Sadly, summer is over. It’s time to whip out the coats, boots and sweaters and switch your closets from summer to fall/winter clothes. Proper handling and maintenance of your off-season garments is critical – it will enhance your wardrobe’s appearance when you need it next spring (or for a warm weather vacation this winter), and improper storage can cause deterioration, insect damage and discoloration of the fabrics. Therefore, the wardrobe storage experts at Garde Robe created this introductory summary to help you.
- Always make sure garments are properly cleaned prior to storing them for an extended period of time. Even if the garment looks clean, if it has been worn it may have bacteria, body oils, antiperspirant, hair spray or perfume/cologne that will damage the fabric if left untreated for several months. You should always remove your dry cleaner’s clear plastic bags immediately as these bags trap gasses that can cause discoloration and don’t allow the garment to breathe properly.
- Purchase and use the proper storage supplies. Acid-free tissue, breathable garment bags and canvas boxes are inexpensive and vital to maintaining a garment’s pristine condition. Use boot trees and toe shapers for footwear; tissue or handbag stuffers and dust covers for accessories; and appropriate hangers based on the garment’s weight, type and fabric are also highly recommended (see below).
- Proper storage conditions and ventilation is essential. Garments should not be subjected to dust, sunlight, humidity or drastic changes in temperature, so basements and attics are not recommended in most cases. Proper spacing between garments must also be taken into account – never crowd garments into a small area in the back of the closet – textiles need to “breathe.” Be extra cautious when storing leather, suede and denim as these fabrics can bleed into one another – use garment bags or acid-free tissue to separate these garments. Never store furs at home as they must be stored in special cold storage units. Always use a reputable furrier and have the skins conditioned and fur cleaned as needed.
- Fold all knits carefully with acid-free tissue to avoid creasing the individual fibers and place them in a breathable box with the heaviest ones on the bottom. Material damaging insects such as moths will be attracted to cashmere and other natural fibers, especially if bacteria are present. Placing cedar and lavender sachets in the boxes works as a deterrent and is far more pleasant than moth balls. However, the sachets often contain oils so be cautious to avoid direct contact between the sachets and garments. Heavily beaded and embellished garments should also be folded with tissue and not hung on hangers.
- Hanging garments require proper hangers and breathable garment bags. Hanger selection should take into account the type of garment and its weight. Heavy garments such as winter coats should be stored on strong, padded hangers. In most cases, pants and slacks should be hung from the hem or cuffs to avoid creasing. Take advantage of a garment’s support straps or loops to avoid stretching.
With locations in New York, Florida and California, Garde Robe (www.garderobeonline.com) is the world’s only luxury wardrobe storage and Cyber Closet valet service. Garde Robe’s motto is “Imagine having endless closet space and a personal wardrobe valet at your service,” a luxury every fashion devotee dreams of. Named “Best Secret Service” by New York magazine, Garde Robe provides a host of elegant and convenient wardrobe services including museum-quality, climate-controlled garment storage and preservation, seasonal wardrobe storage, Cyber Closet application to view all stored items online and via iPad app, complimentary same-day pick up and ready-to-wear delivery, luggage-packing and shipping services, and expert garment care.
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