Try this – keeping your wardrobe as good as new
A guide to mending instead of buying new stuff
Thanksgiving is over, as well as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the craziness of the last week / weekend. I guess I am not the only one – but after being bombarded with discounts and offers to buy everything from a new fridge to a cashmere jumper, I have finally 5 minutes without a new inbox and in need of a digital detox! Black Friday, which used to be a single day of shopping has become a week of madness with sales, offers and possessed shoppers who queue, fight and pull each other hair in order to get first in the shop. I am not going to lie or pretend that I am above everybody else: black Friday is tempting. All these crazy sales are extremely attractive – especially if you already got your eyes on something specific. After a few hours thinking about it I got my hands on 2 items I had in mind for a while: the Adidas by Stella McCartney boost trainers and a teddy coat (to keep me warm during the Berlin winter!).
Having said so, part of the reason retailers love Black Friday so much is because they have such huge excesses of stock to offload. Fast fashion and its cheap prices mean small profit margins. As a consequence, the driving force behind its profit is massive quantities in order to create a gain. The more we buy cheap clothes, the more we contribute in producing one of the biggest waste problems facing the world. Compulsive shopping is like a sugar addiction: it might give us a quick buzz but it doesn’t make us happy. We need to make our existing closets work more efficiently. An easy way to start that is a wardrobe clear-out, to see what we have and what we need. There are also some easy steps to better take care of your clothes and make more of what you already own.
1 – Learn the basics
There is one thing that I am proud of that I see a lot of friends around me don’t know how to do: the basics of how to sew (thank you mum!). I am far away of being a professional seamstress or being able to sew my own clothes (that would be so cool!), but I know how to fix a hole or sew a button. If you can do these two, you will never get rid of a jumper because you have a button missing or there is a little hole. There are a lot of courses online where you can learn or I am sure you have a friend or your grandmother who can help you out!
2 – Patches have never been so cool!
I remember my mother putting patches on my jumpers – I really didn’t like these two oval shapes on my elbows. However, last year it was not even an option to get rid of my favorite cashmere jumper with holes on the elbows (I guess it’s a never ending story!) or my favorite jeans that I wear half of the week but the fabric was starting to loose its thickness. I remembered then the patches, which are extremely easy to apply, you just need to iron them on the hole. And it can even be funny as you can play around with different shapes, embroideries and colors!
3 – Buy second hand
Vintage shops are like a dream coming true. You can find everything – you just need to be patient, have time and a good eye. Unfortunately this is not my case as I have rarely been able to find something I liked. However, I have many friends who find designer vintage pieces that are amazing! So many clothes are given away because they have a missing button or a small bit of damage that can be easily fixed. So give it a try, maybe you will find your next best catch.
4 – The “no wash policy” will save your jeans
The bets way to take care of your jeans is to leave them alone. Good quality denims don’t need to be washed as often as other garments. Several brands promote the “No Wash Club” for the first six months of your jeans. I am not a big fan of not washing my jeans for such a long time, so the best way to do it is hand was inside-out. You can leave the jeans soak in the water with mild detergent for a bit and then drip dry them. Another option you can try is air washing!
5 – Look after your leather goods
When you don’t use a bag or a pair of shoes stuff them with tissue paper to keep their shape. Take bags to be repaired at a shoe menders. A broken buckle or strap can usually be replaced. Give your trainers a rest with shoe deodorizer. Washing your sneakers in the washing machine is also an easy trick to keep them clean and make them look almost as good as new. Also, bring them to shoe repairs so that soles and heels don’t get too damaged.
Text: Margaux Lombard, November 28, 2017