As a society, we are obsessed with "maintaining" our youthful looks: we go to the gym (at least occasionally), we eat health-conscious foods (sometimes), we get Botox (those of us who are brave enough). But what about our clothes? A recent inquiry has confirmed my belief that we treat our clothes shabbily and shamefully. Many people believe that I am a rabid shopper, but the truth is I've carefully maintained my clothes over several years, and I still wear the same clothes my mother used to wear back in the 60s (people usually assume they're recent purchases). How, pray tell, can YOU maintain your frocks season after season?
1. This may be shocking, but it's the MOST IMPORTANT rule of all: Don't over-dry clean anything. Dry cleaning ruins clothing, but unfortunately it's a necessary evil. Only dry clean clothes that are actually stained. Most people mistakenly believe that it's necessary to clean something after one use. You should limit the dry cleaning to a couple times a season, and you'll be amazed how long that garment will actually last.
2. Wear "HOME CLOTHES" at home. I have a drawer full of tees, thermals, sweatpants, and a prized oversized terrycloth sweater that I throw on when I'm at home (I think I bought this comfortable but hideous sweater in high school). My mother taught me that when you get home, you should immediately change into these so-called "home clothes." Wearing your outside clothes will only wear them out faster.
3. In addition to changing your clothes upon immediate entrance into your home, carefully hang up your worn clothes in your closet, which prevents wrinkles and other additional stains. (Many people dry clean items that are wrinkled; if they just hung up their clothes, they could save themselves a lot of money.)
4. Sweaters must not be placed on the hanger like blouses; fold them and hang them on pants hangers or place them in a drawer (or any flat surface) to prevent stretching.
5. Clothes should not be cruelly smushed together in the closet. Allow some breathable room in between clothes. If you must smush, then position them on the hanger to prevent wrinkling (if you have several dress shirts, for example, align all of the sleeves on both sides, and fold the arms against the front so the sleeves don't wrinkle; the arms should look crossed across the front).
6. If you sweat a lot, wear light undershirts or camisoles to absorb the sweat. Having a barrier between yourself and your clothes ensures that the garment will last longer and will not seem "dirty" to you.
7. Keep clothing in a dark place. The same is true for your handbags, which should always be kept in the cloth bags they came in. Direct sunlight wears away clothing, so don't leave anything out by the window.