Cut Your Clothes Budget—Take Care of What you Already Own



Everyone wants to look good, and if you want to succeed out in the world the right clothes are a necessity. But it is not necessary to go out and spend large amounts of money on new duds every month. For frugalistas like us, it makes a lot more sense to take care of what you already have, and only replace things when they wear out. Follow these tips to keep your wardrobe in great shape and keep your money in the bank:

  1. Buy right to begin with. It is OK to have a few delightful dry clean only items in your closet. But always be aware of the maintenance costs when you are considering a purchase. If you work in a very conservative or style conscious profession you may need to get some dry clean only items for work. The rest of us can probably stick with wash and wear.
  2. Know the difference between “dry clean only” and simply “dry clean” on the care tags on your clothes. One is mandatory, the other is merely a suggestion. If is says “dry clean” you may be able to hand wash it gently and either hang or lay flat to dry. Heavier knits and other stretchable fabrics should be dried flat so the don’t get pulled out of shape by their own weight. Lighter, non-stretchy items may be hung up on hangers and left on your shower rod, or hung outside.
  3. Silk can generally be washed if has a light colored dye. The brighter colors may fade if you wash them. Cashmere washes nicely. It may even work to put them in the washer on gentle, then lie flat to dry. Wool should NEVER be dried in a dryer.
  4. Do separate your darks and lights to avoid ruining the lighter items. And pull everything out of the dryer as soon as it is finished to avoid pilling.
  5. Don’t over-wash. Every time you wash an item it gets a little more worn out. Just keep your clothes presentable. Don’t wash them to death.
  6. If you get a stain, try to remove it immediately. The longer it sits the harder it is to get out. Different stains require different treatments. One product that does the trick in most cases is Oxy Clean. Just apply to the stain and wet down. Soak for a few minutes before you wash.
  7. Get things taken up or in as needed. Especially if pants are to long. Hem them before the bottoms get frayed. You’ll look better and the pant bottoms won’t be ruined.
  8. Small tears can be usually be mended. If the tear is along a seam it is very easy. Otherwise you need to access whether it is worth the trouble.
  9. Take off your good clothes and hang them up when you get home. It is just to easy to start watering the garden or cooking dinner and then something might go very wrong. You’ll feel better anyhow if you separate work from play. Changing signals your mind that you are home.

If you follow these simple rules you will come out ahead and still look fabulous.

Here are some links to for more helpful information:


2 Responses

  1. Great advice but I’d like to add one suggestion. If you don’t have a clothes line, set one up. It’s good for the environment and you save on your PG&E bill but it also makes many clothes last much longer. Anything with elastic is best dried this way. Most black clothes benefit, as well. Clothes that are dried in the sun or on an indoor line or rack remain vibrant and last longer.

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