WORDS BY ASHLEIGH GRIBBON AND NERYS D'ESCLERCS
When you invest in a love-forever piece, whether that’s a cashmere sweater or a silk shirt, knowing how to look after it properly is paramount. While the designers on Farfetch create collections intended to stand the test of time – thanks to their quality materials and high level of craftsmanship – there are important steps you can make to prolong their lifespan even further. From the right way to clean your fine jewelry and favorite denim to how to store your cashmere and sneakers, these expert tips on caring for your pieces will keep them looking as good as the day you unwrapped them.
There’s never a bad time to invest in new knitwear – and if your transeasonal go-to is a sumptuous cashmere piece, here are some key things to note when it comes to maintenance.
When cleaning cashmere, it’s all about hand-washing. Turn your cashmere inside out and gently run the water through the fabric, being careful not to wring or twist to prevent it from losing its shape. When rinsing it out, follow the same process, ensuring this water is lukewarm to avoid the fibers from shrinking. However tempting, refrain from wringing out your cashmere when it’s wet, as this will twist and distort the fabric and your knitwear will lose its shape. Instead, wrap your freshly washed pieces in a towel and squeeze gently to remove any excess water before unrolling and reshaping by hand. Once shaped, lie your cashmere on a clean towel and leave flat to dry naturally.
A word of warning on storing: moths love your cashmere cardigan, too. So ensure your freshly laundered clothes are totally dry before putting them away – it’s recommended to put cashmere knits into a zip-lock bag and place in the freezer for 48 hours before doing so. This kills the larvae and will protect your knits from moth eggs and holes. It’s best not to hang cashmere, as this will affect its shape. Instead, embrace the fold and place on shelving to prevent any stretching.
Even the most premium-quality cashmere can be subject to pilling. While it’s difficult to prevent pilling entirely, washing and storing with care will certainly help reduce it. Use a comb, bristle garment brush or electric depiller on hand to deal with bobbles – but use these with care. Lie your cashmere on a flat surface and brush in one direction to gently remove pills and keep your cashmere looking soft for as long as possible.
First created back in the 1870s as workwear for laborers, denim by its very nature is built to withstand a lot of use, but your jeans don’t actually need to be washed as often as your other items of clothing – around every 10 wears, in fact. If a rogue splash of coffee should befall them, use a damp cloth to spot-clean the area.
So how to make your jeans last longer? When the time comes to wash, always turn your jeans inside out and wash on a delicate, cold-water cycle. If they’re made from raw denim, it’s hand-wash only. Don’t wring jeans out, even if they’re soaking wet; instead, let them drip-dry on a hanger over the bath, or outside if that’s an option. Folding them over a radiator or clothes horse can leave indents, so use a trouser hanger instead.
But just because the fabric is durable, that doesn’t mean your jeans deserve to be thrown into the bottom of the wardrobe. Your loyal denim should be hung up, so gravity will keep the creases out and the air can circulate around them.
Diamonds are forever, as the song goes, but they’ll only stay flawless if you take care of them properly. Maintain yours with gentle cleaning and careful storage. ‘Fill a small bowl or mug with warm water and a little washing-up liquid, then use a baby toothbrush with soft bristles to clean delicately around the diamond,’ advises Min Lee, Farfetch’s fine jewelry specialist.
‘For pearls, I use a delicate cloth,’ Min continues. ‘No harsh chemicals or detergents should ever come near your pearls. And keep them away from liquids, which could also damage the string. Pearls do best touching your skin and absorbing your natural oils, but when you’re not wearing them, store them in a dry place.’
Gold can also be cleaned with gentle washing-up liquid and warm water, then left to dry on a paper towel. For silver, use a silver dip, providing your piece isn’t set with any stones. ‘It’s the quickest way to get the most out of your silver pieces,’ says Min. For silver set with stones, wipe with a specialist silver cloth; you’ll be able to see the oxidization transfer from your jewelry to the cloth. Then gently run under warm water with a little washing-up liquid and leave to dry on a paper towel.
And the best place to store your jewelry? ‘I keep mine in clear, acrylic drawers so I can see them all, they all have their own space, and they don’t rub together or tangle,’ advises Min.
Silk is widely recognized as a transeasonal fabric, as it’s warm in winter and cool in summer. And with the correct care, your favorite silk pieces will last for years.
Although most labels will say ‘dry clean only’, you can handwash silk, as long as it’s inside out. Fill a bucket or sink with cool water and add delicate detergent. If you can, use a specially formulated silk detergent, as, unlike regular detergents, it will offer a neutralized pH that will be gentle on the silk’s natural proteins. Submerge the piece and soak, being careful not to wring it to prevent damaging the fibers. Instead, you can press your fingers onto the fabric to let the water and detergent move through the yarn, then rinse with cold water. To dry, roll your silk garments in a clean towel to remove excess water. Then, lay flat to dry.
Silk creases easily so it is recommended you steam them before hanging in your wardrobe. Try not to fold if you don’t want to be taking the steamer out every day. Make sure you store it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight as this might cause discoloration.
Whether you’re an avid collector of sneakers or not, a few minutes per week is all it takes to keep them looking brand new. The key in caring for your sneakers is to know where they come from – and what they’re made of. But first, waterproof spray. This should be an instant reflex when buying them.
For leather sneakers, a soft cloth will be your best friend. You can use it as often as every day to wipe off dust on the surface. If you see a stain, start with a soft-bristled brush and then use leather conditioners and polishes, as long as you try them out on a hidden spot first. If the pair features a soft toe box, make sure you store them with a shoe tree inside to hold their shape.
For suede and nubuck sneakers, you can rub erasers on stained areas to take the dust off. They’re dry so it doesn’t change the panels’ colors. Same as for leather sneakers – a dry soft cloth will do for everyday maintenance.
For all other sneakers, you can find ‘sneaker wipes’. They are usually textured to work with both leathers and synthetics – perfect for mixed-panel pairs. These wipes are great on the go, so your footwear will always look spotless. If you can’t find sneaker wipes, regular, alcohol-free wipes will work too, as long as you don’t use them too often.
Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh pair of laces. They’re usually made from cotton so they’re machine washable, but if your white laces have gone grey over time, a new pair will make your sneaks look instantly fresh. If you don’t want to keep your sneakers in their box (some deserve to be showcased), avoid exposing them to direct sunlight as this will lead to discoloration of suede and leather panels.