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.
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.
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.