Let's Talk Garment Care

Written by Maggie Stoll


Posted on February 24 2022

Before we launch new arrivals for spring, I wanted to talk about garment care! Because the most sustainable way to shop is to buy less. Seems odd for a retail shop to tell you to buy less, but I mean it! I am on a continuous journey to reconsider not just what I buy but HOW I buy. And that also means giving the items I do buy the best love and care that I can so that they last longer. Because if we can't make our clothes last, it makes it much harder to buy less, to create less waste, and to really love the items we have.
Many of the products we carry at Burke can and should be looked at as investment pieces. They are investments into a sustainable and versatile long-term wardrobe. We invest in many things in our daily lives - cars and bikes, furniture, fine jewelry, etc. If our car breaks down, we get it repaired. If our bike gets a flat tire, we fix it. If we stain our furniture, we clean it. If we break our jewelry, we repair it. Many of these things we care for and repair so much that we pass them down to future generations! We wear clothes every day, so why wouldn't we treat them with the same care we give to our other investments?
I want to break this down to a few different points:
1. Cleaning your garments
2. Mending your garments

3. Reimagining your garments


Cleaning Garments

Wash your clothes in cold water!

Did you know that cold water works just as well as hot water in cleaning your clothes in a laundry machine?! Not only that but it significantly reduces energy use AND is much more gentle on your clothing fibers and fabrics. Click here to read a great article about this from Apartment Therapy and start running cold cycles only in your washer! If you're concerned for special knits or extra delicate fabrics we also recommend washing by hand in cold water or taking to an Eco-friendly/green dry cleaner!

Hang or lay your garments flat to air dry!

Speaking of reducing energy - you can do some major saving by air drying your clothes! Drying your clothes in a machine and with heat is one of the quickest ways to wear your fabrics down. I personally use a dryer on low heat ONLY to dry bedding and towels that need some fluffing, but I air dry ALL my clothes! Air drying helps garments maintain their shape and maintain the quality of your fabrics. Click here for a great article with 8 good reasons why and how you should air dry your clothes!

It can also help to understand the different fabrics that make up your garments, as different types of fabric often require different care! See below for info on some common natural and synthetic fabrics and some tips for each. 

Common Natural Fabrics


Common Synthetic Fabrics

 Info on Innovative Fabrics

Mending Garments

Mend, patch and repair your clothes!

Fast fashion has trained us to toss or donate clothes the second they get a hole, tear or stain. But did you know that roughly 65% of unwanted clothes end up in landfills (yes this includes clothes you've donated - google it)!? Re-stitching, patching, and repairing your clothes can extend their life while also giving them unique characteristics (and if you don't want to do it yourself, we bet you have an amazing tailor in your nieghborhood)! We're excited to now carry the book Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh in the shop which is a great guide to mending and includes a lot of how-tos! Click here to purchase.

Mending Matters book by Katrina Rodabaugh 

Re-imagining Garments

Don't be afraid to reinvent your clothes!

Sometimes we buy things a little trendy, or we just aren't feeling it anymore. This is where I'd encourage you (and is something I'm also personally working on) to reimagine and reinvent your clothes! Whether it is dyeing something a new color or deconstructing it to change the silhouette, there are so many opportunities to get creative with what we have! I recommend giving @laurskemp a follow for the ultimate inspiration in reinventing pieces. And we also added a book on natural dyeing in the shop if you want to experiment with some color play! Click here to purchase The Modern Natural Dyer book by Kristine Vejar.

The Modern Natural Dyer Book by Kristine Vejar 

Final Tip: Wash your clothes less!

I know this won't apply to everything (definitely wash your undergarments after each wear 😉), but for most normal clothes you can wear them 3 or more times before washing. This especially applies to outerwear, second layers that you wear over other clothes, heartier items like denim, and items you wear without staining or sweating in!

Like all things sustainable - there is no single right answer and one size does not fit all. The best thing to do is do what you can with what you have! If you have any more questions or want to chat more on this topic, feel free to shoot me an email!

-Maggie Xx



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