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How to make your clothes look like new for even longer

How to make your clothes look like new for even longer

Sustainability is a word you've likely seen tossed around a lot by brands as of late. But what exactly does it mean for you and your wardrobe? It involves thinking about the clothes you buy a little more deeply, like how they’re made and their lifecycle. And a key part of that is not only considering their short-term impact on the environment, but also their longevity in your wardrobe.

Of course, the best place to start is to invest in quality items, but even the most expensive clothes aren’t immune to colour fading or the occasional button falling off. The solution? Take note of these hacks, and you’ll be sure your clothes will look as new as the day you bought them. It's a small win for the environment, and for your wardrobe too. 

Look after your shoes 

Keep them damage-free

“When I’m investing in a good pair of shoes, I want them to last as long as possible,” says Senior Stylist Millie Rich. “Materials like soft leather and suede don’t have to be reserved for dry days – you can keep them free of water damage and stains by using a specialist protector spray over the top.”

Keep a few on rotation 

You know when you’ve listened to your favourite song so much that it becomes something that you cannot bear to hear ever again? A similar thing can happen when you constantly wear your favourite shoes – they’ll tire quickly, and you won’t feel so good slipping into the battered shoes they’ve become. “Make sure you have a few pairs on rotation to keep your shoes lasting longer,” says stylist Toby Standing. 

Keep them box-fresh 

Before binning that cardboard box your new kicks came in, consider saving it to store your shoes. It’ll keep them dust-free and make sure they don’t become discoloured from direct sunlight. And if you don’t have a box, a dust bag should do just fine. 

Care for your clothes 

Wash them strategically 

We’re not suggesting you make a detailed spreadsheet of your washing cycle. A few simple changes can prevent your clothes from wearing quicker than you can put your socks on. For example, turning your jeans and dark-coloured clothing inside out will stop its colour from fading. 

Using a lower heat – ideally around 30 degrees Celsius – and not overfilling the machine can also help. When the washing machine is too loaded, the clothes rub together, causing damage to the fibres.

Wash them less

While we appreciate this won’t work for the loungewear you’ve been working five days straight in or your sweaty gym kit, washing certain clothes less will help prolong them – and have less of an impact on the environment. 

“Ask yourself whether the item actually needs washing,” Millie says. “You can often spot clean light stains with a damp cloth and normal detergent to save you putting the garment in the machine.” 

And some good news for all the denim fans out there: Toby tells us your jeans can be washed less than you think. “True, good-quality denim keeps its dye and fit intact for longer without repeated washing – try going six months to a year between washes.”

Store them strategically

“Some items are just not meant for hanging,” Millie says. “I never hang my knitwear – it loses its shape really easily and can make the shoulders stretch. Instead, I keep my knits in drawers a la Marie Kondo. Roll them up and slot them into your drawer – they’ll keep their structure for longer and save precious rail space (and ironing time) for your tees and shirts.”

Invest in a de-piller 

Even the most expensive yarns, like cashmere and merino wool, can lose their softness after repeated wear and washing. This is down to pilling – those fuzzy little bobbles that appear on the surface of your knit. The good news is that it only takes a simple “shave” with a de-piller machine to de-fuzz your knits and make them feel smooth again.

Learn how to mend your clothes

“Sew up those hems and darn those holes as soon as you notice them – they’ll only get worse with wear, and may result in them being too damaged beyond repair,” Millie says. 

Luckily, you don’t have to be a seamstress to know how to fix your clothes. It takes four simple steps to sew a button back on, and you could have your favourite jeans looking brand new in no time with some simple patchwork.

Interested in learning more about the difference between ethical and sustainable clothes? Read more here.


Words: Ashlie Brombley
Illustration: Haley Tippmann