Caring for Your Cheap Chic Clothing

Many women complain that their clothing from fast fashion retailers like H&M or F21 don’t last 3 or 4 washing. Well, I have a dress I purchased from Forever 21 in 2006 and it still looks new and is holding up just fine, with many more years to go. I don’t have money to waste and I don’t believe in the concept of ‘disposal clothing’ — you wear a few times and then toss.  Nope, that’s just sheer waste and very anti-Green.    Here are a few tips that I’ve learned to keep my purchases lasting for years.  There is a method to the madness:  It’s very important to understand how to care for your cheap chic items.
Tips for Caring for your Cheap Chic Wardrobe
  • Always buy the correct size. When you buy your clothing too small, you are putting stress on the seams. If they are out of your size, find something similar instead of purchasing a size that is too small. Shop around at other stores that may carry the same type of styles and brands so you can get the proper size.
  • Reinforce all of your buttons. I’ve notice that manufacturers use minimal thread when attaching buttons and many do not give you an extra button, so make sure you reinforce them as soon as you get home.
  • Cut off all loose thread. Make sure you look over the garment and cut away all loose thread that could unravel (don’t pull because most garments are sewn with one pass and when you pull on the thread you could be starting a hole someone in that seam). It also helps to make the garment look neater.
  • Never let anybody borrow your clothing. (This is for the younger readers). My experience is that most people don’t follow the care tag instructions for their own garments, much less your. Direct them to where you bought your and let them get their own stuff!
  • Reinforce your seams. If you have some knowledge of sewing and own a sewing macine, you can reinforce seams where you think they need them (under arms, around shoulder blades, neckline, etc). This is a good way to get your cheap chic clothing lasting a lot longer then the average persons. This is key to why my items hold up better then the next persons.
Washing Your Cheap Chic Items
  • Cold Water Wash.  Wash all of your cheap chic purchases with Woolite products in Cold water (wash + rinse) on a gentle or short cycle.
  • Use a teaspoon of liquid fabric softener if necessary.  This is very, very important to maintain the integrity of the fabric and the color. Fabric softeners coat your items with chemicals that decrease the absorbency and I personally never liked the way my garment looks or the waxy way it feels after using a cup of fabric softener in a wash load. White Vinegar is a better alternative and it helps to break down the detergent so it rinses out of your clothes better. When used properly it does not leave a smell on your clothing at all.
  • Wash similar colors and fabric types together.  Not a good idea to wash a pink terrycloth robe with a black shirt, you’re just asking for trouble.  Wash nylons with nylons and cottons with cottons. Fabrics that are easy to stain when mixed with other fabrics ( khaki and beige) should be wash with very few items of the same color family. Especially Khaki, I have stained several nice pieces in my day so now I wash these items by themselves or with only 2 or 3 other pieces made of fabrics that won’t accidentally bleed like nylon.
  • Do not put your clothing in the dryer.   Best practice is to take all the clothes you care about and air / hang dry.  I only use the dryer for towels, socks, robes and sweatpants.  Dryers can be very damaging to your clothing especially when dried at a high temperature. It can weaken and separate the fibers in your clothes leaving them limp and fade out the dye in your garments.  Not to mention generating lint if mixed in with the wrong fabrics. When hanging clothes out to air dry, as soon as your clothes are dry remove them from the clothes rack or hanger to prevent them from getting overly stiff. Clothes can dry incredible fast when hung in a sunroom on a clothing rack or in a well ventilated room.


Be Careful

  • Stains.  Should you end up getting a unexpected stain or spill on your garment.  My suggestion is to carry Tide Stain Removing Pen with you in your handbag for emergencies to keep the stain from setting in.
  • Be careful with high maintenance fabrics like silk, satin and suede.  Once you get any kind of oil in these fabrics, it’s hard to remove. I really have not had any success removing oil stains from these kinds of fabric.
  • Hang your clothes with the right type of clothes hangers to avoid stretching and mis-shaping your garment.  Use padded hangers for sweaters, delicate blouses and tops.  Clipped hangers for skirts and trousers and rounded shape hangers for blazers and jackets.

Article written by Budget Chic © All Rights Reserved 2010. Written permission to republish in any form is required from author.

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19 Responses to Caring for Your Cheap Chic Clothing

  1. Psyche says:

    What a fantastic post!!

  2. Angela says:

    Great tips! I agree, one can enjoy seasons of wear of inexpensive items with the proper care and maintenance. Fray Check is great for reinforcing the threads of buttons and buttonholes as well as securing the loose threads. If you just can’t manage to sew with a needle and thread there’s OK to Wash It and Unique Stitch.

  3. A-C says:

    My one caveat to add to this is not to use woolite on bras. Apparently it tends to break down the lycra in them thus shortening their lives. My bra lady told me to hand wash with a bit of gentle detergent and its worked for me so far.

    • Profile photo of Budget Chic Budget Chic says:

      @ A-C – I agree you should handwash your bra. There might even natural products you can use to clean your bra instead of a detergent. I’ll have to do some research on that. Thanks for tip! :-)

  4. mystyle says:

    Hi my dear-great tips indeed, to follow these your pieces will certainly last so much longer! Hope you’re well and have a great week too x

  5. Emma Yamada says:

    I LOVE LOVE this post and it is very true. I have clothes from Forever 21 that are years old that still look new because I take care of them. I Really appreciate this post.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Good ideas. I also use a garmet bag, one of those mesh bags you can get from the dollar store, and put my silky or delicate things in them for the delicate cycle. That way they do not bump too much against other fabrics and could help minimize snagging.

  7. Shen Dove says:

    These are excellent trips that I will definitely implement to care for my clothing.

  8. Julie says:

    Thanks for all the great tips! It will help me preserve my wardrobe and keep it looking new.

  9. Jenny says:

    I have cheap chic clothes that I bought in high school or college, and they’re still wearable. So I’m surprised to hear that some people are saying they only last three or four washings. I totally agree about avoiding the dryer; it really weakens fabrics. I bought a wooden drying rack and hang all my lingerie & pantyhose, camisoles on it. Freshly washed shirts are put on nice hangers to air-dry in my closet. Also, I rotate and don’t wear any one thing too often.

  10. Jasmine says:

    I agree with you on the cold water wash, it keeps the colors in your clothes more vibrant. Thanks for sharing these tips! :-)

  11. MoniMoni says:

    I’ve been cold water washing for the past 15 years and it does help with maintaining the color of your clothes. Also a handwasher of bras person. I’m large chested and my bras cost a fortune, so I’ve always listened to the women in the lingerie store when they would give instructions on caring for undergarments.

  12. lynda johnson says:

    Great advice, I think am going to try the white vinegar as a softener never heard of that.

  13. Kim Brown says:

    This is a great post! I stress these very techniques to my teen daughter because the majority of her shopping is done in those stores! Awesome info!

  14. Marian says:

    great tips honey

  15. Donna says:

    Wonderful tips!

    Thanks a million!

  16. Angela says:

    Just came across your blog. I’m loving everything about it. Great tips. thanks!

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