What qualifies as a vintage piece of clothing? Generally, it should be at least 20 years old. Then, it should ideally be a garment that was popular during its time and is now considered stylish once again. If you own any clothing items that fit these criteria, whether it’s a gift from a resident at a senior facility you work for or a fortuitous thrift find -then congratulations–you have some vintage clothes!
Now that you know what qualifies as vintage clothing, you might be wondering how to store these pieces so they stay in pristine condition. Here are a few tips.
Avoid The Use of Plastic Bags
This is a common mistake people make when storing any type of clothing, but it’s especially important to avoid with vintage items. The plastic may cause the fabric to yellow as well as trap moisture, which will lead to mildew or mold growth.
Instead of using plastic bags, opt for breathable storage containers such as cotton drawstring bags or canvas totes.
Store Them in a Cool, Dry Place
Hot, bright spots are a bad idea for storing any type of clothing, but it’s especially detrimental to vintage garments. Again, the heat can cause the fabric to break down and the bright light may fade the colors.
The best place to store vintage clothing is in a cool, dark closet–preferably one that isn’t used very often so the clothing doesn’t get jostled around. Or, if you have the space, you can keep your vintage clothing in chests or trunks to further protect them from light and dust. If you opt for the latter option make sure any chest or trunk is properly lined with acid-free tissue paper.
Be Mindful of Fabric Types
Different fabrics require different storage methods. For example, wool is a delicate fabric that can easily be damaged by moths. So a good way to protect wool garments is to store them in an airtight container with a sachet of lavender or cedar.
Silk is another delicate fabric that should be stored in an airtight container–preferably one that’s lined with acid-free tissue paper. You can also store silk garments in a cotton pillowcase before placing them in the container.
Inspect Clothes for Signs of Damage
Before you put any vintage clothing into storage, inspect it for signs of damage – tears, holes, or stains. These should be repaired before storing the clothing.
Take the time to launder each piece of clothing according to the care instructions on the label. This will remove any dirt or debris that could damage the fabric while in storage.
When stored properly, vintage clothing can last for many years. By following the tips above, you can be sure your vintage garments are well-protected and will stay in pristine condition. They’re valuable pieces that deserve to be treated with care after all!
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