As I am on a Shopping Ban this year, I'm thinking about ways to make the clothes I currently own last as long as possible. Here are some of the ways I'm doing this.
I call it cycling, it may have other names. Basically when I do laundry and I put my clothes away, I put those clothes underneath the clothes in my drawers (or hang behind in closet). This way I'm not wearing the same 7 pairs of underwear every week ;P
Cycling also allows you to utilize more of your wardrobe. Since it puts the clothes you haven't worn recently towards the front you are more inclined to wear them, rather than some clothes hiding in the back of the closet. It should also give you an idea of what you wear more often. If something stays at the front frequently and you never wear it, you should just get rid of it for a piece you wear more often.
Here's a great tip I learned a while back. When you switch your wardrobe over for the season (i.e. in the fall and spring) put all the clothes in the closet with the hangers facing backwards of what you normally use. This way at the end of the season you see very clearly which clothes you haven't worn in a long time and then you can make the decision of wearing it to replace something more worn out in your closet or selling/donating the item.
I stain my clothes a lot, I can't tell you how many times I bought new clothes just because what I spilt something on what I was wearing! I now carry a tide-to-go (or equivalent) with me at all times in my purse. I also make sure I use spray and wash immediately when I get home and soak the item as well. So far, this has reduced the number of clothing items that I've had to get rid of by a great deal :)
Another thing that will help make your clothes last longer is to make small repairs. I sew missing buttons on myself. I don't currently own a sewing machine otherwise I'd also hem my own pants. You can also get clothes taken in or out at a tailor.
I currently rent a house that came with a top loading agitator washing machine. I make sure I use the delicate cycle (all the time!) to avoid rips, pulling, and piling (those little fluff balls). I use cold water and only enough detergent as recommended. I try not to overdry my clothes as this can lead to shrinkage. I put all of my delicates in a laundry bag or hand wash them.
I don't really have clothes that necessitate dry cleaning, but I imagine it would help prolong the life of clothes since they wouldn't be in my washer with that damn agitator! If I moved into a more corporate environment and had suits to worry about, I might be more inclined to do this.
So, those are my tips. So far I haven't had to buy or replace any articles of clothing this year.
What are some of your tips for making your clothes last longer?