Wednesday, February 6

Wardrobe Hacks

I buy a lot of shitty clothes and don't generally treat them with the most respect (I live pretty hard, ya'll. I also live in a perpetual state of weather, so). The other day I brought a pair of boots back to life, again, and I realized that I've been keeping my old lady secrets for clothing revival to myself.

The Sweater Comb. If you're like me you have about a million cheap acrylic and wool blend sweaters you haven't taken the best care of and they're all full of pills and are irritating and ugly and you have a hard time bringing yourself to actually buy decent sweaters that are better at resisting pills. Look, all you need to do is buy one of these little $3 handhelds and go to town on your knitwear and you're good to go. You literally just comb the little guys off, and it is so satisfying. Like Furminating a cat, I swear. There's a pretty wide variety of pill-removing apparatuses, actually, but this is the only thing I've used to revive my Forever 21-quality clothing. It works well, but does take time and elbow grease. If you swear by another brand or tool, tell me! I'm always looking to improve my clothing's quality of living.
RIT Dye. I like my denim dark, and faded black and blue jeans just don't cut it, so I'm often dying jeans to get them back to the beautiful, deep, dark colors they had when I bought them. Obviously washing in cold water and skipping fabric softener, then hanging to dry will help your jeans live longer, but I tend to wear my Levis for years. And everybody likes a little facelift every now and then. Unfortunately dye is messy, so some tips I've learned over the years: Follow the instructions! Use the salt. Only dye in metal sinks or in a separate bucket. Clean up splashes immediately. If you must rinse or dispose of your dye bath in a stainable sink/tub, use lots of extra water, slowly dump the bath, and clean up with bleach immediately afterward. Always use gloves! And make sure you take the extra time to dye. The longer your clothes sit, the better the dye job.
Shoe Polish. I grew up watching my dad polish leather boots and dress shoes to a high shine on a weekly basis, and so when I purchased my first pair of leather boots (a vintage pair of Justin Lacers) I asked him to help me clean them up. It was amazing to see this pair of $4 thrift store boots turn into shiny, black, beautiful babies. You do not need military training to revive a pair of shoes, however. You need 1. Leather Dye (if they have it in your color) 2. Shoe Polish 3. A Shoe Brush 4. A Cloth. You also need actual leather shoes, duh. If your $30 plastic boots are in need of repair, toss 'em and spend money on something that can be cobbled next time.
First you clean up your boots with a little water, making sure to remove dust and mud. Let them dry and squish on the leather dye. This is where things get messy, so you need to protect your hands and surroundings. Let the dye dry (it says 24 hours, but honestly you can just give 'em an hour or so and they look fine...) and then start polishing. This is really similar to putting on makeup, I think. You swirl your rag around in the pot of dye (which will soften up with the warmth of your hand) until you have a little polish on it, then start rubbing it into the leather, paying special attention to nicks, scuffs and shoe owies. Make sure you're thorough in areas that have embellishments, stitching, and where the leather meets the sole. Once you're all polished up, let it set a bit and then use your brush to shine. Then you have to wait a whole 24 hours to wear them, and it will be a difficult 24 hours because they will be so shiny and beautiful that you just can't wait. Do not skimp on time because you can seriously ruin a pair of tights/jeans/your skin with the dye transferring. But it is so worth it to put on your old, comfy boots when they look positively new again.

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