Thursday, June 10, 2010

Extending the Life of Undergarments

Most clothes can be bought relatively cheaply, either second hand or at discount shops. With undergarments, people are a bit more squeamish about buying second hand because of hygienic reasons. Even generally thrifty people usually buy undergarments new, and they're not usually so cheap. Because of this, it pays to learn methods to lengthen the life of your undergarments.
This is part 4 in the Lengthening the Life of your Clothes series. 

Making Bras Last Longer

Bras are often one of the most expensive pieces of clothing a woman owns. Because of drastically different sizes of women, it can be nearly impossible to get a properly fitting bra second hand, making it all the more imperative to ensure that your bras provide you with support for as long as possible.

Lauder Bras Correctly

    Whirlpool W10180464RP 15-1/2-Inch by 16-1/2-Inch Delicates Laundry Wash Bag
  • Close bra hooks before washing so they don't snag on clothing and ruin them.
  • Wash on delicate cycle or by hand
  • Use mesh laundry bags
  • Line dry or shape and lay them out to dry- the dryer ruins bras quickly.

Bra Alterations

    Izod Women's Full Figure Micro Plunge Bra,Brown,42 D
  • Fix stretched bras. With simple stitches on the sewing machine, you can give your bras a lift by shortening the straps and tightening the back.
  • Convert to nursing bra. Instead of buying new bras when the baby arrives, convert your previous bra to a nursing bra. This is a bit more complicated, paying a seamstress to do this is worthwhile if you can't do it yourself.
  • Remove under-wire. If the under-wire is poking out, you can simply remove it and use the bra without.
  • Change straps. I had a convertible bra whose straps were not cooperating (unhooking at uncomfortable moments). I paid less than a dollar to a seamstress and my bra never gave me trouble again. Alternatively, you can change a regular bra to a convertible bra with very little work.
  • Opened seams. If a seam on your bra opens up (as recently happened with one of mine), you can sew it up easily instead of tossing the bra. 

Other Tips

  • Wear a few times before washing it. By washing less frequently, you're helping the bra last longer.
  • Wear every other day. You sweat. Fact of life. The bra gets wet from sweat and stretched out. If this happens repeatedly without giving the bra a chance to dry in between, this ruins the elastic. Let the bra sit a day or two between wearing.

Lengthen Life of Hosiery

Pantyhose tears easily. It can be very frustrating when you spend 5 dollars or more on a pair, only to have them as you are putting them on for the first time. (I'm sure this has happened to every pantyhose wearer at least one time in her life.) Here are some tips to ensure that your hosiery actually gets to be used before it completely dies.
  • Hand wash your stockings, or at least, put them in a mesh bag on a delicates cycle.
  • Line dry. Dryers kill pantyhose.
  • Cut your nails. Keep your toe nails trimmed and filed and keep your fingernails filed. Sharp nails cause runs in stockings.
  • Moisturize your legs and file callouses. If the skin on your feet and legs are rough, your pantyhose will likely get snagged on the roughness and tear.
  • Be careful. Use the sides of your fingers instead of the tips to pull on hosiery. When poked with a finger, they can rip- you want to use as much surface area as possible when pulling them on so you don't put too much pressure in one small space on the hosiery. 
  • Stop runs. If a small run appears, cover it completely with clear nail polish. This will stop it from running more. Keep a spare bottle in your purse.
  • Wear shoes. Walking around in feet clad  in only pantyhose is a recipe for runs.
  • Thicker is better. I've rarely had a run recently because I buy thicker hosiery. The higher the denier (the measurement of thickness in tights), the less likely it is to run. 
  • Avoiding Pantyhose. I usually avoid hosiery whenever possible because of its short shelf life, and wear socks instead. On occasions that call for hosiery, I usually just wear beige tights instead or beige socks, or even regular solid colored socks if I can get away with it. I try to avoid all disposable things, and thin pantyhose are no exception. If it is summer and too warm for tights or knee high socks, but you need something on your feet for comfort reasons, consider using footsies- short socks that don't peek above the shoe.
Make Socks Last
    Hanes Classic Men's 6-pack Cushion Crew Socks, Black, 6-12
  • Wear shoes or slippers. Walking barefoot will result in tears or wearing out the bottom of the socks.
  • Darn socks. When a hole appears, sew it up with a needle and thread.
  • Line dry. As with anything, especially elastic, the dryer will shorten its life. 
Yes, undergarments aren't cheap. Hopefully though, with these tricks, you'll at least be able to stretch the time between shopping trips.

What are your tips and tricks to lengthen the life of your undergarments?

Lengthening the Life of Your Clothes Series
Part 4: Extending the Life of Undergarments 

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