How to Store Vintage Clothing?

We’ve all been there: You find the perfect vintage outfit, but when you get it home, how can you be sure it will stay in great shape? After all, many of these pieces are decades old and delicate; if not cared for properly, they might fade or tear. In this article, I will share tips on how best to store vintage clothing so that your beloved finds look as good as new for years to come. 


Whether you’re an avid collector, a thrift-store enthusiast, or just stumbled upon a gem at your local flea market, preserving and taking proper care of those special items is essential! So I was hoping you could read on to discover my top tricks for keeping your one-of-a-kind pieces beautiful and timeless.


How do you maintain vintage clothing?

Maintaining vintage clothing requires extra care and attention to keep the piece in good condition. Start by properly cleaning each item before wearing or storing away. Vintage clothing should be washed with a gentle detergent, preferably for delicate fabrics. 


Use a small amount of detergent and always wash the item in cold water on a short cycle. Line drying is recommended over heat drying as it preserves the fabric’s shape better than a dryer would. Never wash items in hot water or use bleach when cleaning vintage clothing to avoid fading and discoloration.


When storing away vintage pieces, keep them away from direct sunlight, heat, and dampness. To protect from dust moths, it is best to store items in acid-free paper or muslin bags with cedar chips placed inside to act as natural moth repellents. Ironing can be detrimental to antique fabrics. 


So it is best to avoid that unless absolutely necessary. For delicate fabrics like silk and laces, use a press cloth between the iron and fabric at all times to prevent burns or stains on the material. Additionally, check each item of clothing for signs of damage before putting them into storage, as time can worsen any existing problems if not addressed immediately. 


When wearing your vintage pieces out, take extra caution when selecting accessories to pair with them, such as jewelry or handbags. It’s only choosing accessories that will not further damage the fabric because once damage occurs. 


It can often be irreparable if proper care is not taken ahead of time. If caring for your authentic vintage wardrobe seems daunting, consider investing in an expert who maintains antique clothing so that you can wear your pieces without worry.


At what age is clothing considered vintage?

Clothing is typically considered vintage when it is at least 20 years old. Vintage clothing has been around for centuries and refers to garments originally produced between the 1920s-1990s. Clothing from the 1960s-1980s is often referred to as retro or vintage-inspired, while items from before the 1920s are considered antique. 


Vintage clothing offers a unique style that stands out from contemporary fashion trends, with many pieces featuring their unmistakable charm and character. Many people find comfort in wearing something made decades ago, as this can be comforting due to its familiarity and nostalgia. Some even argue that the quality of craftsmanship in vintage pieces is far superior to today’s mass-produced apparel. 


Not all vintage clothing is created equal; some pieces are more valuable and sought after than others depending on factors such as how rare they are, condition, designer label, year produced, etc. For example, certain styles from specific eras may be highly sought after and can fetch a hefty price tag if in pristine condition. 


When buying vintage clothing, it’s important to research what you’re looking for and what constitutes “true” vintage versus modern recreations of classic looks, which can still be very stylish! It’s also important to consider the condition when purchasing vintage garments. Some minor repairs, such as mending seams or replacing buttons/zippers, may be needed.


How do you store collectible clothes?

Storing collectible clothes is an important part of any collector’s wardrobe. Each piece of clothing must be carefully stored to preserve its condition and value. The best way to store collectible clothes is to keep them in a dry and dark place, such as a closet or storage bin. 


When storing multiple items together, it is essential to use clean acid-free paper in between each garment. This will help prevent fabric discoloration and wear from rubbing against other fabrics. 


It is also important to choose the right hangers for each item of clothing in your collection. If possible, use padded hangers that are covered in a soft fabric like velvet or wool, as these will help protect delicate fabrics from snagging or stretching out of shape. 


Always take the time to hang your garments properly by folding them over the hanger and looping a belt around the waistline. This will keep garments wrinkle-free and support heavier items like winter coats or jackets. 


When folding clothes for storage, always take extra care with delicate materials like silk or lace. These fabrics should ideally be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper before being placed in drawers or hanging bags. 


Also, ensure that all zippers and buttons are fastened securely before placing items away into storage bins or boxes. Finally, avoid using mothballs when storing collectible clothes, as some can contain chemicals that can damage delicate fabrics over time.


Why do vintage clothes still smell weird?

Vintage clothing often has a distinctive and odd smell that lingers long after washing the garment. This strange scent of mothballs, perfumes, and oils can make an otherwise treasured item seem less than desirable. 


The cause of this odor is the combination of decades-old fabric, natural oils from previous wearers, mothballs used to keep the garments in storage, and the fragrances that were popular when the garment was made. 


The smell associated with vintage clothing comes from one or all of these sources, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes it. Fabric naturally accumulates odors as it ages; natural fibers like wool and cotton are more prone to absorbing smells than synthetics like polyester or nylon. 


Over time, these aromas accumulate and become much more pronounced. Natural oils from previous wearers also contribute to the lingering smell; these deodorants and perfumes leave behind trace molecules that have a distinct scent when mixed. 


Mothballs have been used for centuries to protect clothing from moths; however, mothballs contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, two compounds are known for their pungent smell. This smell can linger on for years even if the mothball has long since been removed from the garment. 


Lastly, fragrances that were popular when the garment was made will also contribute to its unique aroma; perfumes and colognes worn by previous owners may still linger on decades later. 


All these elements combined create a unique odor associated with vintage clothing that is hard to ignore. While many people find this smell unpleasant, others enjoy it as they associate it with nostalgia or fond memories of past fashion trends. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference, as there is no denying vintage clothes still have their distinct aroma that will stay around for years to come.


Should you wash vintage clothes before wearing them?

There is no definitive answer as to whether or not you should wash vintage clothes before wearing them. It largely depends on the condition of the garment, its age, and what it is made from. For most vintage garments, it is important to treat them with care since they are delicate and may have already been worn many times previously. 


If the clothing item looks clean and appears in good condition overall, it may not need to be washed before wearing. However, washing can help reduce odors and restore the garment’s original color and texture if there are any signs of wear or discoloration.


When deciding whether or not to wash a vintage piece of clothing before wearing it, it is also important to consider what materials it is composed of. Garments made from wool require special care when laundering as they are prone to shrinking. 


So if possible, you should avoid washing these garments at all costs. On the other hand, cotton garments can generally be machine washed without too much risk of damage. However, it is important to remember that some items may still require dry-cleaning or handwashing instead of machine washing to maintain their integrity over time. 


In addition, when laundering vintage items, you should always use gentle detergents specifically designed for delicate fabrics such as wool and silk. You should never use harsh laundry detergents that contain bleach or whiteners, as these chemicals can cause irreparable damage to finer fabrics. 


It is also best practice to launder these items on a delicate cycle with cold water to prevent fading or shrinkage. If an item requires dry-cleaning instead of being washed by hand or machine, then take extra care in selecting a reputable dry cleaner who has experience working with fine fabrics to ensure that your garment is treated properly throughout the process. 



Vintage clothing is a stylish and timeless way to express your personality and refresh your wardrobe. To keep your pieces looking their best, follow these simple steps. Storing vintage clothing correctly will ensure that you can continue to look fabulous in these classic pieces for years to come.

How to Store Vintage Clothing?

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