How to Make Your Clothes Last Longer
Building the perfect wardrobe takes time, care and naturally some investment. As such, when considering these longer-term pieces, many of which are more of a luxury premium purchase, clothing care is vital to ensure that not only do these pieces last, but that they also retain their quality, appearing almost as new. Karen Millen speaks to BLANC CEO, Ludovic Blanc to understand the five most important things to know when it comes to how to make your clothes last longer.
With a clear mission to leave the right kind of planet to the generations to come, BLANC have been pushing their hardest to transform the dry-cleaning industry for the better, an industry that has resisted change for far too long. Their eco process combines artisan care with expert technology to deliver a better quality clean and is kinder to skin, to clothes, and to our planet.
What Products Should You Always Dry Clean?
Washing from home can sometimes present risk, especially if it’s something that is particularly delicate. Dry cleaning presents a safe alternative if done sustainably, maximising the chances to remove all stains and refresh the fabric. On specifically what to send, Ludovic recommends, “A general rule is to professionally dry clean items which are delicate, fragile, require cautious ironing or have difficult stains. There is no absolute right or wrong response as it’s possible to clean pieces such as silk tops or cashmere jumpers at home, but many find this a risky and time-consuming exercise. If unsure on the quality of the overall result, it’s best to outsource to a professional - especially your favourite clothes.”
What to Know About Washing Clothes from Home
When washing from home, there’s a few rules that should always be followed. Obvious practises such as separating darks from whites should be considered, but it’s less commonly known that printed T-shirts and jeans should always be washed inside out, as well as utilising similar fabrics to ensure that they retain their quality. Finally, towels should ideally be washed separately.
If considering sustainability, Ludovic highlights the importance of washing at a lower temperature, as well as ensuring to fill the machines as much as possible, reducing the amount of energy and water that is used per item. Drying also factors into at-home sustainability, as well as longevity of quality. “The risk (of at-home washing) often happens in the drying, so try to minimise drying with a machine for delicate items”.
How to Care for Leather
A timeless trend piece, leather plays a frequent part in wardrobe and accessory collections, with shoes, handbags and signature clothing including jackets and trousers. Whilst often leather gets better with age, it still needs a level of care to ensure that it’s of good quality. On this, Ludovic says, “Leathers are very complex as they are made from a natural skin and hence have natural imperfections, and whilst they can last for a very long time, they are susceptible to changes in shade, colour or feel during their lifetime. As such, it’s important not only to take your leather to be professionally cleaned, but also to regularly maintain it from home.”
It’s recommended that leather is taken to be professionally cared for every one to two years, whilst you extend its life from home by protecting all new leather purchases with a weatherproof protection spray, using an at-home cleaner to treat any minor stains and manage dirt.
Retaining the Quality of Your Most-Loved Pieces
With a repertoire of investment pieces – and often limited space, there’s some general care rules that can be followed which ensure clothing is looked after year-round. After caring for leather shoes and handbags, they must be stored in their boxes or dust bags, filled with tissue paper or moulds that help them to keep their shape. Making an investment in a selection of good quality hangers is also vital, however heavy clothes and knitwear should always be folded rather than hanging, as well as more delicate pieces that could lose their form.
Building a capsule collection of quality product to create an interchangeable wardrobe allows the opportunity to truly put time and energy into care, and skills such as learning to hand sew can refresh an item in need of a simple upgrade, or even allow creativity in the form of replacing a button with a more personalised touch. Regardless, BLANC CEO Ludovic specifies that some pieces should always be sent to a tailor. “Whilst tailoring can often be a fulfilling form of DIY, it takes practice and can sometimes present risk of a subpar result. When the item needs a perfect fit, or an invisible repair or adjustment then an experienced tailor is required. At BLANC, for example, we have six tailors and work with many high-end fashion houses and retail customers to provide alterations, repairs, restyle and resizing services.”
What is the Best Way to Store Your Coats During the Warmer Months?
The seasonality of dressing, in particular the UK means that twice a year a wardrobe rotation is necessary, each as we enter the warmer and colder seasons. It’s necessary for coats to be stored properly, often crafted with premium wools and materials that require proper storage. On this, Ludovic recommends that coats should be placed in garment bags, or even folded and kept in a suitcase as a savvy decision. “Ideally, coats should be kept away from light, dust and moths. Every year, before putting them away for the season it’s advised to clean your coat to remove any stains. Plus, remember to check that there are no moths within the bag during the storage period; otherwise you may come across an unfortunate surprise once you eventually remove the coat from storage.”