ICYMI: There’s more to Blair Waldorf’s enviable wardrobe than good taste and a limitless budget: as all Gossip Girl fans know, she was also in possession of a very savvy maid.
But outside of New York’s Upper East Side, the rest of us aren’t so lucky. A quick poll of the marie claire office reveals every woman is scarred by at least one laundry-related disaster – be it the Zimmermann silk cami that was accidentally washed on hot with heavy-duty powder (RIP) or the Chloé cashmere that should never, ever have gone in with the jeans.
But you don’t have to blow your clothes budget on regular dry-cleaning to look after your precious threads – follow the below simple tips to keep your favourites looking fresh for as long as possible.
1/ Cut back on your laundry – yes, really
Just like those Ksubi jeans we all loved circa 2005, the less you wash some items, the better. “Sometimes it just isn’t necessary to wash after one wear!” confirms StyledBy marie claire content editor Brittany Henderson. “Not only does it use valuable water and electricity, but it can shorten the life span of a garment. I’m not talking gym clothes, of course, but I only wash jeans once every couple of months to keep their shape.”
Regular washing can affect the brightness of clothes’ colours, fading them over time as well as distorting their shape. Instead, air clothes like jeans and jumpers between washes, or consider the Electrolux UltraMix™ Front Load Washer, which has a handy Vapour Refresh setting that revitalises clothes without detergent. Using nothing but vapour, it works to remove wrinkles, odour and retains clothes’ brightness.
2/ Be discerning about your detergent
All detergents are not created equal (just ask anyone whose boyfriend has thrown their Bianca Spender blazer in with the Biozet). Liquid detergents are generally more delicates-friendly than powder, but ideally, you want a washing machine that dilutes the product before it hits your precious clothes. The Electrolux UltraMix™ Front Load Washer does just that, giving the power of a hot wash using a lower (read: more clothes-friendly) temperature. Genius.
3/ Know your cycle
A word to the wise: diehard fashion girls might be familiar with the difference between the hand-wash setting and gentle, but your boyfriends/husbands/housemates definitely aren’t. Consider this essential reading for anyone coming into contact with your precious clothes:
All delicates (that’s laundry speak for wool, cashmere, silk, lace – you get the picture) should go in the gentlest setting your washing machine offers, with cold water and preferably in a laundry bag. Front-loader machines are considered more gentle on your clothes than top-loaders, but keep your favourite pieces looking newer for longer with machines that boast a Woolmark Certified Woolen cycle, like the Electrolux range. Created especially for machine-washable wool pieces they wash without risk of shrinkage.
4/ Dry clean with caution
Resist the urge to just take everything to the dry cleaners. “Not only is it expensive, but dry cleaning can actually be super-harsh,” says Henderson. “Over-use will dull colours, damage embellishments and wear away at the fabric.” Bonus: all that extra cash can be spent on new clothes, not cleaning old ones.
5/ Rethink your wardrobe
Channel your inner Blair Waldorf and create a wardrobe worthy of your favourite pieces. Metal hangers from the dry cleaners must be banished at once; instead, choose thick timber or upholstered hangers to keep clothes in shape. Knits and tees should be kept folded on shelves rather than hanging to keep them looking new long after one season.