YYesterday I took last season’s fluffy white coat to the dry cleaners to have it fixed on the shoulder, and my mother was clutching at her pearls. “Why not buy a new coat?” she asked me. So that? All the people I’m going to see during the pandemic winter? Denisse, No. We’ve all become more comfortable with upcycling our favorite outfits due to a general “who gives a f–k” feeling, so now is the perfect time to learn how to make your clothes last longer and keep your wardrobe to the basics. .
Aside from being generally profitable in the long run, it’s very green to reinvent what you already have. See, according to a 2018 study by the United Nations Environment Program and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater . Big yikes, right? So taking a little time to invest in the pieces that are truly loved day in and day out is a big win for you and a small win for the environment.
Below, we’ve rounded up a few simple ways to refresh and rejuvenate your wardrobe to take you through the year and beyond.
How to make clothes last longer, according to clothing experts
1. Invest in some iron-on patches
Do you have serious denim problems? If the wear looks less than elegant (and seriously makes you feel a little drafty), you can easily repair it without breaking your needle and thread. Iron-on patches are heard to save the day and bridge the gap forever.
“Choose a patch that is much larger than the tear and a similar color to the garment,” says Adriene Booth of Remade in Brooklyn. “Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and iron the patch over the tear from the inside.”
A perfect option (sorry)? These simple iron-on patches ($6) work for a fraction of the cost of a new pair of Levi’s.
2. Stop washing your jeans in the first place.
Okay, I know you might feel grossed out, but here’s the thing: You have full permission not to wash your jeans until something absolutely heinous hits them, or more generously until three or four are worn. This is because research supports that reducing how often you wash your jeans extends their life. Then you will have less wear and tear and you can save your iron-on patches for REAL emergencies.
3. Use dish soap to clean your white sneakers.
Maeve Richmond, founder of home organization company Maeve’s Method, championed dish soap as a way to remove stubborn dirt from sneakers. As a result, the detergent in dish soap creates a light suds that’s great for breaking through tough stains. It’s worth it for any hard to remove
“To make white sneakers look like new again, mix a small squirt — no more than a teaspoon — of dishwashing soap into a cup of water and stir until foamy,” says Richmond. “Then use a clean, damp sponge or toothbrush to gently rub the mixture onto all surfaces, including soles.”
4. Or dye those whites that need a refresh
Tie-dye the Quarantine Du Jour print, so you’re “sustainable” and “on-trend” not “unable to knock off spaghetti Sunday receipts.” Investing in multiple rainbow-colored inks like this One-Step Tie-Dye Kit ($30) means you’ll have plenty of ways to accessorize those pieces that might have faded over time.
5. Unshrink your clothes
Ugh, shrinkage, the worst… but no impossible back. Every fabric is a little different when it comes to non-shrink clothing, but probably the easiest to restore is cotton. According to Max Appel, cleaning expert and founder of OxiClean, you should fill a bathtub or sink with warm water and a tablespoon of fabric softener, detergent, or shampoo. It doesn’t matter much as long as the product dissolves completely. Then let the garment soak in the water for 30 minutes, before gently and evenly stretching it. Rinse with cold water and hopefully your clothes won’t be doll-sized again.
6. Give your fuzzy sweaters a haircut
If you’ve got a cardigan that’s driving you crazy with cons, don’t throw it away just yet (especially if it’s cashmere, that’s expensive!). Using a sweater shaver can breathe new life into your favorite knit pieces. I’m on this Conair Fabric Defuzzer ($12) for both pill cutting and fuzz removal.
Oh hello! She sounds like someone who loves free workouts, discounts on cult wellness brands, and exclusive Well+Good content. Sign up for Well+, our online community of wellness experts, and unlock your rewards instantly.
These products are independently selected by our editors. Making a purchase through our links may generate a commission for Well+Good.