September is in full swing, which means that by now you’ve likely traded your iced coffees for hot matcha lattes, your bike shorts for leggings, and your flimsy tees and tanks for cuddle-worthy knits. Sweater season is officially upon us, but But if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent the better part of the last week realizing that some of your favorite go-tos didn’t exactly hold up quite as well as you’d hoped. Sure, some (literal) wear-and-tear unavoidable, but a lot of that stretching, pulling, staining, and overall pilling could easily have been avoided. If only we had all taken a little bit better care of our sweaters. This Fall, however, we vow to be better.
So, in preparation for the chilly days ahead, we turned to Valerie Macaulay, co-founder of knitwear brand La Ligne for tips. The three pillars of success, which should become wardrobe commandments from now through spring? Wash, store, repair (repeat). Read on for how to do all three properly for your coziest fall yet.
Wash: As knits are most often layered over at least one under top, you don’t have to wash them after every single wear. That is, unless you’ve spilled something that needs to be attended to stat, in which case we’ve got you covered. For every other situation, Macaulay suggests either a dry clean or hand wash, never something as harsh as a washing machine cycle. “Depending on the sweater, I will either dry clean or hand wash in cold water with The Laundress Cashmere Wash,” she shares, adding, “It’s gentle on the fabric while also thoroughly cleans to help extend the life of my knits.” Additional tip? Don’t throw them in the dryer when you’re done, either! Be patient and lay them out flat to air dry.
Store: While your silk slip dresses might fare better on a hanger, the opposite is true for your knits. Whether the cheapest cotton or the most luxurious cashmere, make sure you fold and stack your sweaters on shelves or in drawers. “Always fold!” says Macaulay. “Hanging can stretch and misshape knits.”
Repair: We all know the feeling of pulling our favorite knit sweater over our heads and wishing we could turn back the clock just ten seconds when we feel it catch and pull on a piece of jewelry of belt buckle. For some more obvious pulls, it’s easy to use a needle or tool equally thin to pull the excess back through the hole so it doesn’t happen again. For larger situations, bring it to your most trusted seamstress and they can sew—or even weave!—the knit together where the flaw now stares back at you.
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