Get more mileage from your clothes, elongate your apparel’s lifespan

Valentino Garavani, the luminary behind Valentino (the international brand coveted by the high and mighty which he founded in 1959), is credited with one of fashion’s most beautiful maxims: ‘The essence of style is a combination of simplicity, elegance and subtlety.’

And this quote by the retired designer (who will be 92 on May 11) encapsulates our mission today.

As we get more comfortable in our skin, settle for the style that optimally captures our essence, with our best version flourishing, we should step forward by assembling only apparels that provide the best mileage and return on investment.

We are now no longer about what’s in vogue or trending. But only about pieces that serenade our sense of pride and purpose. That accentuate our sense of beauty, multiply our elegance quotient and improve our lives.

And in aggregating the elements that ensure we squeeze more value for money out of our duds and accessories, these are the 5 essentials:

1. Fabrics and accessories
2. Design, colours and patterns
3. Tailoring and alterations
4. Wear and usage
5. Care and storage

*Fabrics and accessories
Getting huge dividends from our togs begins with our choice of fabrics and accessories.
When we choose high quality fabrics—wool, cashmere, vicuña, silk, linen, cotton and other natural fibres—we are putting our best foot forward.
And opting for well-appointed appurtenances which guaranty longevity.
High end fabrics and accessories cost good money, so don’t scrimp.

*Design, colours and patterns
If we opt for simple, classic and elegant designs, we have started well (because the ensemble will look nice and appropriate for years).
And our choice of colours (men should opt for white, black, brown, blue and grey, with limited latitude outside of this range; while women can get away with more palette and hues) count for a lot in the durability game.
The more boldly patterned a fabric, the more dated it is and easily remembered. Again, avoid logos (on anything you own) unless it’s understated or hidden. For clothes with embroidery, they should be tone on tone (and better still hand-stitched).

*Tailoring and alterations
We cannot get tired of saying tailored clothes by master craftsmen (which skim and drape your frames) are unequalled. The attention to detail elongates the lifespan of your garments. And what’s more, they can be altered and mended over the years.
And even if your garments are not bespoke, you can get them fitted by an experienced tailor.

*Wear and usage
When you know how to wear your garbs and put them to good use, you extract many more years from them.
Don’t wear your apparels days in a row. Rotate. Avoid rain or excessive heat. Never sleep or lounge and slouch in your outfit. Avoid stains (food and drinks, or grease and paint, at all cost). Get proper hangers. Don’t hang your jackets on chairs. Don’t wear special attires to grind or for house chores…

*Care and storage
Taking proper care of your drapes and accessories, washing and cleaning, ironing and steaming, dry cleaning and buffing mean everything.
Read garments labels, and care for them as recommended. Remember that washing or dry-cleaning shouldn’t be frequent (except for undergarments after each wear, and clothes that absorb sweat directly).
And you can hardly go wrong with hand washing in cold water with mild soap or detergent and air drying!
When you air and store your dresses and shoes and accessories in breathable bags, you elongate their lifespan.

From fabrics and accessories to design, colours and patterns and more, a well-curated wardrobe provides better returns on investment and keeps you shining and smiling for years at a good bargain.
-Kunle Bakare for Omoluwabi by KB (26.04.2024)

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