# 10 Item Wardrobe # aprons

How to Preserve Your Clothes Between Washes

This week I share my favorite tips on how to prolong the wear of your clothes between washes. This is crucial when you have a ten-item wardrobe and are wearing the same clothes over and over. Washing your clothes less will prolong their wear over time. It also inspires gratitude for the clothes that we do have as we take care of them and treat them well.

1. Wear an apron. I know I mention this all the time, but I cannot stress this enough. In this week's video I share a recent experience when I forgot to wear my apron (woe is me!)

2. Wear slips and camisoles. When you put a layer between your skin and your clothes, your clothes will last longer between washes. You will need to wash your slip every time, but your clothes will be preserved.

3. Use garment guards or dress shields. I called them "armpit pads" in Japan but my lovely readers educated me on their true title :) These fashion first-aids are brilliant! Place them in the underarm area of your garment to prevent your clothes from being saturated with perspiration.

4. Hang up your clothes and let them air. When you are ready to change your clothes, don't throw them on the back of your chair or in a heap somewhere, hang them up and let them air out if possible to preserve their shape.

5. Use a steamer or iron. Don't forget to erase the wrinkles with a steamer or iron. This will refresh your clothes and make them look presentable between washes.

Check out this week's video for more elaboration on each tip as well as demonstrations. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Treat every garment you have like a valuable piece from a high-end boutique. Treat your clothes with respect and take pride in how you dress. This attention to detail will be cultivated beautifully as you cultivate your ten-item wardrobe.

I am on holiday in England right now visiting family so I am going light on the blogging! Hope you are enjoying your week and see you soon.

This week I would love to know... how do you preserve your clothes between washes?

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Unknown said...

After checking for spots and stains I turn my clothing wrong side out to air and give it a light spray with Febreeze. This is especially helpful for getting more wear out of my cardigans.

MamaBirdEmma said...

Hello, Jennifer! My little girl (age 9)and I really enjoyed this video. Thank you!

Tammy said...

Great tips! My 6-year old daughter was in her room with the door shut and as soon as she heard your voice she came bolting out to watch. :) We watched together and hopefully it will help her want to wear her clothes more than once!

I do wonder though, I've not seen the dress shields in person, but would the adhesive pull on delicate fabric and possibly cause damage? Or is it not that sticky?

Melissa H. said...

Hi Jennifer,
I love the idea of always looking presentable even at home. My question is, what about when you are scrubbing the bathtub or toilet, or some other task where you are on your hands and knees. Do you do those type chores before you dress for the day? I don't believe my apron would give my clothing enough protection when I am cleaning with disinfectant or bleach.
This is the first time I have commented but I have purchased both of your books and have become inspired to do better.
Thank you!
Melissa H.

1812Quilts said...

I always toss my clothes in the dryer Set on warm for three minutes when I change. Then I put them immediately on clothes hangers. The short tumble in the dryer removes any lint and hair and the warmth of the dryer loosens wrinkles. This method was so important to me when I had to maintain my professional working wardrobe that I had my dryer (and washer) installed adjacent to my bedroom.

Vicki Zimmerman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicki Zimmerman said...

Hi Jennifer,

Hope you and your family are having a great holiday in England with everyone. Your tip to use an apron is wonderful (move away, pesky mango!) and I've incorporated a few others from you along the way. I generally air-dry my clothes outside, after washing (I still need to get a drying rack) and hang them on my black Real Simple hangers. All my jeans, and many of my tops, are turned inside out when I wash them, usually on a gentle cycle. I must check out the dress shields/garment guards at Nordstrom on my next shopping trip. Thanks again! Have fun. v. xo

Unknown said...

I don't have room for (and can't afford) a large commercial steamer. I keep a squirt bottle of plain water in my closet, and when I take off a clothing item that's been wrinkled from wear, I just hang it up, spritz it and smooth out the wrinkles. One area of the closet is designated for the next day's or the next week's outfits, so there's room for the spritzed item to dry wrinkle-free! (This works great on linen clothing - that's how I first discovered it.)

Rose said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks for the tips, I agree that we over wash and can do things to help our clothing last longer but the garment guards/dress shields? Disposable? Is this really a good idea? I'm concerned about the amount of tissues, baby wipes, paper towels etc that are used once and then disposed. I'd hate for people to "preserve" their clothing by employing one-off use resources.

AnnaPancake said...

What about when you fry food, even if you wear an apron the whole outfit will smell.

Unknown said...

Hi Jennifer, I just tried Jockey Slip Shorts/Skimmies and I love them. They are an extremely light pair of shorts designed to act like a slip. For me they are more comfortable than a half slip, but they do the same job. I love your books and I look forward to your blog each week. Thanks for all of your wonderful advice!

Jessy said...

Hi Jennifer, of I use dressgarments I put the clothes on, so I van see where I can use them the best. To get the most out of them, I put them in with on stickerbacking of and place them on the inside of my sleeve, them I pull the other stickerbacking of and press the outside from the cardigan to my body. Hope you understanding what I mean. I think you maybe putting it to your cardigan sideways...?

cleary001 said...

Hi Jennifer,
Just watched your video and have added a slip to wear with my white pencil skirt to work today. It should help with the humidity today. Will have to get some of those "armpit" pads soon too!!! Thank you.

Ashley Diaz said...

Dear Jennifer,

I am a lover of aprons, too! I have some that I've had since childhood, when I would pretend to be "old-timey" while baking cookies or hanging clothes out on the line. I now have quite the collection of aprons and enjoy wearing them neatly pressed. I have noticed that any time a dinner guest arrives and I have my apron on, they smile! I think aprons are very charming and remind people of a simpler time.

Enjoy your holiday!

TL said...

Hi Jennifer! Thanks again for a great and timely post with great tips! This is a topic I have been struggeling with for a while, so it was really needed tips. Especially with regard to garment guards and a clothes steamer. I agree they are rather pricy and huge normally so I did some online research and found out there are small hand held ones at affordable prices! I will definetly get one of those since I really loathe ironing (am ashamed to admit this but yes I just hate it!) but I would love to be presentably crease free.

Just like a previous reader commented I was also concerned about the amount of waste created by disposable garment guards so after some more online research I found there are washable ones (in cotton). These were actually what people used in the old days, before deodorants :) They are still being manufactured in small amounts, so just do a search on washable dress shields/ garment guards and you will find several different models. Some are strapped on to your underarms, others to your clothing (pinned with safety pins or adhered with adhesive strips).

For the handy one there are also DIY instructions on how to sew your own. Realy super easy and can be made out of old worn out sheets. I just bought myself one pair today and will use it as a model to sew myself at least a dozen! Well, probably two dozen, because my husband also want them :)

Again, thousands of thanks for great inspiration on how to live well :) I have read all your blog posts (looking foward to mondays nowadays!) and your first book. Have planned your second for my vacation reading, looking foward to that! Hope your vacation is a great one!

Evaline said...

Hi Jennifer,
I find that garments in cotton knits or blends, such as t-shirts or light sweaters, respond well to a light misting of water from a spray bottle and a few good strong shakes back and forth on a hanger. Just let the garment hang out and dry. This is often all you need and this method has saved me hours of ironing. You can spray more wrinkled shirts the night before and let them hang to dry outside your closet over night.

Margery said...

Another must for keeping garments fresh between washes is a good lint brush or lint roller. This is especially true if you have shedding pets and like to wear darker colors in the summer!

R. Nesbit said...

Love this post!! Several friends have commented that my clothes seem to "last forever", but I am always looking for ways to extend the life of my favorites. In between washes, after I've worn something I hang it inside out, spritz once or twice with a lavender scented Febreeze spray, then put away after it has dried. Also, this is a big one -- iron clothing inside-out. It preserves the color and texture of the outside fabric. An alternative is to use a protective mesh ironing pad. They can be found super cheap on Amazon.

Some of my tried and true rules for regular washing/care:
1. Always wash in cold water, no matter what the washing instructions on the tag says.
2. Wash inside-out to preserve the color, especially denim.
3. Hang dry everything. The heat from the dryer is so harsh on your clothes. Even if the tag says "tumble dry low", I still hang dry. In very rare instances I will pop something in the dryer on the lowest possible setting for no more than 5 minutes.
4. Use the dry cleaning services sparingly. Again, the heat. A lot of "dry clean only" clothes can actually be washed in cold water and hang dried. Your clothes will last so much longer if you can machine wash instead of dry clean.

galant said...

Being a good bit older than yourself, Jennifer, and I guess older than most of your readers, I would like to say that dress shields were commonplace to my mother's generation if not to mine. Most dresses she had in the 1940s and 1950s came with dress shields sewn into them and they could be snipped out, washed and then replaced with a few stitches (no stick-on ones in those days, of course.) As a teenager and young married I always wore a slip or half slip (we also had bra slips which were ideal as they combined the two.)
But it's so funny - the kind of funny which makes me smile, nice kind of funny I mean - that you advocate using an apron. I've always used one, I couldn't think of doing any kind of housework or cooking without one. In fact, it's the first thing I grab when going into the kitchen to prepare a meal or even load the dishwasher - even loading a dishwasher if you scrape off scarps and rinse plates first as I do (it preserves the life of the dishwasher not to have food gunk clogging up the workings!) this can sometimes be problematical and something might be flicked onto a clean shirt, dress or trousers. And I always wear one while doing the housework, especially in the shower room or loo, in case I splash bleach on myself while giving the loo a through going over with the loo brush!
I tend to wash clothes that are machine washable on a cool wash and a very short wash. They do not need hours in water. And as Rachel says, wash colours inside out and for some light fabrics, even if they aren't silk, I use the silk cycle and then give them a fast spin as the silk cycle leaves them very wet. And yes, always hang clothes to air for as long as possible before storing them away.
Also one tip is to have good hangers, not the plastic ones which come with dry cleaned garments.
But even at my great age I enjoy reading your blog and picking up on some points which have passed me by!
Margaret P

The Bron said...

I've been wanting to wear slips, camisoles (and even bloomers. It's pretty windy where I live and I like to wear knee length skirts)

I'd love to know what brands you recommend. Everyone says spanx are a modern version but I find them unsuitable for my pear shape. It may "tighten" some areas but that stuff has to go somewhere!

I need to invest in a nice apron!

Saltysue said...

For some jobs an apron just does not cover enough; for instance cleaning the bathroom or garden jobs. I keep a basket of old jeans and tops in the bottom of my wardrobe, I change into these to carry out job, then change back into my day' s outfit. My grandmother wore an overall, which did as it says, this garment was like a wrap dress that covered her outfit, perhaps there is a case to resurrect this garment.

Patricia said...

Jennifer, sort of like you not wearing your apron while slicing mangoes for your daughters' breakfast and ruining your dress, I wish there was an apron to prevent me from accidentally deleting a "near complete comment post" on today's unique topic on 'preserving your clothes.'

I love your blog because your topics are always interesting, informative, entertaining, timely, and all presented in your pleasant, low-key, yet authoritative voice. In particular, what I believe sets your blog apart is that in addition to discussing makeup brands you like and their application for various occasions, the "Ten Item Wardrobe" which I've adopted and love because it makes my life so much easier...keeping my closet not only neat and tidy, but a bit glamorous now as well,
being able to afford fewer yet more quality clothing, and practicing your ethic of looking presentable always, whether in public or at home. What a difference those two benefits alone makes to one's self confidence.

I am the owner of your first two books, Jennifer, and truly look forward to your third, as I do to your weekly posts. Some of your previous posts about personal comportment not only in public, but in the privacy of your own home, and also honoring yourself and your family by using your "best" everyday really struck home as well.

I loved this post, in particular, nostalgic to me, because it reminded me of my sister and I being with my paternal grandparents on most Saturday nights while my parents went out to dinner and dancing...my grandma in her apron, her dress shields in her good dresses,and spying through the crack in their not quite closed bedroom door as my grandfather laced her into her corset on Sunday mornings before she donned her dress for church. Our Mother and Father, uncles, aunts, and cousins would always be in attendance for Sunday afternoon dinner.

Jennifer, your blog is like "Remembrances of Times Past," when many people cared about manners, social graces, their appearance even in front of family, and coming together for meals.

Don't mistake me. I love...love...love the advent of the Internet, cellphones, I-Pads, etc. So immediate that anyone can learn about anything, and on the street can report an accident or whatever. Such an amazing ability for all of us.

What I decry is watching two people sitting in a restaurant across from each other, having dinner, each on their cellphone talking, more likely nowadays texting, or just looking at Facebook or Pinterest instead of engaging one-to-one personally. Nowadays, teens no longer anger their parents by tying up the phone line for hours. They don't call each other at all, so they rarely answer their cellphones. They text instead...an ever ongoing yet mostly meaningless, disengaging non-conversation.

At the risk of sounding like Maggie Smith's character on Downton Abbey, "I feel that we may be "talking more often" (read texting) while truly communicating less...or even not at all."

Jennifer, lest you think I am of the "Belle Epoque" era, I am a child of the 60's...drugs, sex, and rock 'n' roll.

Patricia Wilson
Columbia, CT

patrish said...

Just a quick note on aprons: they have something that most clothing for women does not--pockets! I love to listen to audio books while cleaning/cooking and the apron pockets hold my phone or ipod and earbuds so they are always within reach when I have a few minutes. I also have a small coin purse that holds a house key (ever locked yourself out while taking out the trash?), lip balm and a few dollars in case I need to tip a delivery person. I transfer the coin purse to whatever apron I'm wearing. I won't buy an apron without pockets.

BTW, you could sell a line of aprons!

Unknown said...

What a great post! Care of clothing is so important, and I cannot believe the number of people, from the old college laundry room to the state of the art laundry rooms in the homes of friends, who don't know how to launder and otherwise take care of their clothing. I guess some feel that they don't have time to tend to their clothing on a daily basis. To me, taking time for this honors your entire way of life. Keeping one's clothing fresh, tidy and in optimal condition most definitely carries over to one's sense of self.
My husband actually takes a minute to shake out and hang up his dress pants by the cuffs, and uses a clothes brush.
Aprons are finally getting their due lately I think. Still, there are holdouts.
I have been known to suggest to friends, daughter, etc. to find a handy place to hang or keep aprons. Aprons are just a good habit, which can be learned.