Maintain Your Personal Style: 6 Tips to Care for Your Clothing

Nothing can last forever, but they sure can last for a long time if they’re treated well and given the best care possible. This applies to a lot of things: relationships, pets, that cactus you’ve had for 10 years, and maybe most importantly: your clothing. If you have a few special pieces that you love to wear but are terrified to wash, lest they become ruined forever, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone! Taking proper care of the special pieces in your wardrobe will make them last longer, save you money, and help you maintain your personal style. 

By correctly cleaning and storing your wardrobe, you’ll extend the life of your pieces. For instance, throwing your clothes in the washing machine without reading the care instructions might do more damage than good. Good clothing care can be as simple as keeping your whites bright! But it can also be as complicated as finding the best dry cleaner to entrust with your clothing’s life. 

Below are six tips on how to maintain the integrity of your special pieces. From storing your favorite shoes to exchanging hangers, there are many simple ways you can use to improve your closet.

1. Hang them to dry

Do you know you can damage your clothes if you put them in the drier more often? Apart from the high heat in the drier, there is wear and tear when all the different fabrics are rubbing together and bouncing off of each other. This is how pieces become pilly.

personal style

Pilled fabric. Photo via Downy.

An easy alternative to the drier is a drying rack or clothing line. If you live in a small space, drying racks are great because they fold up and store easily. These are also handy for cold, rainy days or winter months, when the weather isn’t good enough to dry anything out on a clothing line. Unfortunately, clothing takes a lot more time to dry when it’s hung up, so plan ahead to make sure your favorite outfit will be ready to wear for a night out!

2. Understand your washing machine and drier

Knowing and understanding your washing machine is so important! Some machines are super basic and have a few settings, but others look more like something you’d find at NASA. The crazy part is that, the more basic the machine, the more likely it is to ruin your clothing. Machines with tons of settings are more difficult to learn, but once you get them exactly right, your favorite pieces are much safer in your care. 

Understand all the simple rules like knowing when to use hot or cold water, separating whites, bright colors, and other colors, and how much your machine can handle at once. If you fail to observe some of these tricks, you can damage most of your clothing. To be safe, make sure you read the washing machine instructions and the care instructions on your clothing as well.

3. Choose a dry cleaner with care

Even though dry-cleaning is one of the best ways to keep your clothes in great shape and your personal style intact, this method uses special chemicals to clean, which can also be damaging. Dry cleaning is for fabrics that can’t be immersed in water or can’t handle the rough and tumble cleaning of a washing machine. 

To be safe, do some research on eco-friendly “green” dry-cleaners in your location that you can use. There are many safe and eco-friendly products that can protect the integrity of your special pieces.

4. Keep shoes in boxes

Most people do not think shoes need special care like their clothes, but they do! Even though it may look normal to kick off your shoes without even untying the laces, taking care of your shoes is important. If you want your shoes to continue to look new, store them in the original box. This storage method will keep the dust away and keep the shoes in shape for a long time. Simply tossing your shoes into the closet in a pile is a sure-fire way to ruin the material and shape of the shoe. 

Since shoe boxes take up a lot of space, a great alternative is a shoe rack.

5. Don’t use wire hangers

Clothes hangers are the simplest and the easiest items you can use to store your clothes, but not all hangers are created equal! The worst kind are wire hangers. They’re thin and don’t offer enough support for your clothing to hang without developing creases and distorting the fabric. They can even leave rust on your clothing if there’s enough moisture. 

To avoid damaging your favorite clothes, look for special hangers. Flocked velvet hangers are great for pieces that slide off the hanger easily. Wood hangers are best for heavy pieces that wrinkle easily. Thick plastic hangers are affordable alternatives to wood.

6. Let your special clothes rest

Since we feel our best in our favorite clothes (they’re our favorite for a reason, after all), it’s tempting to wear them all the time. Unless you own ten pairs of all your favorite styles, it’s a good idea to give them a break because no matter how well you care for your wardrobe, the more they’re worn, the more worn they will look. Always keep your closet in a continuous rotation. This will ensure you give your favorite pieces a good break before putting them to use again. 

Though there are many tricks and tips you can use to take care of your clothes and shoes, the above tips are the simplest and some of the most convenient ways to maintain your personal style.