The Fashionable Student: How to Make Your Clothes Actually Last
“When it comes to student life, one of the biggest topics being debated at the moment is: will we keep our maintenance grants or won’t we?” write The Huffington Post.
Either way, the money struggles for us students are very real. So real that when it comes to buying clothes, it sometimes feels like we’re just throwing our money in the bin, literally. We buy garments that barely last a whole season, just because we can’t afford to buy better quality clothes. The problem to this lies solely in the cost of living. Yes, we can afford to buy a good coat and pair of boots but at what cost? Living off biscuits for a week? Being short rent money? It’s when we put the basics first, leaving our overdrafts to run dry as a result, that we end up using the last of our money to buy “fast fashion,” which we then end up replacing a few weeks later. We all know it’s not going to last, but how else are we going to afford to buy a few jumpers to keep us warm over the winter? I mean, let’s face it, the point of “fast fashion” is that it isn’t meant to last, so how can we keep our wardrobe going until the new season?
Well, with a few alterations to your care, washing and wearing of your clothes, it’s totally doable. Trust me! So whether you’re scrapping by on “fast fashion” or there’s that one t-shirt you’re dying to keep wearable for as long as possible, here’s some tips on how to make your clothes last longer…
This one is like a pre-purchase tip. If you’re a smart shopper then your clothes are going to last longer because you’ve grabbed the best deal for the best price. And yes, with the right know-how on label reading and a bit of time you’ll be able to grab some quality clothing on your tiny budget. If you haven’t read my guide already, remember: know your fabrics, do your research, get your priorities right and think before you buy.
Don’t over wear
Just because it’s your favourite t-shirt or jacket doesn’t mean you have to wear it nearly everyday. Rotate your wardrobe: don’t wear the same garment more than once a week (minimum) and let your clothes have a good’ole rest from being washed, ironed and worn. Just like you they need a rest once in a while and they’ll last a lot longer if you regularly give them time off. If you don’t have that many clothes in your uni wardrobe, but have more at home, then make sure you rotate what you bring to uni so you don’t end up wearing out everything you’ve bought. This way all your clothes get a wear and last so much longer.
Change how you wash your clothes
If you wash your clothes on a high heat i.e. 60 degrees plus, turn it down to 40 and if you can, wash on wool. On most washing machines the wool option is a lot nicer on clothes than the synthetic or cotton option and reduces the bittiness you end up getting on t-shirts etc. Another little hack is to separate by fabric as well as colour. So separate your more sturdy fabrics from your more delicate ones i.e. don’t throw your jeans or wools in with a lace blouse or bra. This way when they’re rolling around in the washer they won’t attach on or damage each other. Also, if you’re really into graphic print t-shirts, make sure to wash and iron your t-shirts inside out. That way the print will last a lot longer without it cracking or fading.
‘Make do and mend’
During the world war, clothes weren’t as easily replaceable so they had to ‘make do and mend’. For us students this motto is totally applicable. I know it sounds scary, but sewing and patching up small holes is really simple. All you need to do is buy a pack of sewing needles, thread (black, white or transparent) and scissors. All of which you can buy quite cheaply from Hobbycraft or your local craft store. So if you’ve got a seam coming undone, just cut a small line of thread; put it through the needle, making sure there’s an even amount on each side; tie a knot at the end (I normally do a double knot because of how thin the thread is); then start by putting the needle through both layers of fabric (making sure it’s underneath so you can’t see it when you wear it); pull the tread through and make a stitch by moving it slightly to the side and pushing the needle through the fabric. Hand sewing is like making an ‘s’ shape. Once you’re done cut the thread and tie a knot. And voila! A fixed seam/hole.
Hand sewing can easily fix seams and embellishments that have fallen off. If you’re totally against sewing though, then you definitely should invest in Wonder Web. It is a miracle worker! Not only can you turn your trousers up with it, but you can fix seams, hems and pockets. All you need is just a little strip of Wonder Web and an iron. Simple! You can get Wonder Web from selected supermarkets and of course your local craft store.
There you have it…just being a little more conscious about how you wash, care and wear your clothes will not only save you from chucking out some of your fav items but also save you some of the rare spare cash you have.
If you’re more of a make do and mend kind of person, or you’d rather just make your own brand new clothes from scratch, then take a look into our fashion, clothesmaking and textiles courses and get making!