Machine-washable fashionable clothing -- a pipe dream?
May 14, 2012 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Which clothing brands out there make stylish, machine-washable clothing?

My ideal wardrobe would be small, but composed of well-curated, timeless pieces that I could mix and match into many different outfits. Oh and it would also be great if 90 % of the pieces there were machine-washable. I really can't afford dry-cleaning right now but it seems that all of the nice women's clothing is dry-clean only (or hand-wash, which I don't have time for). On the other hand, I really can't stand buying disposable clothing that is meant to only last for a season or two and I want more than just basics. Do you have any recommendations for me?
posted by peacheater to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I like FLAX. Most of it is made of washable linen and is very easy to care for. The pieces are generally loose-fitting and meant for layering. They can be dressed up for formal occasions. If you're on a budget, there's lots of FLAX clothing for sale on eBay and you can sometimes get a good deal.
posted by rhartong at 7:58 AM on May 14, 2012

Agree with Flax. Also Eileen Fisher
posted by Mchelly at 8:00 AM on May 14, 2012

Best answer: Are you okay with line drying clothes? If so, items made of a natural fabric (100% wool, 100% silk) is typically fine to machine wash. If it is a sweater or labeled dry clean only, I also generally lay it flat and reshape it, rather than putting it on the line.

General rules:
-- wash everything on the cold delicate cycle
-- turn everything inside out and fasten buttons/zippers, etc to reduce wear and tearing
-- anything that is especially delicate (bras, tights) or labeled dry clean only should go in a lingerie bag
-- formal dresses, suits, leather, and coats don't generally need to be cleaned more than a few times a year. Get a steam cleaner to press them between cleanings and you a good to go.

If you're nervous, try it out on thrift store items first -- 98% of the time it works just fine.
posted by susanvance at 8:18 AM on May 14, 2012

Best answer: I'm a sucker for Nau (particularly when on sale).
posted by absquatulate at 8:20 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm huge on Jones New York. They have a ton of washable things, I like the jersey dresses myself. Throw in washer, then dryer, then on my body and I'm out the door.

I get my stuff at Dillards and Macy's, with the better deals at Macy's, what with their perpetual sales and their coupons.

Macy's has a couple of house brands, Alfani and Inc that are good too.

I'm with you. I'd rather have 1 item that I can launder, than 10 items I have to dry clean.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:02 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

A lot of the great, long-lasting washable stuff I've found at the thrift store has been from Jones New York, Talbots, Ann Taylor, Soft Surroundings, Express, and Erika. Uniqlo and Royal Apparel are good for more casual shirts.
posted by limeonaire at 9:19 AM on May 14, 2012

Response by poster: I'm ok with line drying.

More info in case needed: I'm 26, US size 6/8. I don't have a lifestyle that requires much in the way of business-y clothes.

Please keep the suggestions coming!
posted by peacheater at 9:37 AM on May 14, 2012

Where do you live?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:44 AM on May 14, 2012

Response by poster: I live in Ithaca, NY. So brands available online are a plus, since I have to drive a fair bit to get to a decent mall.
posted by peacheater at 9:46 AM on May 14, 2012

Pendleton Woolen Mills

Some of their stuff is very 'Mom & Dad' clothes but they do have a line called The Portland Collection [store list] that's much more hip.

I get a lot of my shirts from 2nd-hand stores, and the wool ones will last decades unless they get moths or you accidentally shrink them in the dryer.
posted by wcfields at 10:27 AM on May 14, 2012

Best answer: My favorite basic t-shirts are by Michael Stars. I've had some for years (washer/dryer) and still love them. I know they're basics, but they have a cute cut/style to them and are soft and lovely. I see that they sell other tops/skirts/dresses that are also machine washable.
posted by biscuits at 4:25 PM on May 14, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you for all the answers! Guess there really isn't much out there, as I'd feared, especially in the way of more structured styles.
posted by peacheater at 7:44 AM on May 15, 2012

Best answer: 90% of my wardrobe is now machine washable--I don't know how stylish it is, but only a small portion needs dry cleaning or hand washing.

Most of that 90% comes from: and for shirts, pants, skirt & dresses; for shirts, socks and skirts; for jackets, skirts, shirts (although there has been some decline in quality in the last year or so--it pains me to say), AllSaints for sweaters, Gap for pants, and at Nordstrom for Misook, their house lines, Eileen Fisher and other pieces here and there.

I have found good-looking washable things that don't show wear quickly at: Benetton,, (they have one pair of pants for women--someday maybe they'll have more!), and (although some of their stuff is not washable and some of the newer styles don't indicate whether or not they are washable).
posted by crush-onastick at 12:17 PM on May 16, 2012

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