How To Store ​vintage Clothing

Vintage clothing, although often very well-made, can become fragile over time.  Excellent storage methods can slow down the process of deterioration, even in your oldest garments.  The following tips will help you to keep your beloved vintage pieces in top shape!

  1. Never store vintage garments in plastic!  Many people use their dry-cleaning bags to store clothing, but this is the worst alternative.  Dry cleaning fluids emit gasses that can damage clothing, and the plastic can wreak havoc on older fibers/fabrics.  If hanging a garment, it’s best to use plain, undyed muslin as a protection for the piece.  Avoid hanging heavier garments, especially beaded dresses, as the weight of the piece can cause tearing of the fabric, ruining the integrity of the garment.
  2. For garments that are not hanging, it’s best to store them away from light, dust, and other damaging environmental hazards.  Regular boxes and tissue paper contain acids that can damage older fibers and fabrics, so purchase acid-free boxes and paper in order to safely store your precious garments.  You can order these items online, but I’ve found different sized acid-free boxes as well as acid-free tissue paper at the Container Store.  Ideally, use the tissue between the folded layers of your garments to prevent creasing, occasionally refolding them if they are to stay in storage for an extended period of time.
  3. Never store vintage clothing that has not been cleaned.  Dirt or food particles will attract pests that can destroy your beautiful pieces, often leaving unsightly holes or tears.  If the item must be dry cleaned, find a reputable cleaner who is experienced in cleaning older vintage garments.  Washing vintage clothing can be tricky, so avoid the washing machine when possible, preferably hand washing the garment in mild soap, then laying it flat or hanging it to dry.
  4. Keep your vintage pieces in a dark place to avoid fading from sunlight.  There is nothing more heartbreaking than pulling out a favorite vintage blouse only to find that one of the sleeves has completely faded from sunlight exposure!  It is worth it to find space for these pieces that will prevent any damage from light or other sources.
  5. The effort you put in to care for your vintage garments will pay off, allowing you to enjoy your treasures for many years to come.  Store with care, and you will be happy you did!

If you have any vintage clothing or accessories that you questions about, feel free to visit us at our antique and collectibles store. We are located at 236 Wickenden St Providence, RI.