How to extend the lifetime of your clothes
The majority of us start our sustainable fashion journey with fast fashion pieces already in our wardrobes. The very best way to be sustainable is to utilise the clothes we already own fast fashion or not, but what happens if those clothes are falling to bits?!
By extending the lives of our clothes, we are keeping them away from landfill and also saving ourselves some serious cash - this way you won’t need to buy replacement items all the time.
Think of this article as self-help, but for your clothes!
Make do and mend
This classic phrase is more current than ever, whether you’re an experienced sewer or a needle and thread newbie, a bit of ‘make do and mend’ is truly the magic trick we need.
If you truly are a beginner, I would recommend investing in a simple sewing kit and heading over to YouTube or TikTok to learn some basic stitches and mends.
By washing our clothes less we are not only extending their lifetime, but we’re also reducing micro-plastics from going down our drains. As a rule of thumb, heavier materials like denim don't need washing as often (I probably wash my jeans once a year!). Jackets and trousers also don’t need to be washed as often as the clothes that lie close to our skin, such as lingerie and tops.
The way we can prevent micro-plastic fibres, from synthetic materials like polyester, going down our drain is to use a micro-filter wash bag. Take GuppyFriend for example, it not only protects our clothes from fibre shedding, but it also reminds us to be more mindful when it comes to washing our clothes.
As well as washing less, we should let our clothes hang dry where possible. It seems pretty self explanatory but I would recommend buying a clothes horse, especially if you don’t have a garden or outdoor space to dry your clothes.
Have you ever had a pair of jeans that just don’t fit you around the waist? Or a men’s blazer where the shoulders are just too broad? Taking a piece of clothing to a seamstress or tailor can be money well spent. By altering the ill-fitting clothes we have lying around in our wardrobes to something we can wear with confidence, you are giving that garment another lease of life!
Just make sure the item of clothing you want to be tailored or mended is something you can actually see yourself wearing more if it fits you properly! You can check your local area for tailors on google.
If you happen to live in London and want a deliveroo style seamstress service, then let me introduce you to Sojo. Sojo makes going to the tailor an easier task than ever before, with the app at your fingertips, you are provided with a courier style collection service and a 5 day wait period. Your chosen item is then returned to your doorstep - good as new!
You can download Sojo here.
Ever been envious of Cher’s wardrobe from Clueless? I know I have. There is now an app which answers all your prayers to having a virtual wardrobe, and that's Whering.
Whering encourages you to shop your own wardrobe by having all your items in one place. This not only makes organising your clothes so much easier, but it also allows you to create and plan your outfits!
Maximising the utilisation of the clothes in your wardrobe is the key to extending their lifetime, ensuring they are getting all the love.
You can download Whering here.
Whether it's cropping a tee or giving that dress your mum lent you a serious makeover, upcycling (if executed well) can be the saving grace for those clothes you don’t like anymore.
If your creative thinking cap isn’t working, here are some amazing thrift flippers (AKA. upcycling pros) who you should follow for inspiration and tutorials:
@jai.creates on Instagram
@thriftqueenlola on Instagram
@isitdanidawks on Instagram
@empearthy on Instagram
Downcycling is a little bit different from upcycling in the sense that you are making the original item a less valuable product to reduce waste. A great example of this is when an item of clothing can’t be upcycled, mended or is in faulty quality to be donated, is cleaning rags.
This is something my mum has done for years without even realising. So those ripped t-shirts you were about to chuck away, think of making into cleaning cloths. Or alternatively you can take any damaged clothing to local animal shelters who may be in need of extra towels/rags.
Read the label!
Knowing whether an item of clothing can only be dry cleaned or washed below 30°C, can mean the world of difference for the lifespan of a garment. Many often forget to read the label hoping that a regular 40°C spin wash will do the trick, so it is vital to brush up on your laundry care symbols!
To make it easier for you here’s a chart below, feel free to print this out - even stick it near your washing machine!
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you picked up some valuable tips for your clothes lifespan!
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All pictures used in this article were sourced from Google, Pinterest and Instagram.