I believe if you look hard enough in a bad situation, you can find some opportunities or blessings. COVID has ravaged the world, no doubt, but I think we will all walk away from this more appreciative and present.
COVID has encouraged us to value things a lot more. Prior to that, we were frivolous, and I don’t just mean with things. We were frivolous with our attitudes, about our connections with others, with where we put our attention, and in what we considered important. We bought clothing that was essentially disposable, we promoted public figures who didn’t really do much to deserve it, and we were frivolous with precious resources. If we walk away from COVID with a different value system, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the global pandemic was worth it, but I will say it would be a silver lining.
COVID has also created an economic slowdown and many people, particularly those in Black and Latino communities, are struggling to make ends meet. Food insufficiency and the ability to cover expenses have nearly doubled in American families since the pandemic and unemployment has skyrocketed.
While depressing, we are now re-evaluating. Despite an economic slowdown, people are looking to invest in things of greater value and care for them. We want things that are lasting, not fleeting.
Clothing Maintenance Products to Stuff in the Stockings this Year
If you were around for, or have seen a TV show from the ’50s, ’60s, or even the ’70s, when things broke or were in disrepair, people fixed or mended them. There were actual repair shops or people fixed things themselves. This no longer exists and given the disposable nature of the world, no real reason to even maintain things. It breaks, you replace it. There is an entire generation of young adults who don’t even have an experience of lasting things or how to care for them. While I can’t give you direction on how to fix a broken lamp or fix that strange noise happening in your refrigerator, I can give you some help with products you can use to maintain your wardrobe so it lasts longer and is worth the investment. Here are some products to consider, many of which will make some great stocking stuffers.
Let’s start with laundering. If you haven’t heard of The Laundress, you need to jump over to the site because it is a great place to start. If you want your clothing to last, you need to consider what you use to wash your clothes and all the products out there that will increase the longevity of your clothing. Products like low sudsing delicate wash from products like my personal favorite, Soak Wash, mesh bags for washing delicates and products that will help you remove stains are just a few things you can consider. You wouldn’t wash your face with hand soap, why wash your clothing with the wrong detergent?
And don’t wring your handwash out. Here is my tip on how to use a salad spinner instead.
Having tools on hand to care for your clothing will help maintain and increase their longevity. Things like sprays to keep your clothing fresh between dry cleaning, cashmere combs, and shavers (never use a shaver on cashmere), and other products you can have on hand to make maintenance easier will not only increase the longevity but will keep these items from needing to be laundered or dry cleaned as frequently.
If you are looking to invest in your clothing and want it to last, you need to meet your clothing halfway and care for them.
Mending, Prevention, and Care
When you compare how men care for their clothing vs. women it’s quite interesting. Men think nothing of shining their shoes regularly but women hardly consider it. The next chance you get, jump in a shoeshine chair and having someone shine your favorite leather boots. It’s quite liberating. I recently bought a pair of Chelsea sneakers where the reviewers mentioned they were hard to get on and I wondered if these women never heard of a shoehorn. So many of these things women never learn.
Have a shoehorn on hand, a sewing kit, and at least know how to sew a basic button and a hem. Saddle soap can help maintain leather goods, a suede brush, and suede protection spray (watch the video below on how to use) can increase the longevity of your favorite suede products, and if you are unwilling to get in a shoeshine chair, shine your shoes at home.
Lastly, storage. How you store your clothing can make or break how long they last. You know the importance of good hangers, to not hang sweaters, and to not store things in dry cleaning bags. If you have clothing stored in dry cleaning bags, I want you to stop reading, go to your closet and rip them off. The last thing you want to do is keep clothing in these bags. Fibers need to breathe and plastic will suffocate your clothing and break those fibers down quicker. Don’t use those vacuum bags on your clothing either. Products like lavender or cedar can keep moths away, storing sterling silver away from light can keep it from tarnishing and if you use tissue paper when storing things away it should always be acid-free. Acid-Free Tissue helps retain the shape of clothing and prevents fiber breakage
Do you have any clothing maintenance products I neglected to mention or brands you just love? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.