Personally, I like to not have everything on hangers for aesthetics and to better see what’s in my closet. But even if you like to have everything on hangers, store your knits folded. Storing knits on hangers damages the texture and knits may lose their shape. And lastly the obvious tip: no matter how you store your clothes, make sure they aren’t crammed. Your clothes want to breathe, and giving them room also prevents them from wrinkles.

Taking good care of you clothes will not only give you a new level of appreciation for your clothes, it will create the foundation for a wardrobe that will last.

Have you struggled taking good care of your clothes?

Do you have any tips on how to make your clothes last longer?

I certainly struggled with storing my clothes right pre-capsule. My closet was always so full, and at some point the clothes would just be thrown in there (I know…). Now that my closet is paired down and I only store the clothes of my capsule in my closet, it’s so much easier to keep everything neat and organized, and therefore my clothes are stored appropriately.

 

Kate

Kate is a capsule wardrobe and uniform dressing enthusiast who encourages busy women to embrace a smaller wardrobe and a more intentional lifestyle.
Kate continues to work on simplifying her life – freeing up time and energy on those things in life that are most important to her.

How to buy quality from fast fashion retailers

Creating a capsule wardrobe means investing in quality. Taking care of your clothes is a crucial step in creating a wardrobe that will last. |aheartymatter.com

So last week I said: Stop buying fast fashion.

And today I say you can buy fast fashion?

No.

But: I understand that with budget constraints and all, it won’t be realistic – or actionable – for most of you to tell you to never buy something at H&M or GAP again. Not buying at those kinds of stores is the long-term goal, but you still need to get dressed in the meantime.

The truth is: We all want a high-quality wardrobe. We dream of all the great clothes we will own. But when we plan our shopping we realize that (1) we cannot replace our entire closet immediately and that (2) we cannot afford to spend more on all the clothes we intend to buy.

I don’t want to give you a loophole to my own stop shopping fast fashion advice.

I stand by that rule.

I also don’t want to reiterate the argument that quality clothes, or sustainable clothes for that matter, are too expensive. They aren’t. But if you have a budget and you need to add or replace a certain number of pieces, you need to set priorities. So maybe, you add one or two (more pricey) quality items, but you still need other pieces.

Likewise, while I am a strong advocate for a proper closet cleanout (I do write about it repeatedly), there is no point in getting rid of all your clothes just because they don’t match the long-term vision of your closet – it’s unreasonable and unsustainable.

Price equals quality…or not?

I have definitely splurged on a few high-end items in the past, but not so that I can revel in the fact that I own designer pieces. Those items ticked all the necessary boxes: great fit, outstanding quality, and a style I could see myself wearing for years to come. And indeed, those items have lasted well over the years, some of them even 5 years and longer, like my Ferragamo pumps.

Buying quality pieces really pays off in the long run. Click through to learn my tips on how to achieve a quality wardrobe. | aheartymatter.com

If I break the initial cost of several hundred Euros down the per-use price of these items is close to zero. So you should buy only high-end designer clothes in order to have quality items in your wardrobe? There certainly is a correlation between quality and price, but the dress I talked about last week shows that a high price does not necessarily equal a high-quality item. In addition, when it comes to high-end brands, you also pay a premium for the brand and the marketing. Ultimately, with every piece you buy for your wardrobe you still need to assess the quality.

What may be even more important to consider: While a fast fashion free closet should be the goal (really for more than just quality reasons), it may not always be attainable in the short term. Overhauling your entire closet so it only contains high-quality items is not only time-consuming, it’s expensive. So your journey to a high-quality wardrobe may take a few months or years and will require prioritizing which items to upgrade first.

So what to do in the meantime?

My suggestion to you is this: consider not buying at all (really, think about it, not buying anything is an option after all!), consider buying second hand, and if you decide to turn to fast fashion, limit your shopping to only those quality items that will last for more than one season – because yes, in my experience you can find a few items at those kinds of retailers that are of better quality.

I own pieces from H&M, uniqlo, and the likes, but most of these garments have been in my closet for years – just like my high-end clothes. For example, I have one cardigan from H&M (it was part of my winter capsule) that I bought several years ago and it’s still holding up well.

Tips for buying quality at fast fashion retailers

Only buy natural fibres. All the pieces from fast fashion brands in my closet that have stood the test of time and wear have been made 100% from natural fibres, mostly cotton. I always check the material before I even head to the changing room (yes, reading the label is key), and if it’s not 100% natural fibers I don’t even try it on. This one rule alone will limit your shopping at fast fashion retailers radically! Most pieces and especially the trend pieces have synthetic fibers blended in. Synthetic fibers are cheap, which is why cheap fashion retailers like to use them – a lot.

Check the quality of your garment before you make the purchase. Learn more about what to look for. | aheartymatter.com

Only buy basics. If you buy at fast fashion retailers, buy basics, like camis, or t-shirts that are a staple in the collection. Basics and staple pieces are more likely to be available in a style that is made entirely from natural fibers. Also, production times are different compared to on trend items so the sowing is often of better quality.

Rigorously assess the quality. Really, thoroughly assessing the quality always applies no matter where you shop. But especially  when shopping fast fashion, you have to be really selective. I already talked about what to look for in terms of fabrics and sowing last week, so head over to the series’ first post here, if you haven’t checked my tips out already.

Rigorously assess the quality of your clothes, before you make a purchase. Learn more about what to look for. | aheartymatter.com

Trust your experience. If you’ve had pieces from a brand that held up well, then look for clothes there. For me, personally, I was able to find a few quality pieces at H&M and uniqlo. So if I have ruled out other options (for style, time, or budget reasons), this is where I turn to. I’ve only had bad experiences with Zara items, so I don’t even enter their store. And I would certainly not try out a new to me fast fashion retailer. My goal is to move away from these stores entirely.

In order to achieve a high-quality wardrobe, the aim is to wean your closet from fast fashion entirely. Owning quality pieces over several years gives you a whole new sense of appreciation for your clothes.

I hope you enjoyed the second installment of my quality series (check out the first installment here)! How do you move towards a high-quality wardrobe?

I’m heading into a little blog vacation here – no fancy travel behind this, just lots of work at my job and a little bit of thinking about the blog I want to do on my end. If you want to know what I’m up to in the meantime, follow me on instagram. And if you want to be the first to know about my plans and upcoming posts, subscribe to my newsletter (the form is in the topbar) and I’ll say hi to your inbox from time to time.

Kate

Kate is a capsule wardrobe and uniform dressing enthusiast who encourages busy women to embrace a smaller wardrobe and a more intentional lifestyle.
Kate continues to work on simplifying her life – freeing up time and energy on those things in life that are most important to her.

How to achieve a high quality wardrobe

Search for quality - rigorously - when buying clothes and accessories. Learn more about what to look for... | aheartymatter.com

If you follow my capsule wardrobe on this blog and my daily outfits on instagram, you will have noticed two things: (1) I tend to wear the same things over and over again – I’m a believer in uniform dressing, and (2) I own quite a few items that have been in my closet for years. I started my quest to buy quality clothing several years ago, but adopting the capsule wardrobe concept has given me more dedication to work towards a quality wardrobe. When you limit the number of pieces in your closet, you will inevitably want to invest in high-quality clothes and accessories at some point. A capsule wardrobe not only means that you buy fewer pieces of clothing throughout the year. By having fewer items in your wardrobe your clothes will get a lot more wear. Quality clothes are the ultimate goal. Having pieces that look good from the distance and upclose.

Is your wardrobe ready for this?

Today I kick off a little series on quality clothing, what I have learned so far, and how you can attain a wardrobe full of quality pieces yourself.

 

Here’s some food for thought from Pier-Luigi Loro Piana in an interview with Simon Crompton on the difference between fashionable men and women:

“There is a new generation of customers [men] that will ask continuous questions about what they are buying. They care about quality and about provenance, particularly when they are spending more than they would otherwise. Also about sustainability, interestingly.

How much they care also depends on the brand though. If the brand is clearly about quality, then they will ask about it. If it’s more about fashion and the look, they won’t. Women shop far more in this way – if something looks great on them, they will buy it. They’re less interested in the quality side.

— Pier-Luigi Loro Piana (Interview with Simon Crompton)

So women can learn from men when it comes to clothes?

I think so.

My husband is incredibly selective in what he buys – even without following a capsule wardrobe concept his closet contains only items he wears (well, except for those 3 old dingy T-shirts that every husband has in their closet and refuses to get rid off…). What is even more, he only buys items that are of good quality. If one seam isn’t right, he won’t buy the clothes – and I’m not exaggerating. Sometimes his rigor towards quality is bewildering to me – because I am not used to shopping this way – but his rigor is also always inspiring. To search for the perfect piece. To only buy what fits right. To never discount quality.

 Search rigorously for quality. Click through and learn about my tips to create and sustain a high-quality wardrobe. | aheartymatter.com

The story of an almost perfect dress

When I was looking for items to add to my spring/summer capsule wardrobe, I saw this beautiful dress in a high-end department store. I tried it on, and – no joke – looked amazing. The fit was phenomenal, the style was exactly what I was looking for, it was perfection. Except for one catch, well two if you think of it. That dress was almost 300 Euros … and the quality was not good – certainly not as good to justify the hefty price tag. The dress had small cut-out details and you could see that those details were cheaply made and would fray terribly after only a few washes. My husband took one look at the details and said “you’re not buying this, are you?!?”

I don’t like to admit it, but when I looked in the mirror part of me wanted to buy that dress anyways. Yes, I actually considered paying almost 300 Euro for a dress that was of minor quality. It just looked so damn good on me!!

Thankfully, I had outlined my spring/summer capsule beforehand. Thankfully, I had already planned my capsule wardrobe shopping and had thought about which items I wanted to add and, more importantly, what I wanted to spend. I knew buying the dress would make shopping for the other pieces a lot more difficult if I wanted to stay in my budget. I knew that I would regret the purchase eventually because of my pledge to only shop intentionally, to only add quality pieces to my wardrobe. So I put the dress back on the hanger and walked out of the store empty handed.

And now, in hindsight, I am so glad I did. I am so glad that I didn’t compromise on quality. But man, it can be hard sometimes…

What determines quality?

There are two factors that determine the quality of the garment: the material it is made of and the way it was produced.

Search for quality - rigorously - when buying clothes and accessories. Learn more about what to look for... | aheartymatter.com

When you try on new clothes, pay attention to how the fabric feels. Does it feel soft? Is there anything that scratches against your skin? Does it feel breathable? Over time, how a fabric feels will tell you what the garment is made of. Also check with the label for the materials used. The most common materials are cotton, wool, linen, and synthetic fibres like viscose, acrylic, and polyester. In my opinion, natural materials are far superior in terms of quality, however, there are garments where it may make sense to have a little bit of synthetic fibres blended in, for instance to give the clothes some stretch without losing their shape.

If a garment passed the material test, pay attention to how well it was made. Are there any loose threads or seams? Take a closer look at the seams. Pull them lightly apart. How much give is in the seam? The poorer the quality, the more the seam will give – even to a point where you can see through the seams. Quality clothes have tightly sown seams.

Rigorously assess the quality of the garment before you make a purchase. Learn more about what to look for. | aheartymatter.com

Also check for the buttons. Are they sown on properly? Are they tight enough so you can repeatedly button and unbutton them? If the garment has a pattern, check whether the pattern matches up at the seam.

Over time, if you pay close attention to both the materials used and the production methods applied, you will get a feel for what determines quality. You will feel right away if a garment has lots of synthetic fibres blended in to make the material cheaper to source. You will notice the slapdash sowing that fast fashion retailers often apply to churn out trendy pieces week after week.

Tips to achieve a high quality wardrobe

Stop buying fast fashion. I have never had a piece from Zara that lasted more than three washes – after that something would come off or a hem would rip open. I simply no longer buy there.

Take a close look before you buy. Every time you consider buying a piece you should analyze the garment not only in terms of the fit, but also in terms of the material and the way it was produced. Does the garment look and feel like it will last for several seasons of regular wear?

Only buy quality. Clearly, that’s a very obvious point. If you only want quality pieces in your wardrobe, you need to update your wardrobe only with quality items. My point is, commit yourself to only buying quality, make quality the ultimate purchasing decision. Yes, you need to love the garment, and yes, the garment needs to fit you perfectly, but after a garment ticked those boxes, it still needs to pass the quality test. And if a garment fails the quality test – just as the dress did – you shouldn’t buy it.

 Quality clothes are the ultimate goal. Having pieces that look good from the distance and upclose. Following a capsule wardrobe has given me more dedication to pursuing this goal...and I have learned a lot about quality on the way. Learn how to build your own high-quality wardrobe. | aheartymatter.com

Take good care of your garments. Read the label and handle the garment accordingly – washing warmer than recommended, putting garments in the dryer when the label tells you not to are all surefire ways to reduce the longevity of your garment.

Go the second-hand route. This may sound counter-intuitive since someone wore the clothes already before you. But buying high-end clothes second-hand allows you to get access to high-quality garments that may be out of your price-range in retail.

Stay tuned till next Monday when this little quality series continues…

Until then, which item has been in your closet the longest?

Have you ever bought an item whose quality disappointed you?

Do you have a fabric you gravitate to?

Kate

Kate is a capsule wardrobe and uniform dressing enthusiast who encourages busy women to embrace a smaller wardrobe and a more intentional lifestyle.
Kate continues to work on simplifying her life – freeing up time and energy on those things in life that are most important to her.