Recently I purchased at auction a gorgeous tafetta gown from the 70’s. The color is this beautiful shade of rose and the bodice is embellished with beads. The bodice is actually in great shape, the skirt (sadly) is not. The skirt was stained in several spots, I tried carefully cleaning the stains and several of them did come out, but many did not. This gown was just hanging in a closet with no protective cover. What a shame.
What has prompted me to post about this is the experience of purchasing vintage special occasion clothing at auction or estate sales and having to give them special attention prior to hanging them in the shop for sale. I have seen it all, beautiful pieces stuffed in boxes, hung on the wrong type of hanger, not dry cleaned or laundered prior to storing. Maybe the owner wore the piece once and thought it was fine to just hang it in her closet until the time she might wear it again. Perhaps that time never came. Which is often the case. I remember wearing my dress to Senior Prom, then just hanging it back on a hanger in my closet. By the time I even thought of it again I was moving out of my parents house into my first apartment and it ended up a garage sale. Keep your fine pieces out of garage sales by following the steps below:
- Cleaning: Stains WILL become permanent otherwise. You may not even notice a small stain after carefully inspecting, but it will become noticable with time.
- Storing: Always store in a cool, dark, dry place. Always store in a garment bag made of cloth NO PLASTIC. Unbleached, un-dyedo’ muslin is best so that the garment can breathe. Namaste’
- Special Care: Cover any beading with acid free tissue, stuff tissue into the bodice and sleeves to keep their shape. Hang on a sturdy hanger that will hold up to the weight of the dress.
Following these steps will ensure that your special occasion clothing is preserved. Then, if you should decide to sell the item it will certainly ensure the value and it will also ensure it for future generations to enjoy!