4. The Label Matters

Who doesn’t know the feeling of taking a new garment from its bag and putting it on for the first time? Now compare this to the feeling of seeing it again after you’ve worn it to a friend’s housewarming party, stained it with red wine, then put it to the bottom of the washing basket and left it there for two months. Or this fantastic white blouse that used to be just the right fit before you put it through a washing cycle even though the label said dry clean only. We’ve all done it, but laziness comes at a price. Looking after your clothes will make you look better immediately, but also, it will save you money long term as you won’t need to replace them as often. Here are the basics.

Iron everything

Last week I bought myself an ironing board. How very Stepford Wives of me. I only ever used to iron something if it was so crinkly that it made me look like a Chinese Shar-Pei dog, and I used to sneer at my mother for ironing absolutely EVERYTHING to within an inch of its life. Still, I did notice how nice my things looked when mum did my laundry, completely failing to make the connection! Ironing will make your clothes look a hundred times better. Go now and iron everything you love.

Wash as little as you can

These days a lot of materials are not good quality. I think we will just have to live with this. However, you can get a feel for what is going to be enduring and what is going to be a one wash wonder (it’s not always in price of the garment!!). I have repeatedly heard a piece of advice over the last few months, and I’ve started to come round to it: if something isn’t dirty, don’t wash it! Make Febreze your new best friend, you will create less laundry, and your fabrics will stay nicer for longer. When your garment needs to be cleaned, READ THE LABEL. I am a repeat offender for not checking, or even worse, checking and ignoring the washing instructions. Also, regardless of what the label says, blazers and jackets generally don’t take to machine washing very well and end up deformed in one way or another. Getting them dry cleaned instead is money well spent.

Drying clothes

Avoid hanging up your clothes in the summer sun and then leaving them there for three days. They will lose all their color. The same goes for having them on the line in a damp attic for a week. They will start reeking of damp and you will never, ever get rid of that smell again. Find a warm spot  for your clotheshorse or laundry line that is ideally not in direct sunlight.

Storage

If you are storing your clothes, make sure they are in a dry place. You can get little dehumidifying boxes that suck up any humidity in your wardrobe for very little. Also, use moth balls. Shoes should be kept in boxes and stuffed with newspaper so they don’t lose their shape.

Eating, drinking and partying

Stain removing is an art form that I have not yet mastered. In my opinion the best way is to avoid the stain in the first place. Don’t wear your best white dress to a party, however tempted you are. It might make you the most elegant person at the start of the night, but at the end of the night it will be the girl in the black dress, because five minutes into the party some idiot has knocked over a table and spilled red wine all over you (I’ve been there). White is only allowed at your wedding or an incredibly formal affair where you know you cannot and will not get drunk, and nobody else will either. Be careful with Spaghetti or anything else covered in tomato sauce. In restaurants they give you big napkins for a reason. Cover yourself in them. And finally, if you are the hostess, cook in a tracksuit and get changed after. Oil splashes are impossible to remove.

Pets

Stay clear of animals when you are wearing your nicest gear. Don’t hold bunnies – they nibble. Cats like to catch anything that dangles. Watch out for ribbons, belts, shoelaces. Avoid jumping dogs if you are wearing anything in a light color and don’t fancy the idea of paw prints all over you.

If this sounds slightly OCD to you, well, I am a clothes fascist. My wardrobe is my temple, and the most strictly organised part of my household. I have met a lot of girls whose wardrobes are a warzone, with piles of crumpled garments and shoes at the bottom and so much on the clothes rail that you can’t pull one thing out without taking eight others down. How they can get dressed in the morning is a mystery to me but one thing goes for all of them: they have too many things so it’s chaos, and because it’s chaos, they go and buy more useless things.

Read on how to get your wardrobe finally organised.

…. to be continued….

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