II. THE EXECUTION, Step 5:

Maintaining & adding to your wardrobe

Having done all the hard work of setting up your ideal wardrobe, you will want to make sure it remains in a good state afterwards.

There is no point putting in all your hard work to then just fall back into the same bad habits of letting your wardrobe overflow. So instead, change your old ways and keep your newly set up wardrobe organised.

This means firstly looking after your clothing. After all you have invested time and money into an item, so why wouldn't you want it to last for as long as possible? If something is damaged, try to repair it first.

If it is beyond repair, you will need to replace it. And similarly, there will be times when you will want to add new items to your wardrobe. When you have to make a purchase, make it a conscious one. Do your research, weigh up all of your options, and then make a decision. Shopping sprees hardly ever end well.

Ongoing care of your clothing

When you invest in garments that you love you want to take good care of them to get the maximum wear out of them. Regardless of an item's price tag, it is a crucial part of your wardrobe and you should treat it as such.

A long-lasting item means you won't have to replace it too quickly which helps you save money and means fewer things end up in landfill. With a few tips you can easily make your wardrobe last longer:

Only wash clothes when necessary

Although it can be easier to just throw things in the laundry basket, you should only wash your clothing when it needs it. With each wash the life of your garment is slightly reduced - colours fade, stitching weakens, fibres are released. Plus, there is no need to wash an item after wearing it once. If it doesn't smell and isn't soiled you can comfortably wear it at least one more time.When it comes to jumpers and other knitwear, you might be surprised to learn that these items do not belong in the washing machine. Although you can machine wash some knitted fabrics, it's better to keep washing them to an absolute minimum. Instead, let your knitwear air out. Hang it outside for a few hours and all smells will be gone.

Follow the care instructions

Make sure you always follow the care instructions on the label; they are there for a reason. The wrong care can leave you with ruined clothes.In general, always opt for the most gentle care. Use the delicate washing cycle as often as possible which will also reduce the need to iron certain garments and you'll be doing the environment a favour.

Dry cleaning is the harshest cleaning method out of all because of the chemicals that go into the process. It is not only damaging to your skin and the environment but also to the life of your clothes so try to avoid it wherever possible.

Repair damages straight away

Repair any wear and tear to your garments and undergarments straight away to avoid damage worsening. And you don't necessarily need a tailor or sewing machine for that; learn how to mend clothing by hand. Even though it's tempting to simply replace a damaged item with a cheap new one, in the long run you will save more money repairing what you already have.

Adding to your wardrobe

Making a new addition to your wardrobe should not be taken light-heartedly. Although we have been sold by fast fashion the vision that clothing is available in abundance and at such low price, the overall cost to our bank accounts and the environment outweighs the benefits of such convenience.

And you might be wondering why you should repair some cheap item that you can simply replace with an equally cheap one. And this is where the relationship with our clothing needs to be repaired. If you purchase only things that you really value, appreciate, and love you will not want to go and replace these things easily. So make your purchases count.

Prepare & plan

When you shop for new additions, be prepared. You are less likely to make an impulse purchase when you go shopping with a plan in mind. The following guidelines will help you make the right decisions:

Integrate new items into your master plan

Is the item a replacement for a broken item or does it fill a gap in your wardrobe? Great, get it.If not, where does it fit in with the rest of your wardrobe? Look at each item subjectively, consider its use in your wardrobe, how it fits with your colour palette, and if it works for your body shape.

Don't buy straight away

Never purchase something right away. Wait at least a week and then ask yourself: Do I still want this item? If not, it was not worth the investment.

Research online

Nowadays we are fortunate enough to have all this information online at our fingertips. Let's use it to our advantage! A bit of time spent researching exactly what you are after and where to get it is time well spent. Shop around to find the item that best matches what you are looking for, instead of opting for the first thing you see.

Beware of marketing tricks

One of the biggest contributions to our change in shopping habits has come from marketing and social media. While these outlets are fantastic tools to use for wardrobe and style inspiration, they can also be triggers that provoke the feeling of missing out and needing something new when we don't.

Understand quality

Consumer quality standards regarding clothing have dropped as rapidly as prices have. We buy fast fashion because of the low prices and accept that the garments will fall apart after wearing them a few times. That being said, price does not strictly equal quality. Not every affordable item is necessarily of poor quality; and likewise not every expensive item is of the highest quality.

When you are out shopping first look for signs of quality rather than the price tag. Know what to look for when it comes to stitches, learn about different fabrics and their qualities, and understand how a garment is constructed.

Buy less, buy better

Instead of buying ten different t-shirts of poor quality, buy one that you truly love. This way you will make sure that it lasts as long as possible. This might also mean that you have a larger budget to invest in that particular item.

And even if your budget constrains you to the prices offered at high street shops try to buy fewer items and make them last longer by looking well after them. You will be surprised by the amount of money you will have saved by the end of the year.

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