It’s not about “babying” your clothes: the long-term goal of maintaining clothes regularly is to make sure the money you invested is not wasted and your material possessions will stay in pristine condition as long as possible. It is a practical and eco-friendly approach that has nothing to do with being “obsessed” with your wardrobe. Would you shame someone for taking their car for a check-up and an occasional repair?
This list is a starting point for building a maintenance kit that will serve you well as the occasional mishap occurs and threatens one of your prized menswear pieces. I am on a mission to convince people to not over launder and dry-clean their clothes, so you’ll find several tool that will help you stretch the time between loads.
Feel free to expand this list by suggesting other items in the comment section or on the forum.
Lint is one of knitwear’s many enemies, but luckily it’s quite easy to manage and it can improve the look of your garments dramatically by removing pills and a layer of fuzz. Electric shavers have gotten really good and they do the job quickly and more efficiently than old-style razors (plus, there’s no risk of accidentally cutting the fabric or…yourself).
An absolute must for quick repairs such as popped buttons, holes, and hems. Make sure to get a mini one as well to throw in your luggage for when you’re away.
A garment steamer will smooth out wrinkles, which is its intended purpose, but the steam will also freshen up your garment by airing out the fibers and removing unpleasant odors.
A fabric deodorizer works well in combination with a garment steamer to freshen up a garment that you don’t want to wash often: knitwear, trousers, and coats are excellent examples of things that with a little help can delay the next trip to the laundry room.
Good storage bags should be made of breathable fabric (NOT plastic); insert cedar wood chips in order to discourage insects getting comfortable while you’re not watching.
Quality hangers that support shoulder pads on your jackets are a must and will extend the life of your suits and sport coats. Use garment bags to store jackets that are particularly delicate and those you’re not currently wearing.
Needless to say, you should try to avoid washing delicates too often: if spot cleaning and deodorizing sprays are not enough, make sure to hand-wash your delicates using a shampoo that will preserve their delicate fibers. Soaking is better than scrubbing and remember to dry sweaters on a towel on a flat surface and NEVER wring them.
Most of us will throw something in the laundry bin the moment a stain gets on it. While that’s the easier thing to do, a drop of spot cleaner and a brush can achieve the same result while extending the life of a garment – especially delicate ones that shouldn’t be washed repeatedly.
When you’re ready to wash your clothes, place the ones you most care about in mesh laundry bags – regardless of how delicate they are: it preserves them from accidental scratches and pulled threads caused by zippers, buttons, and hard bits.
A leather conditioner, a cloth, and a brush should be enough for most people, but if you really want to go crazy, take a look at Saphir’s extensive collection of polishes and shoe care tools. Warning: it may cause addiction.
Except for sneakers (however some would argue they could use shoe trees too), all your leather shoes should get a pair of these to keep the shape intact and the leather wrinkle-free.
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