5 tips to make sure your investments last the distance.
Written by: Hannah-Rose Yee
It can often feel like an investment purchase ends when the item arrives, wrapped in tissue paper, on your front door. You unbox it, you look at it longingly and then, all of a sudden, it’s part of your wardrobe and no longer an unattainable fashion thing.
I’m definitely guilty of switching my mind from luxury, special item to regular wardrobe piece in less time than it takes for a kettle to boil. The good thing about thinking like that is that you never end up putting beautiful things on a pedestal. You love them, and wear them, every single day.
The downside of this is that you can easily wear your purchases out. The soles of shoes with run thin, toes will scuff, threads with pull loose and the leather on handbags will mark and fray.
But there are a few little things you can do to make sure that you prolong the life of your favourite fashion items through the inevitable wear and tear of life.
Photo source: @oliviaatkinsondesign
1. Start thinking more about washing
While it’s tempting to throw all your clothes into a cold cotton wash, taking a bit more time to sort through your laundry will return in dividends when your clothes stand the test of time.
The first rule of washing is don’t do it. That is, don’t over-wash your clothes. If it’s not soiled you can air it out or steam it to give it a little bit of extra life for a few more days. It’s better for the environment if you can prolong the gaps between washes, too.
Some more tips: Wash your clothes on cold, at 20 or even 30 degrees less than what the care label tells you. Cold water is less harsh on fabric, and also will prevent shrinkage. Finally, anything dark – and especially jeans – should be washed inside out. That way the gorgeous dark blue denim of your favourite J Brand jeans won’t fade as they go through the ringer.
2. Dust bags have a purpose
The little pouches that jewellery, handbags and shoes come packaged in serve a very real purpose. Storing your items inside these covers will protect them when they’re not being worn from dust and tarnishing.
Yes, a gorgeous pair of By Nye earrings will look stunning displayed on a little jewellery dish on your dressing table. But trust us, it’s much kinder on the metal if you tuck them gently into the pouch they arrived in when not being worn.
Even better, and a jewellery saviour is to store your sterling silver and gold plated jewellery in air tight zip lock bags. Not super glamorous, but will save the metals from oxidising and will keep them looking brand new for years to come.
3. In fact, it’s all about storage
Thinking seriously about your storage solutions extends beyond your accessories. How you hang, fold and store your clothes could be impacting their lifespan.
Heavy woolen items like cardigans, jumpers and sweater dresses should be folded on a shelf rather than hung, which causes them to stretch. Don’t overstuff your closet, rather, spread your items out on hangers that won’t snag – copper, wooden and velvet are our favourites – which will give them the space that they need. Make sure anything decorative or embellished isn’t rubbing up against something delicate and silken. And on that note, ensure buttons, zips and closures are all closed, not left loose and in danger of snagging something.
If you have more things than fit in your wardrobe – and your wardrobe is of a pretty decent size – now might be the time to think about a little wardrobe cull. If you’re really pressed for space then pick up a metal rack from IKEA, which will give you a little more storage space to play with.
4. Re-sole your shoes
This is a lesson I learnt late in life, but it transformed the lifespan of all my favourite footwear. Re-soling your shoes before you start wearing them, and then again when they are starting to wear through, will ensure that you get more than just a season of pavement pounding out of them.
Make friends with your local shoe man, who will often be able to help you with other tricky shoe-related questions, like stretching out leather shoes and saving your favourite suede slingbacks from rain damage.
5. Invest in the right cleaning items
Some things you should have in your cleaning arsenal: A lint roller, a suede brush, leather protector spray, a clothes shaver and wash bags. If you can spring for it, a little handheld steamer can work wonders, too, and is great for travel.
All of these items might seem like ridiculous purchases, but they’ll help you get more life out of your favourite wardrobe items. Woollen pieces can have all their pilling shaved away, suede handbags can be brushed down, shoes can be sprayed against the rain and any wayward lint can be rolled away.
These touches might all sound small and insignificant on their own, but trust us, they’ll make a huge difference. And when you’re spending that much on something, don’t you want it to last as long as it possibly can?