How to Take Care of Your Clothes


Buying clothes that are made to last is one thing, but there is a lot more you can do to make them last. We asked designers and the dry cleaners they use for advice on how to care for their clothes. And our most important takeaway is that, first and foremost, everything we wear should be enjoyed accessorized with joy rather than fear of being ruined. Here are some expert tips for properly wearing, storing, and even cleaning your clothes to extend the life of your favorite items.


Take care of swimwear

Treat Your Delicates Like Delicates

Araks Yeramyan, the founder of Araks, is beloved for her line’s underthings and swimsuits — which she says to wash by hand and never put in the dryer. “On a few lazy occasions, I have tried putting intimates in the machine, and the elastic is never the same.” Even while traveling, she’ll pack light and hand-wash items in the shower. 



Method for washing delicates at home:

  1. Wash like colors together.
  2. Fill a basin with cool water and a gentle detergent . Or in a pinch, fill the sink with water and shampoo, in her case).
  3. Swirl the laundry a few times over the course of an hour.
  4. Gently squeeze out excess water.
  5. Dry on a drying rack.

Rinse After Taking a Dip

“Swimwear always needs to soak in water after every use; the saltwater or chlorine breaks down the fibers and the elastic. Your suits will last much longer if you follow this rule,” said Yeramyan.

Let Everything Air Out

“Everything with elastic in it should be in a rotation, especially bras. The elastic needs to relax. In general, no matter what you do, elastic has a shelf life, but the better you take care of them the longer they will last.” 

Yeramyan also recommends storing lingerie with space around it, for a little breathing room. And slipping empty perfume bottles into lingerie drawers: “The idea is it leaves a little scent behind.”


Take care of Tops

Dress Shirts


“The width of the hanger should not overpass the width of the shirt shoulders.”

Pay Close Attention to Collar Insides. Stains from skin products, such as lotion or makeup, can settle here. Make sure to wash them right away, especially before hanging shirts in the closet (scroll down for stain removal tips). Dryers should be avoided. They will break down the fibers of the fabric, causing the garment to shrink and age prematurely.

Instead, hangers should be air-dried. Colban prefers natural materials. “The hanger’s width should not exceed the width of the shirt’s shoulders.” Make sure the shoulders are well laid on the hanger and, in general, pull a little bit on the fabric of the shirt to limit wrinkles (this will make ironing easier).” She recommends leaving space between hangers in the closet to keep the pressed shirts smooth.
Stains should be rewashed. “Before ironing, make sure that there are no more stains.” If so, wash the shirt again.”
Using Water to Iron. Colban supports either steam or no steam ironing, but cautions against completely dry ironing. “It’s best to iron the shirt while it’s still damp.” If necessary, a water spray can make ironing easier.”
Iron in Place. According to Colban, the proper ironing order is collar, cuffs, and then the rest of the shirt. 
Pack them carefully. Before packing a dress shirt:
  1. Button the shirt completely.
  2. Put a plastic or cardboard band — the kind that come inside new shirts from the store, or from the cleaners — inside the collar (to help support the collar and maintain its shape.)
  3. With the shirt front-side down, place a sheet of paper or tissue paper on the back of the shirt before folding it (to avoid creases). 
  4. Use soft cases, to keep the shirts in good condition. 
  5. When piling the shirts, alternate their directions.

nsider Tip: Wrinkle-Free Traveling. “I travel with a small spray bottle, and then I fill it with water,” says Bruce Pask, Bergdorf Goodman’s men’s fashion director. “When I unpack, I just give the shirts a quick spritz and tug on the bottom of the hem, and then the wrinkles kind of come out naturally without needing to press it again.”


To avoid wrinkles, Wash Gently recommends washing T-shirts in cold water and drying on permanent press. Try OxiClean as well. “I’m not saying it’ll remove pit stains, but I put it in everything.”
Be cautious when storing. T-shirts stay fluffy when folded. To avoid extra creases, fold in the sleeves toward the back and then fold the T-shirt in half crosswise once. And keeping them on the shelf in a light stack. He claims that hanging T-shirts causes unsightly hanger marks and stretches them — T-shirts can grow an inch just from gravity’s effect on cotton.



“Clean pants twice during the summer. And then when you’re done with the season, clean them once again before you put them back into your closet.” —Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman, a department store that specializes in luxury goods.

Bergdorf Goodman’s men’s fashion director Bruce Pask recommends being mindful of the types of pants you buy in the first place to avoid high-maintenance care. “I’m not a big fan of linen pants,” he says. “I believe they are far too wrinkled and fragile.” Instead, he wears worsted wool pants in the summer and wool flannel in the winter, both of which are machine washable.pants

Pask’s other low-maintenance pants rituals are as follows:
Avoid overwashing. “I think your regime is very personal, but depending on how heavy the rotation is, I would say clean pants twice during the summer.” When you’re finished with the season, clean them again before putting them back in your closet.” 
Purchasing is an insider tip. Even if a pair of pants is labeled as prewashed, Pask warns that some shrinkage will occur during the washing process. “When I buy them, I make sure to leave some room for shrinkage.”
Moths should never be underestimated. Pask discovered Insects Limited’s pheromone traps during a terrifying moth infestation (from a European hotel during fashion week). “I order from them once a year, and I’ll just get a set of traps and put them around the house as a preventative measure.” Angela Koh, T’s market editor, suggests stuffing drawers and closets with lavender sachets to repel pests and keep things smelling nice.
Hang with caution. Instead of organizing pants by color, Pask recommends organizing them by season, with lighter-weight pants on one end of the closet and heavier ones on the other — so you can easily find what you’re looking for while getting dressed.
Travel smart. “Because I travel to Italy so frequently for work, I bought an Italian travel iron there because the voltage variance with things like hair dryers and travel irons is just never quite right and you end up blowing out the circuit of the item.” He also travels with a lint roller and recommends a retractable model: Flint rollers are small and compact, keeping refillable lint sheets safe in your bag.
Get ready to sew. “Buttons simply pop.” It simply happens. So whenever I stay in a hotel, I always bring my sewing kit and store it in my luggage. Don’t be afraid to take them home — that’s why they’re there.” (If you prefer nicer thread and tools, Sweethome tested nine sewing kits to find the best.)


Jeans are possibly the most low-maintenance pants available.
“Wearing raw denim consistently and not washing them will give you a more interesting 
pair of jeans down the road,” says Daniel Corrigan, half of the Simon Miller design duo. 
However, he adds that washing will not harm them and that turning jeans inside out will protect the indigo color.
Similarly, don’t be concerned about how you store your denim, whether neatly folded in a drawer or tossed into a pile on a chair — “the great thing about denim is that it’s not delicate” — and don’t be afraid to wear it every day or to get holes. “The knees are typically the first to wear out, but denim looks great with ripped knees!”

Stain Removal

“The longer you wait to remove a stain, the less likely you’ll be able to remove it.” —Johnny Xirouchakis, general manager of Madame Paulette, a high-end, New York City cleaner.

The gold standard for New York cleaners (Vogue and Anna Wintour are clients), is a fashion-world fixture. According to Johnny Xirouchakis, the company’s general manager, “it’s been proven in studies that the longer you wait to remove a stain, the less likely you’ll be able to remove it.” And his do-it-yourself stain-removal tip is as straightforward as it gets: 
  1. Wet a cloth with cold water. (Avoid using paper towels so that they don’t shed on your garment and create more of a mess.)
  2. Add a drop of dish detergent to the wet cloth. (Xirouchakis suggests using “a citrus-based soap — anything that smells like lemon or orange.”)
  3. Place another cloth beneath the stain if you can.
  4. Press on the stain, over and over, to lift it out. Resist the urge to rub, or you might damage the fabric. 
  5. You can let the stain sit overnight, even in water, before putting it in the laundry. Or you can wash immediately after treating the stain.

Here experts explain how to safely remove other types of stains at home — on garments that can be washed with water. Wash the garment as usual after following each instruction. 

Blood or Ink. Re-wet the stain with ice cold water using a cloth underneath the soiled area.

Dirt. Remove any mud chunks with care. Place the garment in lukewarm water and wring it out to remove as much dirt as possible. Apply detergent to the stain and re-soak for 30 minutes before rinsing and repeating. 

Tomato. Pick up any excess tomato sauce with a butter knife or spoon. Apply detergent to the stain and rinse with cold water from the underside of the garment (to push the stain out rather than back into the garment). 
Coffee. Cold water should be used to remove the stain. Then, use a mild cleaning solution (6 ounces water, 2 ounces color-safe detergent) to remove the stain. If that doesn’t work, try a more abrasive solution (2 oz. water, 2 oz. color-safe bleach). 

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