Like it or not, most clothes are not meant to last forever. Just getting them to reach their expected lifespan, three years (for many items), requires proper care. In reality, men usually do not give their garments proper care. You don't need to be clad in rags for people to notice wear and think less of you. Chances are that, without even knowing why, you will think less of yourself, too.
Fortunately, there are signs that usually will be visible to the owner before they are easily visible to others. Look not only at the clothes you have on, but at your garments when you remove them and when you launder them. Do this in good lighting. If you see any of the following, you have a problem:
- Washable items in dark colors are at high risk of fading; check them by placing them next to new dark items
- Important: this usually can be prevented by proper clothing care
- Most likely around knees, elbow, collar, shirt front...
- Important: the sooner you notice stains, the greater the chances of successfully removing them
Fraying, tears, or holes
- Most likely around the crotch area, seat of pants, bottom of pant legs, and knees
- Small holes in multiple parts of the shirt usually mean the item has reached the point of no return
Holes in pockets
Broken zippers or loose or missing buttons (any of which usually can be fixed)
Shrinkage (clothes don't fit like they used to)
- Most likely around the collar/head opening, shirt length
- Important: mama always says that proper clothing care minimizes this
- This is a particular concern for knits (which includes most sweaters)
Solutions other than replacement
- Tailors and reweavers can fix some tears and other breakages.
- Stains on, and fading in, small solid-colored areas sometimes can be hidden by fabric dye/paint sold by specialty retailers.
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