Fashion is the way I introduce myself to the world, every day, without saying anything.

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I got an email from someone the other day (Hi K!) in response to this post: sure, slow fashion is great and all, but she wanted to know how to make your clothes last once you have them.

GREAT question, and boy do I have a lot to say about this.

Buying items that mean a lot to you means that you actually have to take the time to maintain them properly. This is very different from throwing your H&M sweater in the wash with everything else and calling it a day.

I’m lucky to have a Mom who, though she is in my top 5 smartest people I know list and is so much more than her laundry abilities, taught me from a young age how to care for my clothes (and that NO stain is permanent). I’ve picked up quite a few tricks from her along the way. Combine that with lots of weddings and shoots with wardrobe malfunctions of all sorts, and I’ve got a veritable laundry (hehe) list of tips for you:

– Never hang sweaters: I see this in almost every closet and people don’t even realize they’re making any mistakes. Sweaters are knit material so hanging them will stretch them to be misshapen over time. if you don’t have room in your drawers for your sweaters, do a little rearranging (maybe hang your jeans) to make room.

– Always machine wash items on cold: Another handy tip from Mom. Depending on the item, washing in water can stretch or shrink the piece and weaken fabric or elastics. Plus, hot water is wasteful!

– Wash delicates in a laundry bag to prevent twisting and snagging: This is a new(er) one from me. The older I get, the pickier I get about my unmentionables (read: no more undies from Marshalls), and washing them in a mesh bag means they keep their shape and don’t get twisted around Raven’s jeans.

– When in doubt, line dry: This goes for the aforementioned unmentionables, jeans, fancy pieces, and cotton that you don’t want to shrink. If you aren’t cool enough to have a laundry line (me), get a rack for this.

-Hand wash wool, silk, cashmere and dry clean only items items: This is a new one for me. The more I experience the dry cleaners, the less I want to take my stuff there. Between the hangers, the plastic, the twist ties, the entire process is wasteful – not to mention the horrible chemicals associated with dry cleaning. And, at the end of the day, they’re running a business, and don’t care as much as you do that your favorite dress is ruined. So, I’m trying to avoid having my clothes professionally dry cleaned. That means hand washing pieces using gentle soap like that from The Laundress or The Simply Co, then laying flat to dry.

Quick Fixes:

For pilling, get a sweater shaver or comb.

For stains, try a baby wipe. Weird, I know, but it totally works.

For bigger stains, try this. My go-to stain remover.

Questions? Anything I didn’t cover? Let me know!

xoxo,

aok

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