WE THIEVES

Stealing from the past, inspiring the future

Making It Last — Caring for Your Apparel

Resources, Home EcSandra Rossi
Image by Bruno Nacimento

Image by Bruno Nacimento

Learning how to take care of things, so they last is an art that has been lost due to mass production, artificial obsolescence, fast fashion, and changes in our lifestyle. As the daughter of parents who were part of the WWII generation, taking care of things was always part of our household. My mother is an expert sewer and seamstress, a craft that was part of her upbringing. She can fix and repair almost anything.

There is something to be said about caring for something you appreciate versus how you treat something you don't. You take a certain pride in owning it and having it, and you are more likely to wear it with a certain flair.

"75-80% Of your apparel product lifecycle is impacted by the washer and dryer."

Whether you are buying Vintage or contemporary items, it's important to know that 75%-80% of your apparel product lifecycle is impacted by the washer and dryer. 

As the owner of We Thieves, a retail consultant, and a mom — my life is exceptionally busy. By no means do I spend my days hand washing clothes. That said, the time I've taken to care for my clothing and have my daughter see me do it has been priceless. 

Caring for vintage clothing tips include:

WASHING & DRYING

1. Wash by hand or cold water delicate: Today's washers and dryers are riddled with wash settings and dry settings, yet they are still huge culprits in reducing product lifecycles for apparel—especially the dryer. Always wash by hand or in cold water delicate cycle in a gentle detergent. This goes for any garment including T-Shirts.

2. Hang To Dry. No need to elaborate. Yeah, the denim gets stiff, but they break in quick.

3. Use the sun:  Most people do not know the lightening power of the sun. I learned the power of it living in Florida and dealing with cloth diapers. If you have a white or light colored garment that is yellowing, bake it in the sun after washing (even on an overcast day the UV rays will do their magic). It works miracles on yellow stains or garments going dull. 

4. Dry Clean items that must be dry cleaned. If you use a green cleaner even better (less chemicals).

CLEANING INGREDIENTS & TOOLS I KEEP ON HAND

Do not fall prey to the expensive fancy smelling detergents. The stronger they smell the more chemicals they have. These chemicals are also to blame for washer stink. Then the consumer package goods industry sells you another product to get rid of the smell in your washer. It's a scam.

The essentials:

1) White Vinegar : To remove foul odors vinegar always comes to the rescue. While it's smell can be a turn-off—it evaporates quickly and neutralizes any stink, including mothball smell.

2) Mesh Washing Bag: There are small, medium, and large sizes. These are ideal for delicate items in the wash.

2) Baking Soda: The miracle powder for everything.

4) Mild Detergents like Borax, Dr. Bronners, Nellies or Seventh Generation - there are others but mild is better.

Last, but not least, a little elbow grease.

There's something kind of sweet about caring for your things, with simple systems and solutions you can easily do the same effectively and efficiently.