The Clothes Doctor team share their best tips and tricks to help you take care of your favourite dress and make it last longer.
When you invest in that dress you really love, it’s worth taking proper care of it so that you can enjoy wearing it for as long as possible. Whether it’s a silk gown, wool dress, or beautifully embellished piece, we’ve all got that favourite dress that we keep going back to and that we want to keep in perfect condition.
Clothes Doctor have teamed up with By Rotation to help you love your clothes for longer and embrace more sustainable fashion habits. And when we consider that the average lifetime of a garment is just 2.2 years, looking after the clothes we love is more important now than ever.
We have curated an expert guide to make it easy for you to keep on enjoying your treasured pieces, so that they are in ready-to-wear-and-rotate condition every time. Not only will you look great in doing so, but can feel confident that you are helping to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion. Read on for our tips and tricks to caring for your favourite dresses…
Quality over quantity
This may seem like an unusual place to start, but choosing to invest in a few high-quality, made-to-last pieces over cheap fast-fashion items will ensure you get the most from your wardrobe in the long run. As a general rule, the more expensive a dress is in the first instance, the longer it will last. This is because of the time and skill that is likely gone into constructing the garment and the quality of the material used that comes with the higher price tag. When looking for that perfect dress, try to move away from a ‘wear it once’ mindset, and make sure you are committed to caring for it.
That said, choosing quality doesn’t necessarily mean buying something new. Renting your wardrobe is a much more efficient, cost-effective way of getting your hands on a high quality, luxury item. This also means that someone else can enjoy your favourite dress just as much as you do – it’s also much kinder to the planet!
Wash your clothes less, wash them better
Laundry is a key part of any laundry maintenance routine, but it's important that we use the correct techniques to keep garments looking their best and to avoid any damage. This is particularly important for dresses, as these typically require special attention when it comes to keeping them clean.
According to Fashion Revolution, up to 25% of each garment’s carbon footprint comes from the way we wash and care for our garments.
Over-washing our clothes is the number one reason that a wardrobe favourite might fade, shrink, or lose its shape. Washing too often will age a garment prematurely by causing the fibres to deteriorate faster. The key is to only wash that dress when it really needs it.
You might find that your favourite dress is labelled ‘dry clean only’, but think twice before sending it to the dry cleaners. This is incredibly damaging to our clothes and the planet – not to mention it will be returned to you in plastic. Instead, we recommend using a delicate hand wash with a gentle detergent such as Clothes Doctor’s Eco Wash for Silk & Delicates. This will really nourish the fibres and leave garments naturally clean and fresh.
For a quick refresh, steaming is an effective and natural method of cleaning your favourite dresses. This will not only reduce the appearance of wrinkles (perfect for silk!) but will also remove any odour. Steaming is also better for our clothes than ironing, which can flatten the fibres and cause irreversible damage. This can be done at home or by a professional.
It’s important to note here that if your dress has any embellishments or beading, we wouldn’t recommend washing it at home, as these can become damaged or fall off. You can also use a steamer to de-wrinkle beaded or sequined clothing that can’t be washed.
Repair & Restore
When the heart-breaking moment arrives when your favourite dress rips or the beading falls off, consider mending before sending an old favourite to landfill. We recommend that any small holes or tears are mended as quickly as possible to prevent them from getting worse. Wearing a damaged dress will only result in further damage. But don’t panic – these can be fixed by a seamstress, such as Clothes Doctor, in no time.
There are many ways to restore an old favourite. For example, dyeing a faded dress or adding new buttons will give it a new lease on life. The possibilities are truly endless – speak to a seamstress to discuss any ideas you may have.
Practice good storage habits
When you aren’t wearing your favourite dress, it’s important to store it correctly so that it’s ready for that last-minute event or party. How you store your dress depends on your wardrobe space and the garment type. We recommend either box or hanger storage.
Ensure the space is cool, dark, and dry, to protect your garment from humidity, sunlight, and damp. All of these will likely cause damage and increase the need to clean the garment.
For hanger storage, invest in good quality hangers that can hold the weight of the dress. This is particularly important for heavily beaded dresses. Wooden hangers are best as they are made from natural material, will last longer, and will hold the shape of the garment better than wire. Remember to leave a gap between your dresses to allow them to breathe.
Top tip: line the hanger with tissue paper to protect any beading or use a breathable garment bag for extra protection.
If you’d prefer to store a special dress away from your everyday wardrobe, use acid-free tissue paper to line a storage box. Lay the hem in the box first, then fold the dress. We also recommend this method for stretchy dresses, as these will keep their shape better laying flat.
With these top tips, your favourite dresses will last longer and stay beautiful. This will not only help to reduce the environmental impact of fashion, but will allow you to keep wearing the items you really love.
Want to use the Clothes Doctor for any cleaning and repair service? Head into your Profile on the app and scroll down to 'Eco-friendly cleaning & repairs', from here you will be redirected to their web page where you can select a service!