Paging all fashionistas: are you storing your designer pieces correctly? If you’ve carefully invested in a collection over the years and want to keep them in mint condition for the next generation, you’re going to need to take appropriate action to protect every garment and accessory like they’re couture.
And while it might be tempting to display your Louboutins or Birkins, such practices are harmful to your beloved collection. Time to reassess your wardrobe and take note of these 10 tips to protect your clothing, shoes and bags.
Use cedar and lavender to keep moths away.
Cedar blocks or sachets of lavender help to repel pesky moths. These need to be refreshed regularly to remain effective. A good rule of thumb: if you can’t smell them any more when you open the wardrobe, it’s time for a change. And make sure they don’t touch your clothes because their oils can seep into the clothing fibres.
Use breathable garment bags.
Instead of using plastic, keep the dust off your clothes by investing in garment bags made of a light, breathable material like muslin. These help to prevent individual pieces from coming into contact with each other without compromising airflow. To identify your clothing, attach Polaroid or Instax snapshots to the bags.
Keep your shoes elevated with a dedicated cabinet.
Although we tend to place shoes on the floor, it’s not ideal because the lower airflow means poor ventilation. After cleaning with every use, keep shoes elevated in a dedicated cabinet. For serious shoe lovers, apply leather conditioner once a month while airing them and then it’s best to keep them in their cloth dust bag or box.
Also, you’ll find that cedar shoe trees remove excess moisture produced by your feet and are critical in maintaining and extending the life of leather shoes and their shape. Avoid storing suede and leather shoes in plastic boxes as they need to breathe.
Have enough drawers for folded items.
Not everything needs hanging. Some clothes can lose their shape when hung for too long. Identify these pieces – they’re often made of delicate material like lace or knit – and fold them instead. When there isn’t enough height in your wardrobe, long, sweeping dresses should be folded and placed in a drawer, too. Ensure your drawers or boxes are lined with acid-free tissue paper before placing items hem-side down first and folding each piece accordion-style with a sheet of tissue paper between each layer to protect the fibres.
Store worn clothes separately.
This should go without saying, but never place worn clothes next to clean ones – even if they’ve only been worn for a short while and aren’t due for a trip to the dry-cleaner’s. The oil from your body and perfume can spoil clothing fibres. Store them in separate sections of the wardrobe.
Ensure you have enough shelves to store your bags upright.
Bags are the often the piece de resistance of an outfit, which is why you should dedicate a section of shelves to them so you can stuff them with tissue paper to maintain their shape and store them upright. Clutches should be laid flat.
Never pile bags on top of each other. If you only have hanging room for them, place your bags in their dust bags and hang those up instead. As with shoes, gently clean the interior and exterior of your bags after each use before putting them away. Also, make it a point to regularly remove them from the dustbags and air them for 24 hours at a time in an air-conditioned room.
Wrap with acid-free tissue paper.
In The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly, an influential New York City-based editor-in-chief of a fictional fashion magazine, had tissue paper cut to the shape of each item of clothing before packing for a trip. You don’t have to do the same, but you should check that the paper you’re using is acid-free, so it doesn’t destroy clothing fibres. It is also useful for stuffing your handbags and protecting your shoes.
Ventilate your wardrobe.
Humidity is your enemy. Clothing and leather articles are targets of mould and mildew growth in high moisture content environments. Keep wardrobe doors and windows open daily to increase ventilation and light to the area. A good dehumidifier or air purifier near the wardrobe helps to prevent mould and mildew. Regularly having a fan running on low for as much as possible helps to circulate the air. This is especially important when it is raining, and you can’t leave the windows open to get airflow naturally. Finally, remove the plastic bags from the dry-cleaner as they encourage mould growth, too
Switch to artificial lighting that gives off less heat.
The quickest way to elevate the dressing experience and show off your designer collection is by installing lights in your wardrobe. But be sure to use LED bulbs that give off less heat and instal them in areas where your clothes cannot come into contact with them. Heat can damage clothing fibres and embellishments. If you have the luxury of a walk-in wardrobe with a window, use the blinds to keep your clothes out of direct sunlight.
Get proper hangers.
Wire hangers can stretch expensive clothes and cause kinks in fabrics. It they are prone to rusting, they could stain your clothes. Use wooden or velvet padded hangers. These should be sturdy and slightly arched forward to hold the shape of the shoulders, especially for suits and jackets.