At this point in my life, I’m not spending a ton of money updating my wardrobe each season. Instead, I’m all about little fashion helpers that help me get more out of the staples I do own. Like my favorite knee-high boots I want to last more than a few years. Or the perfect all-purpose little black dress that I try to dry clean as little as possible, so it does, in fact, remain black.
Some of them may seem a little more spendy than a more generic brand, but I swear by each of them. And compared with the price of replacing a favorite item or having it professionally cleaned, well…yeah. Worth it.
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I first learned about Soak from this wonderful little Japanese lingerie boutique in Soho that only sold super spendy and delicate little things (like, things I could wear before kids) — so I totally trusted their lingerie hand-wash reco. Turns out, it’s fantastic! So much so, even review sites like Wirecutter have named it a top pick, and it’s available in craft stores like Joann’s, as a top pick for crafters to launder new items.
It really really helps your delicates last longer; and considering how expensive bras are, and how they tend to need replacement as much as twice a year, it’s well worth it to hand wash them with Soak.
Alternate: If you prefer a non-liquid formula, try Forever New Granular Fabric Care Wash. This was another lingerie boutique reco from years back, and I still love these little clean-scented detergent crystals. In fact, I pour a bit into a travel container when I’m on the road, which avoids spills and TSA-check hassles. You can find it at Amazon, big box stores, and even fancy places like Neiman-Marcus.
Speaking of dainty undergarments — or not so dainty, in my case (because that’s definitely not my back in the photo up top!) — I definitely don’t want to invest in a racerback style bra, because I have so few tops that require one. But for those that I do own, these bra strap clips are a must.
They cinch your straps together behind your back, keeping your straps higher on your shoulders so they don’t poke out of sleeveless tops that are cut in on the shoulders, or those peekaboo-shoulder dresses that are so big right now.
(Tip: You may want to loosen your straps, because it does make your bra a lot tighter than you’re used to.)
The other benefit is that these clips lie flat and unlike a safety pin (oy, don’t use a safety pin!) it’s not going to bend or come undone in the middle of dinner and jab you in the back. In fact, it’s never come undone on me at all. Smart, affordable fashion trick.
I pretty much live in leather boots for three out of four seasons — and okay, sometimes summer, too. You can save a ton on shoe repair by keeping yours looking newer, longer with these wipes. And considering how expensive it is to have leather cleaned, it’s way better to work on those post-snowstorm salt stains yourself right away, instead of paying a fortune for someone else to do it for you.
While they also make versions especially for sneakers, handbags and sandals too, I find they’re fairly interchangeable. But the handbag and boot wipes are my own go-tos.
Use them on leather jackets too! That alone will save you a lot on cleaning bills.
Fabric Fresh by The Laundress
Febreze has its place, but when it comes to my clothes, I’m all about The Laundress. Fabric Fresh is an amazing product for freshening your clothes with a light, non-perfumey scent, and getting rid of odors from smoke, pets, or even….you. Meaning, if you wear a dress one night and it’s relatively clean, you can definitely get another wear or two out of it with a spritz of Fabric Fresh (particularly under those arms, ladies) and save on dry cleaning. It’s also kind of nice to use on your pillows and sheets.
Tip: Get a travel-size bottle too, and you can refill it from the big one. I never travel without it.
Hollywood Fashion Tape
Instead of having a snap sewn in on a wrap dress, or paying to have a skirt emergency hemmed before an event because the current length is so 2010 (ha), I swear by Hollywood Fashion Tape. It’s also a godsend for keeping a wide neckline from slipping off your shoulders, and keeping tank top or cami straps in place.
(What can I say, I’m not 16; I hate the bra sticking out of my clothes look.)
I have used this stuff for so long, people used to laugh at the name when I pulled it out of my bag. Now…it’s everywhere.
You can find it now at Target (in-store), on Amazon, and in lots of drugstore and pharmacy chains like CVS or Walgreens. The knock-offs don’t work nearly as well in my experience — though if you happen to live near a Ricky’s NYC, they do offer a double-stick tape in a clear bag that’s affordable and is really effective. Just ask at the counter.