We are all keen to get the most out of the clothes we spend our hard-earned money on, but this is especially true when they have been bought to serve a specific purpose…like pregnancy or breastfeeding. By carefully considering and then taking good care of your purchases you can look after your wallet and the environment too (by reducing the amount of fabric and waste that ends up in landfill). So, whether you are looking to make sure your breastfeeding purchases last or you are simply keen to get the most from your clothes in general, here are some top tips that will help you on your way.
Consider ‘price per wear’ – and invest!
While you may find that price tags between high street fast fashion and smaller, independent businesses vary, it is worth keeping in mind the longevity of the garment you are purchasing. A garment from a slow fashion, quality-focussed business may cost more to purchase initially than a fast-fashion high street alternative, but it’s also likely to a) have been more carefully designed to meet your needs b) been made with higher quality materials and c) been made to last (not to mention, it likely will have been produced in a more ethically responsible manner!)
So, when you factor in how many wears you get from each garment before you feel it’s ‘worn out’ (i.e. not holding its shape, looking a little dull, perhaps looking damaged etc) you will most likely find that overall, the ‘price per wear’ will be lower if you can make the more expensive initial purchase.
e.g. I don’t know how many times I’ve fallen in love with a pair of really nice, well-fitting jeans but ended up talking myself out of paying the ‘expensive’ price in favour of a less expensive high street alternative. Only to then end up having to buy 2 of 3 pairs of those less expensive jeans over the year because they’ve worn out, stretched or faded. When I consider how much I ended up spending, often the more expensive initial purchase would actually have saved me money in the long run and I’d probably have enjoyed each wear more as they wouldn’t have lost shape or looked faded.
Sound familiar? It’s the same for every purchase you make, be it breastfeeding clothes, jeans or a hillwalking jacket. Consider the price per wear and invest!
Prioritise seasonless styles
There’s nothing more frustrating than buying something that you later feel can only be worn on certain occasions. Breastfeeding is a distinct period and so buying something that you can wear regardless of the season and regardless of the occasion will allow you to really get your monies worth from that garment. Even better is to buy garments that are a style and look you would be excited to continue to wear long after you’ve finished feeding!
Be tough on fit
For all clothes, but specifically breastfeeding/postnatal clothing it is crucial that what you keep in your wardrobe fits you and makes you feel amazing when you wear it. If you try something on and it’s just ‘OK’, it’s not going to fill you with excitement to wear and it’s more likely to end up forgotten at the back of the wardrobe.
Care about the care label
The manufacturer will have included a care label on the garment consisting of information regarding the best way to clean and care for the fabric your garment is made from. Sticking to those instructions, particularly the wash heat, and drying instructions will help your fabrics stay looking their best for as long as possible. As tempting as it is to throw everything in together (we’re all busy after all) it does pay to spend a couple of extra minutes taking care of these garments.
Wear and repair
If you have a favourite piece of clothing that loses a button or bursts a zip, all is not lost! First, check out whether the company you bought it from has any sort of repairs policy – more and more companies are offering this and are more than happy to receive your items to replace and repair anything that has broken. If it’s not clear whether this is offered, ask!
If the original company doesn’t offer a repair service, a local tailor will be able to replace simple components such as a zip or button and repair any issues such as tears. For just a few pounds spent, you will be able to significantly extend the life of the garment.
Give a fond farewell
Worn something to death or simply ready to say goodbye to it?
If you have worn a garment to the point where it is not likely to be usable by another person (holes, stains etc) then consider dropping it into a textile recycling bank for it to be reused. Alternatively, if you have simply decided a garment is not for you anymore that there are several things you can do to help ensure that someone else can get even more from it…
You can certainly gift it on. Many mums to be are grateful for maternity or breastfeeding bits and pieces to see them through until they feel a bit clearer about what it is they want and need. You can also donate by popping garments into a local charity shop or, if its maternity/breastfeeding, perhaps a local women’s shelter would be grateful for the donation? Finally, I’d recommend checking with the original company as more and more are offering to take back old and unused items or offering in-store rewards for returns and recycling!
Do you have any other tips for getting the most out of breastfeeding clothing? Let me know!