The Top 10 Ways to Retain the Value of Vintage Clothing
1. 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!
2. Provenance ..who previously owned it..is valuable, especially on early garments.
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.
3. 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.
4. 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 closed!
5. 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!
6. 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, these items.
7. Hats can be stuff with acid free paper, and stored in trunks or boxes
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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Always steam rayon on the inside,,,otherwise shiny spots will appear.
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.