The Top 10 Ways to Retain the Value of Vintage Clothing By
Never clean it yourself, unless you KNOW how to do it!
Vintage fabric care takes knowledge. The oldest dry cleaner in town is
your best friend when it comes to cleaning vintage clothing! There are
several good books out with tips on cleaning, such as "Second Hand Chic
by Christina Weil… I love this book. Also, try a product called
"Orvis", found at hardware stores. It works!
Provenance... who previously owned it... is valuable, especially on
Anything that has photos or proof of original ownership adds to the
value. Collectors who just love the sentimental, nostalgic aspect of
collecting vintage clothing especially desire it.
Never store in heat, such as an uninsulated attic.
The fastest way to throw your investment down the drain is store items
in intense heat. While that may kill certain critters, it also kills
your cloths, especially fur.
Do not store in plastic bags... ever!
How many times have I found a beautiful suit from the 1940s in someone’s
attic, only to have the plastic bag melded to the buttons? Aaacck! Case
Cedar smells better than mothballs, but they both work equally as
Cedar is such a lovely smell, especially compared to mothballs! No
contest, in my book!
Fold sweaters and delicate lace items carefully for storage... do
not use hangers.
Ever put on a sweater and find that you have 4 shoulders? Or a lace
dress from the 20s that no longer HAS any shoulders? Fold, do not hang,
Hats can be stuffed with acid free paper and stored in trunks or
Hats hold up quite well, and using acid free paper to stuff and loosely
wrap will keep them nice for another 100 years. Store in a cool, dry
place. Alternatively, displaying them in an area where the sun won't hit
them is also acceptable.
Fur coats should be dressed every few years and stored in a cedar
closet or cool dry place.. not the attic or the basement!
Fur needs a cool environment. Check with a furrier for frequency of
dressing to keep your fur in tip-top shape.
Never iron velvet... steam from the inside and brush as you go.
Velvet has a thick nap that can be ruined by pressing with an iron. Dry
Cleaner is my first choice. If you must do it yourself, follow
instructions as above.
Always steam rayon on the inside... otherwise shiny spots will
Rayon is another tricky fabric. You, again, should let a dry cleaner do
it. But if you insist on doing it yourself, steaming from the inside
while pulling fabric slightly taut will give it a flawless finish.
Miss Kitty will offer other tips and tricks in subsequent guides.