(Updated) How to prolong your closet wear

How do you like OOTD? I grow up with people that up dress in any occasion, with me the one only in tee and jeans. I love good fashion, but I was the poor kid. I remember those summer camps where I wore overside bright red short and red top and felt terrible.

These days, a shirt and jeans with ballet shoe plus a jacket is my minimal. Printed T-shirts is not for me outside of the home. Don't you hate it when you bump into a situation you hope you had dressed your best when you have spent so much money in buying the clothes?

I like that our society doesn't overly emphasis on outward appearance here as compared to a country like South Korea, but a good clothing brings joy and energy to our life. And we need both energy and money to survive.

Fashion is generally not wallet friendly. High street fashion dress easily cost RM200 and above. Every year, 6.5% of my expenses go into clothing and accessories. From a good finance point of view, our spending on clothes should be 4-6% of our disposable income, and never exceeding one month of yearly pay, including bags and shoes. You may opt for pre-loved but I don't shop second-hand, I buy less.

Here are simple and useful ways to make the best of your closet:

1. Develop a style that favors your budget.

Unless your job is to entertain on stage or you have high resources at your disposal, chances are fancy prints and colorful clothes will not work in favor of your finance. A generic rule is to buy clothes made of structured cloth so it doesn't lose its shape. Cotton dress, for example, will only give you 5 wears good and 20 washes at most. A satin can last 3 times the cycle. But, a fitting cotton shirt is a good choice for our hot weather. Start with a capsule wardrobe in plain colors, something like two pants, a jacket, a classic dress, and a handful of tops. Then slowly build beyond the capsule.

It is always better to choose solid colors. Dark color looks more expensive than bright color. Patterns should be geometrical or a good French lace, no animal, floral, or rainbow prints because that trend runs too fast. Be careful with a floral dress, don't walk out being drape by a curtain! Avoid odd ribbons, ruffles, and buckles if you planning to wear longer than a year.

2. Dedicate a worn rack/section.

Have a hang section for clothes that are not dirty enough to wash. Less wash means less harsh wear on your clothes. This works well when we are in a temperate country. Living under the scorching sun, I need to wash my clothes more often. Still, there will be room to hang jeans or a cardigan you use for two hours in air-conditioned room. Hand rinses some clothes for a few times before washing full laundry cycle also helps keep the clothes longer.

3. Save your clothes

Learn simple needlework and remove the clothes piling with a lint remover. First, it's not a wise decision to buy acrylic based cardigans, sweaters or jumpers because they pull up and makes the item look old. Lint removal roller or even a razor and sticky tape don't work 90% of the time. The best way is to use a lint shaver - get the heavy duty version from Philips for RM100-300 or KaruKura from Daiso for a mere RM5.30. Both work fine. It may not look new but it will look like a two-week or one-month-old garment.

4. Superglue anything that detaches from the shoe.

A shoe saver, apart from a visit to a clobber, is super glue. I wish I had learned this earlier instead of spending hundreds on new shoes when the top ribbon falls out. You can fix everything loose on your shoe with a superglue and remember to shine it. Always buy super glue in a small tube (like 7ml UHU for RM2.20) as it dries up fast.

5. Hand wash - soak and rinse your top or anything delicate.

Am not going into what sort of detergent to save cost but simple hand-washing keeps your cloth looking new longer. You should balance between your time spent and worth of cost. If your top is RM20 (which is a good money choice), just let washing the machine (the best invention) do the job. My Levi's jean is built to last, mine gone into over 200 washing machine cycle and still doing great.

6. Be inspired to grow

I love my style. I love lace and silk. I only have 10ish top and I dress up in less than 3 minutes. After two years, the clothes are getting normal, and I am not as excited about dressing up. That's the signal for me to sell my current collection and buy new ones. If the item is not worn out, I would sell for 20-50% of the price I bought, depending on condition. For me, keeping life interesting by investing in a color or two is a great deal.

So here's the action list for today's learning
  • Develop a style board
    • Choose three main colors that look good on your skin.
    • Choose the staple for your capsule wardrobe. Pick the 10 pieces you would grab if you need to flee your house now.
  • Invest in a cheap lint removal and super glue
  • Use half the liquid detergent 
  • List for sale the clothes that you don't fancy