Agata Pospieszynska for Harper’s Bazaar
Gone are the days where giving your wardrobe a refresh automatically means buying something brand new. With sustainability being so important for looking after the planet, consumers and brands are now seeking to achieve that feeling of newness in a different way, whether through renting, resale, or reclaiming old vintage finds.
No matter if you’re selling or buying used items, chances are you’ll need to give them a bit of a refresh so that they look and feel as good as new. We spoke to the experts at Steamery Stockholm – a care brand which works to extend the lifespan of garments – to find out the best way to care for your clothes and make secondhand feel fresh. Too often the norm is buying a new piece, damaging it through misuse, then throwing it out before its time.
Here, CEO and co-founder at Steamery Stockholm, Frej Lewenhaupt, explains how to take care of your wardrobe in the most efficient way, as well as giving advice on how to correctly resell.
What are the basic tools for looking after your clothes that you recommend?
“If you want to invest in one essential clothing care tool we would recommend a steamer – either a handheld or a standing one. A steamer is an efficient and gentle alternative to an iron. It leaves your clothes smooth, fresh and wrinkle-free. The hot steam reduces bad smells, kills bacteria, and removes all signs of a garment being worn. We also recommend a fabric shaver, which is a great tool for de-bobbling and for prolonging the life of your knitted garments.”
What is the biggest mistake people make when taking care of their clothes?
“Firstly, most clothes never get worn out, they get washed out. The most common reason as to why clothes lose their shape or quality is because we wash them too often, or the wrong way.
“So, our best advice to prolong any garments’ lifetime is to do as little laundry as possible. Steaming is a great alternative to washing; it will keep your garments fresh in-between washes. When doing your laundry, it’s also important to wash right, with a suitable detergent, technique and temperature – treating the textiles the way they deserve.”
How should we be storing our clothes?
“When it comes to storing and organising your clothes, we recommend folding your knitwear and trousers to prevent them from losing shape. Shirts, blouses, dresses and blazers can all preferably be stored on hangers.”
How should you prepare an item if selling second-hand?
“When it’s time for your former favourites to find a new owner, our best tip is to refresh your item well before reselling it. Make sure to wash the garment, remove pilling, cut off loose threads, and steam it. You could finish off with using a discreetly scented fabric spray to give the garment a fresh scent.”
What’s the most efficient way of listing an item?
“When selling your clothes, our best advice is to spark interest with the right description. Always write the specific brand and model name in your listing. Specify which material the garment is made of, especially if it’s an exclusive material like wool or silk. Mention both size and measurements and describe the condition of your garment in detail. Do mention if there are stains and where they’re located, as well as loose hems or threads. Remember to put some extra effort in taking nice photos, too. Place your garment in front of a neutral background and in daylight for best results.”
How do you make second-hand items feel new?
“When you have invested in a new second-hand item, start off with washing the garment. Always follow the instructions on the care label or, if it’s a delicate material, you might have to hand wash your new treasure. If you buy knitwear, you can use a fabric shaver to remove pilling and your knit will look brand new again. If the fit of the new garment isn’t perfect, our best advice is to take your item to a tailor to customise it for your body. Easy and totally worth it.”
What are the key things you can do to prolong the life and quality of an item?
“To prolong the lifetime of your clothes and textiles we would recommend you steam your clothes and use a fabric shaver to remove lint and pilling from your jumpers. Take your time to mend and repair clothes that have a hole or a loose button instead of throwing them away.
“Taking care of your clothes shouldn’t be time-consuming and complex; it should be easy and fun for everybody. Clothing care is actually quite simple; just make a habit out of washing less, washing right, and caring more.”
If you shouldn’t wash an item frequently, how else can you care for it?
“We would definitely recommend steaming your clothes in between washes and hanging them outside overnight to remove odours and to make your garments feel fresh and crisp again. You could also use a clothing mist or a fabric spray to freshen up your garments and textiles. If you get a stain on a garment, you can use a stain remover and target the stain directly instead of washing the whole garment. For denim, we would recommend using a fabric spray or to put them in the freezer once in a while.”
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