Rips, stains, scuffs, snags, holes — these are but a few of the untimely damages awaiting our favorite pieces on a daily basis. (Hey, even just sitting in our closets, our wardrobes run the risk of harm by way of moths or naughty puppies!) But if you can fix ripped jeans, mend torn sweaters, recondition chewed-up heels, and restore worn-out handbags — i.e. learn how to make your clothes and accessories last longer through methods of repair — your most beloved styles will stay in rotation (and out of landfills) for many years to come.
The only problem? These days, many of us grow up barely learning how to sew on a button. So it’s hardly surprising that a busted zipper or split seam is often a cue to tuck the problem away on a shelf for our future selves to deal with. If you’re reading this, though, maybe you are that future self — or maybe you just want to be prepared the next time the strap breaks on your sandal or you tear a cute vintage dress you *just* bought on Thrilling.
Either way, it’s never a bad time to learn how to mend and start taking better care of your wardrobe. Every time I replace a set of buttons or tape a sagging hem or slather my boots with leather conditioner, I come away feeling like I’ve been reunited with an old friend (one that I’ve probably guiltily ignored for a month... or ten).
Better still, repairing, restoring, and repurposing what we already own is a chance to take back power from a fashion system forever urging us to buy new and buy more.
“It's about taking pleasure in preserving what you've got,” says Nanna Sandom, founder of Splendid Stitches, a London-based vintage clothing alteration and repair studio. “You end up with a completely different relationship with your clothes where you can say, 'I love these things and I'm emotionally invested, so they're going to stay in my wardrobe.’”
Keep reading for tips, techniques, and pros to call for common wardrobe mishaps.
Hole-Ridden Sweaters And Socks
Knitted pieces are prime candidates for darning — a simple technique that can reinforce everything from thinning fabric to gaping holes. To get started, you need only a needle, yarn, and a rounded object to maintain tension in the fabric (traditionally, a wooden darning mushroom, though an apple or orange works in a pinch). Depending on the technique and yarn you use, the finished darn may be visible or may blend into the garment entirely.
Rachel Smith and Sam Bennett host monthly online darning workshops (tickets $27.50) through their research and learning studio Repair Shop. They recommend purchasing a variety pack of needles — embroidery, darning, tapestry (sewing needles are too small to work here) — and a yarn that matches your garment of choice. Practice on socks if you like, since any mistakes will be hidden in shoes, and take comfort knowing you can always take the yarn out if you don’t like the finished result.
While they also do repairs by commission, they advocate taking the DIY route when possible.
“Darning is one of those things where if you practice and practice, you'll get it,” says Smith. “If you have time to practice on things that are less precious, I believe that you can do it yourself.”
The technique isn’t only for mending holes — it can cover up stains, too, and add unique, eye-catching details to a piece.
As a practice, says Bennett, “It's beautiful, it's fun, it's relaxing, but it's also a small form of activism. Doing a visible repair allows us to have that conversation about keeping your things for longer, and also understanding how something is made and who makes it.”
Damaged Or Ill-Fitting Vintage
Yes, it’s intimidating to fix up a piece that can’t easily be replaced — but if doing so keeps it from languishing on a hanger forever, what do you have to lose?
At Splendid Stitches, Sandom says she often has clients come in with a special-occasion item — a grandmother’s wedding dress, say, or an heirloom coat — and, once they see what’s possible, return with armloads of vintage finds for repairs and alterations.
Find a tailor you can trust (word-of-mouth recommendations are great for this) and talk through your issues with the garment in question: maybe the sleeves are too long or too short, the armholes are overly tight, or the lining is torn. These are all eminently fixable problems. Pants can be tapered, elastic waistbands replaced (an easy and necessary repair, as elastic degrades over time), and straps moved for comfort and fit.
Depending on the piece, alterations can also cover or cut out stains and may have the added bonus of protecting the garment from future damage (by keeping a hemline from dragging on the floor, for example).
It helps that vintage silhouettes also often have more seam allowance (that extra fabric around the stitch inside a garment) than their modern counterparts, which gives you or your tailor additional wiggle room for alterations. “Back in the olden days, it was assumed your body shape would change through the years,” says Sandom.
For quick at-home fixes, Sandom advises keeping a basic sewing kit on hand, along with a sharp pair of fabric scissors and some snaps to repair gaping necklines.
Scuffed, Stained, Or Chewed-Up Shoes
Our shoes take harder beatings than maybe anything else in our wardrobes, so our upkeep has to come in just as strong.
The team of specialists at The Restory, an on-demand aftercare service for luxury shoes and accessories, understands this well. The London-based startup takes Christian Louboutin stilettos and Chanel flats with peeling leather, broken heels, and scuffed toes and makes them look as good as new with an array of services including cleaning, resoling, and leather restoration. For satin shoes that have fallen victim to spilled drinks or sudden downpours, the company also offers dyeing services starting at £240 (about $300 USD).
While your local cobbler may not be able to work quite the same magic, they can definitely help by adding a rubber protective sole to your shoes to mitigate wear-and-tear before it happens. (As added motivation, this kind of preventative care tends to be much cheaper than repairs after the fact.)
At The Restory, one of the most transformative services is recovering heels, according to co-founder Emily Rea.
“If you walk over gravel, get heels stuck in the pavement, or have uncleanable stains, your heel stem easily becomes damaged and compromises the look of your whole shoe,” she says. Her fix? “We simply remove the damaged material that covers the heel, source a replacement material that is as close a match to the original as possible, and recover the heel in this new material.”
For easier jobs and season-to-season maintenance, get yourself a kit of basics with products like leather conditioner, shoe polish, shoe cleaner, spray protectant, a microfiber cloth, and a suede brush. These should keep your collection refreshed between visits to the pros.
For high-end handbags, seek out a specialist in your area like New York’s Leather Spa, Santana Leather Care (with five US locations), or The Restory, or get in touch with the brand or retailer to see if they offer repairs. Some companies, like Cobbler Concierge, offer a mail-in service for customers nationwide; contact them for a quote and they’ll provide shipping materials and a timeline for the repairs.
“When it comes to repairs, it’s best to leave this to the professionals,” says Rea. “Sometimes, leather looks dirty when it is actually damaged. In these circumstances, it requires leather restoration.”
Leather care specialists can cover exposed piping, replace crumbling lining, remake handles, and even replace hardware — though you should consult with your provider to see what their services are.
- Wash less. Think twice before washing your clothes. ...
- Wash at low temperatures. ...
- Pay attention to care labels. ...
- Use eco-laundry powders and detergents. ...
- Wash inside out. ...
- Air dry. ...
- Store properly.
- Alter to fit or refresh the style.
Caring for clothing items properly will extend their life. This has important earth-friendly consequences. By cutting consumption of new clothing, we reduce our contribution to fashion's carbon footprint and worldwide waste in landfills.How can I extend the life of my jeans? ›
- Use the right detergent. ...
- Turn jeans inside out before washing. ...
- Don't let it all come out in the wash. ...
- Treat coated jeans with care. ...
- Don't wait around when the wash cycle ends. ...
- Don't over-wash. ...
- Go easy on the tumble drying. ...
- Play it safe with embellished jeans.
Nothing lasts forever, including your clothes, but how long should you expect a garment to last? According to the International Fair Claims Guide for Consumers Textiles Products, assuming normal wear, you can expect most of your clothes to last somewhere between two and three years.Why do we need clothes questions and answers? ›
Answer: We need clothes to cover ourselves and protect us from Dust, rain, insects, sunlight, etc. Like food and shelter are basic needs of a human being to survive.Why do we wear clothes questions and answers? ›
We wear clothes to protect ourselves against the weather such as strong sunlight, extreme cold, heat or rain.Can you give four such examples of clothes? ›
Can you give four such examples of clothes? Ans. Example of such unstitched cloth is Saree, dhoti, lungi, turban, dupatta, towel, etc.What things are important to have in quality clothing? ›
Durable, Dynamic, High-Quality Materials
Look for companies that use high-quality fabrics. Also, look for things that have a blend of materials to make clothes comfortable and functional. For example, a cotton/polyester blend can be soft, super durable, and dry much faster than cotton alone.
Durability means regulatory compliance, but it also means: Higher prices – consumers will pay more for high quality products with longer lifespans. Lower costs – proactive engagement means potential problems are identified and rectified at an earlier stage.How long should you wear your clothes? ›
Shirts and blouses: after 1-2 wearings. Dress pants or slacks: after 2-3 wearings. Jeans: after 4-5 wearings. Sweaters: up to 6 wearings, if worn with an undershirt; 1-2 wearings if worn without an undershirt.
The average lifespan for a pair of jeans, according to the International Fabric Institute Fair Claims Guide, is 2-3 years. But there are a few factors that can either make jeans fall short of that standard or outlast it by years.How do clothes affect your life? ›
The clothes that a person wear often play a vital role in many aspects of their daily lives, such as interpersonal relationships, social situations, and in the professional environment. They are important in establishing an individual's mood, commanding respect, and often affect first impressions too.Do you change your clothes everyday? ›
You should change your clothes daily because bacteria builds up on your clothes from the sweat, the shedding of the skin as well as the nasty odor that comes from wearing the same pieces of clothing too long.Why do we need clothes 5 points? ›
It will also cover the 5 reasons why we wear clothing: protection, adornment, identification, modesty, and status.Why do we need clothes in 3 points? ›
Listed below are the three reasons why we wear clothes: Clothing provides physical safeguards to the body. Clothes Can Be Worn for status, modesty, adornment and identification. Clothes protect us from occupational hazards, weather, heat, dust, rain and cold.What are five reasons we need clothes? ›
- adornment. to decorate the body in a unique way.
- identification. to show where you are a part of in a group.
- status. rank or position in society.
- protection. clothing that keeps you safe from elements.
- modesty. what is appropriate to wear to school and what isn't appropriate to wear to school.
- Define Your Style. ...
- Buy Clothes That Fit You Now. ...
- Choose Quality. ...
- Buy on Sale. ...
- If You Love Something and Will Wear it Forever, Buy It! ...
- If You Don't Love It, Don't Buy It. ...
- Don't Buy Cheap Shoes. ...
- Don't Spend a Lot on Trends.
Sort Clothes by Color
Clothes with deep colors are more likely to bleed dye when washed. To avoid damaging other clothing, sort laundry according to color, grouping dark, medium and light colors separately. Wash deep colored clothing like indigo jeans or red sweatshirts by themselves for the first few washings.
- we should keep in a clean place.
- we should wash them with one day gapping then it will look like new dress.
- dont use chlorine bleach.
- wash your cloth always in cold water.
- wash clothes inside-out.
Underwear and socks should be washed after each wearing. Bras can be worn 2-3 times before washing. Be sure to give your bra a rest day in between wearing to give the elastic a chance to regain its shape. T-shirts, tank tops and camisoles should be washed after each wearing.
1) Different seasons have different types of clothes. For example, the summer season has summer clothes. 2) Winter season has woolen clothes or clothes which keeps our body warm. 3) The rainy season has clothes which protect us from the rain.What types of clothes wear? ›
- Jackets and coats.
- Trousers and shorts.
- Skirts and dresses.
- Shoes, boots and slippers.
- Parts of shoes, boots and slippers.
- Sweaters and waistcoats.
Women: Put on a skirt, khakis, or dress pants paired with long sleeve or three-quarter sleeve tops. A casual dress and flats are options as well. Men: Wear a button-down or a polo shirt, paired with khakis, or dress pants. If you so desire, layer with a v-neck sweater, a blazer, or a sport coat.How do you preserve clothes for years? ›
- Wash Your Clothes Before Storing. Wash and iron your clothes before storing. ...
- Do You Need To Vacuum Seal? There is a large range of vacuum seal bags out on the market, which are great space savers. ...
- Say NO To Plastic Bags and Cardboard Boxes. ...
- Mothballs. ...
- Clean, cool, dark and dry. ...
- Double Check.
Try adding about ½ a cup of salt to your washer before you put your clothes in there. Then dump in the clothes and run your washing machine without detergent. If your whites need refreshing, you can use baking soda or peroxide to make them white again. Measure out either ½ cup of baking soda or 1 cup of peroxide.How do you preserve old clothes? ›
- Storing: Store textiles in a cool, dry location. ...
- Handling: To avoid causing stress, especially on older textiles, handle all textiles gently with two hands. ...
- Cleaning and Mending: Consider the value and condition of your textiles before undertaking any washing, mending, or dry cleaning.
Cotton or linen covers will help keep out dust and pests but also allow the air to circulate. Utilize cedar or cedar oil. Placing cedar blocks or lining a storage area with cedar is a healthier way to deter moths than the use of mothballs. Plus, cedar won't leave your clothes with an undesirable smell.How can I get my clothes color back? ›
Add 1/2 cup (150 g) of salt to the wash cycle. Once you've placed your clothes and detergent in the washing machine, pour about 1/2 cup (150 g) of salt into the drum. In addition to restoring colors, it can also help prevent new clothes from fading in the first place.