Some people are born with a natural talent for keeping themselves spotless. Buffalo wings, red wine, and lidless cups of coffee don't scare them. White pants are not a source of stress. They've likely never even experienced the frustration of shimmying into an LBD, only to realize there's a trail of crescent-shaped deodorant marks down its sides. And yet, even these super humans are not exempt from the fact that daily wear makes clothes start to look, well, worn, after a while. Inevitably, fabrics break down, sweat and grime build up, and weather stains abound.
Whether you fall into the oh-so-rare or oh-so-me camp, you shouldn't simply toss your beloved, if slightly battered, lucky tees, sweaters, and caps. Instead, commit to reversing the damage with at-home solutions that require little more than a bottle of Woolite with Color Renew™ detergent and a few odds and ends you already have in your apartment. Sourced from professional tailors, a vintage-clothing dealer, and a stylist, these magic (hardly an exaggeration) DIY restorations can actually turn back the clock to the brand-spankin'-new-clothing days of yore. You may not be impervious to wear and tear, but now you've got a way to fight back.
The Problem: Your once-white collar is covered in makeup stains.
The Fix: To combat foundation marks, vintage-clothing dealer Bridget Priolo proposes taking a look at the label of your makeup bottle. If yours is an oil-free formula, lather on a thick layer of shaving cream and let it sink in for 15 minutes before wiping off the suds. If oil is listed as an ingredient, complete the same process using dish detergent instead of shaving cream. Both pretreatments will extract makeup residue, leaving the fabric way easier to clean when you do toss your top in the laundry as per usual.
The Problem: Your go-to sweater has seen better days.
The Fix: Chances are, that cardigan you relied on as a winter layering piece could use a little TLC before it works its way into your spring-and-summer-evening lineup. Begin your restoration by machine washing it using Woolite with Color Renew™ detergent. This removes pilling on cotton, which will make your sweater look smoother and brighter. If you're dealing with wool, angora, or mohair that's shedding, stylist Connie Berg suggests folding the sweater into a plastic bag after you've washed and dried it and storing overnight in the freezer. This stops molting in its tracks by sealing the fibers in place.
The Problem: Your suede shoes are scuffed and stained.
The Fix: Suede is one of those infuriating fabrics that shows every last imperfection. According to Leather Spa owner David Mesquita, though, all you need to clean up a pair of suede kicks is a pencil eraser and a toothbrush. Remove errant marks by gently rubbing the eraser back and forth over a stain until it lifts, and then brush off any eraser shavings with your fingers. If you’ve got a shiny, worn spot, use a dry, soft nylon toothbrush to lift the tamped-down fabric with short, gentle strokes.
The Problem: Your baseball cap is covered in a ring of sweat.
The Fix: While dad caps have proven to be a trend with staying power, a visible ripple of sweat kind of ruins their cool factor. Priolo recommends running a toothbrush under the faucet, dipping it in shampoo, and scrubbing the stained brim in a circular motion. Wipe off excess foam with a damp towel and watch as the grime lifts away. (It's very satisfying.)
The Problem: Your black jeans are fading fast.
The Fix: Returning your denim to its blackest black is as easy as heating up a pot of water. Prep faded jeans by tossing them in the wash. Next, follow tailor Victoria Adrien's lead by bringing a pot of water to a simmer on your stove and stirring in two boxes of black powder dye (any craft-store brand will do) plus one cup of table salt. Run the jeans under warm water before submerging them into the pot (you may need to fold them up tight!). Stir occasionally for 30 minutes, and then rinse your garment under warm water until the water runs clear. Once the jeans dry, you're ready to take 'em out on the town.