Over time, wardrobe items will tear, pill, scuff, snag, stretch, fade and get stains. Laundering an item weakens the fibres, changes the fit, and dulls the colour. Items were made to be worn, but I do want my favourite items to look pristine for longer. So I make a point of “sharing the wear”. Here are three ways to do that.

More Items in Rotation

If you spread the wear evenly, then the items in a larger functional wardrobe will take longer to wear out. This isn’t so much about having a large wardrobe as it is about ensuring that you purchase items that are going to be worn. A dysfunctional wardrobe with many wardrobe orphans can make even a large wardrobe feel small. Conversely, a modest size wardrobe can feel large if the items were bought strategically.

Multiples of Similar Items

When you have multiples of similar items in rotation, they will all look less worn over time. These can be wardrobe essentials, wardrobe basics, completers, or statement pieces. For example, simple white footwear across styles that span the seasons are a wardrobe essential for my style. They are workhorses and I wear them many times in a week. The key is that I have many pairs of white booties, loafers, flats and sandals, which keeps them looking fresh, crisp and less scuffed over the years. If I had one pair of white boots that I walked in all season, they’d be battered after three months.

I also have a large collection of outerwear and handbags, and the items have held up really well. Some of my almost ten year old coats and bags look fairly new because I swap out the look very frequently, which shares the wear. If you sport the same bag all year, and the same pair of boots all season, they’re going to look worn fast.

Pick the Right Item from the Pile

When you have many pairs of panties, bras, socks, camisoles, tees, PJs, turtlenecks, thermals, sweatpants, workout tops, leggings and the like, it’s easy to keep on wearing and laundering the same ones instead of sharing the wear across the range. Put freshly laundered items at the bottom of the pile, or deliberately reach for items that are further down.

This isn’t essential. You might prefer your bags, jeans, sweats, leather jackets, and footwear to look worn because you like a rough-around-the-edges vibe. Maybe you’d prefer to have a small, tight wardrobe that you replace more frequently to prevent outfit boredom. Or maybe you’re fine for some items to look worn and others to look pristine.

I prefer my items to wear evenly across my wardrobe so I can enjoy my favourite items for longer. Sharing the wear helps me to do this.