8 Ways to Make Your Wardrobe Last Longer

Monday, March 26, 2012 • Permalink • 

--Guest Post By Andrea Woroch

Ways to Make Your Wardrobe Last Longer - Woman Buying Clothes
Everything is more expensive these days but some items experience higher price hikes than others. To the dismay of fashionistas everywhere, apparel is taking the hardest hit with a whopping 4.7-percent increase in January alone, according to ApparelStrategiest.com.

The best way to save on clothes is not to buy any, but that's easier said than done for most. Carefully selected pieces that are cared for and stored properly can last a long time, however, reducing the necessity for replacement. If you struggle with making your clothes last, consider these tips to promote wardrobe longevity.

1. Hang vs. fold.
Crumpling your clothes on the floor every night requires more turns in the washing machine and leads to faster wear-out. Hang up your clothes the minute you remove them to increase longevity. If space is an issue, double up by placing two blouses or two pairs of pants on one hanger. For knitwear like sweaters, it's best to keep those folded in a drawer or shelf since a hanger can damage the stitching.

2. Invest in classic pieces.
Avoid spending too much on trendy clothes and invest in classic pieces instead. After all, buying $100 worth of cheap, trendy items is no deal compared to a $100 blazer that lasts a lifetime. To reduce the initial hit on your bank account, purchase discount gift cards at sites like GiftCardGranny.com to places like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus.

3. Hold onto all sizes.
Unless you're a Victoria's Secret model, you likely change a size up or down every few years. It's when that adjustment decreases that we want to find new, smaller clothes and get rid of the bigger stuff, but it's best to hold onto these pieces for the inevitable. That way, you don't have to spend money on a bigger size that you're not too thrilled about purchasing.

4. Follow care instructions.
"Hand-wash only" is just a suggestion, right? Wrong. I've ruined many a blouse due to laziness. By following care instructions closely, clothes will last longer and you can enjoy them for years. If you have dry-clean only items, avoid professional cleanings with at-home kits and use mesh bags for delicates to prevent damage from the washer drum or other garments.

5. Hang with Care.
Always remove plastic from dry-cleaned items so the clothes can breathe and toss those wire hangers immediately. Clamp hangers are great for trousers and skirts -- just make sure to clamp the closure at the waistband to avoid creasing. Padded hangers with nonslip material ensure suit jackets and pants don't endure hours and days of creasing. For recommendations on the best hangers, check out Oprah's picks.

6. Wash inside out.
Avoid fading and reduce pilling by turning your clothes inside out when washing. This is especially important for denim and dark articles of clothing. Additionally, search your whites pile for the mutinous red sock before loading it into the washer.

7. Longer lasting shoe care.
Water and dirt can damage shoes over time, especially those made of suede and leather. Apply a protector spray after each wear, and use a wire suede brush to remove dirt and scuff marks. Keep leather shoes looking new with a touch of polish. Place tissue paper in the toes of heels and flats to maintain their shape, and make boot shapers out of cardboard boxes to keep boots from creasing.

8. Don't replace, repair.
We all have that favorite pair of shoes we can't stop wearing and can't imagine giving up. I wore down one such pair of boots and frantically looked for a worthy replacement. Upon finding nothing that could compare, it occurred to me I could just get them re-heeled. For $15 my faves were as good as new.

Andrea Worock
Guest poster Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. Her goal is to teach consumers how to live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. Andrea has appeared on The Today Show, ABC News NOW, NBC Nightly News, FOX, MSNBC, CW and been quoted in SmartMoney.com, Kiplinger Personal Finance and many others.