Looking After Your Clothes & Understanding Your Fabrics

By Angela Marshall, 7th Nov 2012


I notice when I sort people’s wardrobes that often garments are not looking as good or lasting as long as they should due to being washed incorrectly or dry cleaned too often.  It is important to care for your clothes so that they look good all the time and last a long time.

Think CPW – cost per wear

The more you wear an item the cheaper it becomes, as we say in the business – “Cost per Wear”.  An example would be a suit that costs you £500 and you wear it 1 day a week for 3 years, it will have cost you less than £3.50 per wear, whereas a shirt you bought for £30 and wore once has cost you £30 per wear.

Check the Washing Label on Your Clothes

It is vital you check the care label of your garment, always follow the guidelines and don’t tumble dry any clothes that don’t recommend it. It is advisable not to send your suits or jackets to the cleaners too often. A wool suit should only need cleaning two or three times a year, as wool breathes but items with synthetic fibres added will need cleaning more often. With its use of chemicals, dry cleaning prematurely ages clothes and can break down the fusing in a jacket, which will encourage a jacket to wrinkle.

Fabric Piling

Fabric piling is the formation of small, fuzzy balls on the surface of a fabric.  It can make a garment look old and worn. Certain types of fibres e.g. angora and cashmere are more prone to fabric piling , but fabric piling can be prevented, to some extent, by the correct washing and care of clothes.  Wash your garments inside out and on a shorter gentle wash cycle (unless heavily stained) and ensure you remove them from the dryer, if it is appropriate to use, as soon as the cycle is complete.  To remove fabric piles it is best to use a knitwear comb, otherwise  stretch the fabric over a curved surface  such as an ironing board and carefully pull off the piles .

Suggestions on How to Look after Various Fabrics

There are so many fabrics and mix of fabrics available, but here are some suggestions:

Cotton – this is relatively low maintenance and can be washed in warm water and tumble dried but 100% does need ironing to look smart and for a crisp look use starch spray.

Silk – depending on the type of silk it is best for the item to be dry cleaned. If the items are machine washable or you wish to risk it (e.g. after having had the item for some time), then I recommend washing it by hand and avoid wringing the garment, drip dry and use a very cold iron if needed.

Polyester – this is generally machine washable at a low temperature and use low heat in your dryer or hang out to dry. Avoid having the item in the dryer for too long. Generally the good thing is it doesn’t need ironing.

Cashmere – check out my blog – for information and tips on how to look after cashmere.

Remember to look stylish you need to be well groomed which means your clothes need to look perfect.

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Welcome to Angela Marshall's Blog. Angela Marshall
"I am in the third phase of my life and having been a successful image consultant for 18 years, I now enjoy the freedom of blogging about life in general, especially fashion, grooming, etiquette and manners." Angela Marshall
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