How to extend the life of your clothing and accessories
Extending the life cycle of your wardrobe is good for your wallet and the planet. Certain types of fabrics require specific care and maintenance to make them last and keep them looking like new. Read on for some helpful tips about efficient washing, dry cleaning, alterations and leather care from Buckhead’s veteran apparel experts.
At-Home Laundering Basics
Start by learning the fundamentals of at-home care and cleaning. As a general rule, the more you wash your clothing, the faster it wears out, so stop over-cleaning. Try to use the machine’s gentle cycle whenever possible for most of your everyday items and always for delicates, such as bras, sports bras, swimwear and lingerie. A mesh laundry bag will help to keep these items from snagging or twisting while in the wash cycle. Dryers tend to dehydrate material, causing items to look worn, so air dry whenever possible and always follow the label instructions.
Invest in a few vital cleaning basics such as a garment and leather brush for spot cleaning your leather, wool and suede favorites. Sherwin Clemons, owner of Peachy Lyfe pickup and delivery service, says, “Pretreating a stain a day before washing will increase the odds of successful removal. So, keep a stain removal product on hand, such as a Tide to Go pen or OxiClean. Other tools to have on hand: a lint roller is handy for dark clothing and cedar shoe trees will hold the shape of shoes when not in use.
Dry Cleaning Rules
Having a team of experts at your disposal for care and maintenance is the key to extending the lifespan of your favorite clothes and accessories. To start, look for a dry cleaner with years of experience.
Many people don’t realize that dry cleaning isn’t exactly dry. Instead of water, a chemical solvent dissolves dirt and stains without harming the fabric underneath. Sanjay Banit, owner of Classic Touch Cleaners, a Buckhead staple for more than 25 years, advises following a label’s “dry clean only” instruction because some fabrics, such as wool, cashmere and silk, are delicate and water sensitive, and cannot safely be laundered in a washing machine. Many items such as jackets, coats, formal wear and sweaters—unless soiled— can be cleaned occasionally throughout the year instead of after each use, which will keep the fabric from breaking down and wearing out.
Find a local tailor you love and trust, and stick with them. Tailors don’t just help with alterations; they can fix hems, repair zippers, update buttons and reweave small rips and holes to prevent having to discard a beloved item. A simple button change can sometimes breathe new life into an old shirt.
David Cho, owner of Sauls Reweavers & Alterations near Chastain Park, advises not to throw out a quality item with a few flaws before asking a professional for input on saving it.
Leather for a Lifetime
When it comes to leather goods, especially handbags and shoes, conditioning on a regular basis can be overlooked. “Leather is one of the most wonderful materials to own because with proper care it can last for years,” says Ryan Embry, owner of Classic Shoe & Leather Service and an expert in leather for 30 years. His advice is to keep leather goods “well conditioned from the start by treating them with a leather cleaner and conditioner on a monthly basis or depending on signs of wear.” As for repairs, he says using Super Glue on any leather is an absolute no-no and to seek out a professional for repairs as needed.
Classic Touch Cleaners
2625 Piedmont Road N.E.
Classic Shoe & Leather Service
3759 Roswell Road N.E.
Sauls Reweavers & Alterations
3655 Roswell Road N.E.
Simply Approved feature writer at Simply Buckhead. Founder of lifestyle savings and deal blog JESSICASHOPS.com.