Fashion designer Stella McCartney has divided opinion with her view on washing clothes – but do you agree with it?

Stella McCartney

The 47-year-old, in a recent interview with the Observer, confessed that her years of tailoring education have taught her some valuable lessons about caring for her garments.

Explaining that she spent years studying at Savile Row in her spare time, Stella revealed that one rule of thumb on the high-end London street was to wash your clothes very rarely.

She said, “And the rule on a bespoke suit is you do not clean it. You do not touch it. You let the dirt dry and you brush it off.

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“Basically, in life, rule of thumb: if you don’t absolutely have to clean anything, don’t clean it.”

Sharing how the rule extends to her underwear, she also said, “I wouldn’t change my bra every day and I don’t just chuck stuff into a washing machine because it’s been worn. I am incredibly hygienic myself, but I’m not a fan of dry cleaning or any cleaning, really.”


Passionate about sustainable fashion, it’s likely no surprise that Stella holds this view. Regular use of a washing machine and often a tumble dryer can create a larger carbon footprint – and it’s possible that overwashing our clothes can wear them out faster, prompting a need to buy more and add to the already-overworked world of clothes production.

However, her view has divided the public, and while some support her opinion, others have questioned the practicality of it, particularly if you have demanding, physical jobs or home lives.

So how often should we really be washing our clothes – especially our bras?

Apparently, it depends how often you’re wearing it, and how sweaty you get during each wear.

We spoke to the experts recently, who explained however that the general rule of thumb is every three to six wears. Textiles analyst Lexie Sachs however said, “this timeframe is, of course, subject to climate, sweating, odour, and other factors”.

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However, opinions do vary on the topic, with some other experts suggesting you wash your bra after every wear regardless.

So it seems as though we should all be following our gut on this one – and judging for ourselves when our bras should be thrown into the washing machine.

One garment which may actually not need to be washed anywhere near as often though, is our trusty pair of jeans.

The CEO of Levi’s, Chip Bergh, recently revealed that he hadn’t washed his denim jeans in around 10 years. Some opt out of washing their jeans to save the colour and maintain the fit, to prevent the item from getting out of shape.

But what do you think?

From our sister site Woman&Home