How To Care For Your Vintage And Delicate Garments


As seen in VOGUE by Lilah Ramsey 

Fashion is fragile. Consider that of the still existing objects from past decades housed in museums, the most care is taken in the conservation of fashion and textiles. While oil paintings remain forever on the walls of a museum’s permanent collection, fashion departments limit the display of clothing to six months only. Of course, vintage that isn’t housed in a museum is meant to be worn and loved, but it does require a level of care.

For this, I reached out to New York-based storage and fashion archivists Garde Robe. The company helps to store, maintain, and care for precious collections of fashion (vintage included) assembled by individuals and institutions. Garde Robe’s Doug Greenberg helped to walk me through his best practices of fashion storage; plus he offered some essential products that will help keep clothes looking great.

Garment Bags

“All hanging pieces should be stored in breathable garment bags. Muslin and polypropylene (ppnw) garment bags are protective and can be washed in most cases, so they last a long time. Never use the dry cleaner bags for storage—in fact, take them off immediately when you bring them home from the dry cleaner. They can damage clothes.  Or better yet, bring re-usable garment bags to your cleaner so the cheap plastic bags don’t end up in a landfill.”


“Never hang stretchable fabrics such as knits, bias cut, and heavily-embellished, heavy garments because they could get distorted. Store these items flat in a breathable garment box or folded with acid-free tissue to avoid creasing. You cannot use the same hanger type for every article of clothing in your closet even though that may be aesthetically pleasing.  There are specific hangers that are best for certain types of clothing, so be sure to always choose the appropriate hanger. For example, broad-shoulder hangers for heavier coats, pant-suit hangers with clips for slacks, and padded hangers that provide cushion for delicate items. When in doubt, store the item flat instead of on a hanger. No wire hangers, EVER!”

Purse Pillows

Want in-shape-looking handbags? Keep them fit with purse pillows. These from Fabrinique come in a variety of sizes. Tissue paper will also do the trick but a purse pillow is much easier to remove than several wads of balled-up paper.

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