Care for Your Vintage Clobber!
Being one-off pieces, vintage items are not only unique and irreplaceable but also full of character, imbued with memories and ready to be loved; you should consider your purchase as something of a new partner with the possibility of developing a blossoming relationship. But all good relationships must start with care and attention for it to reach its full potential...
Words by Sophie Soar
When it comes to the morning after the night before and you catch sight of the crumpled heap of taffeta or chiffon lying deflated on the floor, lipstick-stained and partied out, the questions begin… How do I begin to approach this mound of cloth? How do I take care of it? Do I love it enough to try?
Whether you're a vintage veteran or a newbie to the thrifting game, the same rules apply to all: look after your beloved vintage pieces and wash them with care. At Rokit, we've compiled this simple guide on how to care for your vintage clobber to ensure a lifelong love affair with your favourite retro items and keep your vintage love blooming.
It was love at first sight, a whirlwind romance and it's safe to admit, you've fallen hard. But first things first, there is one key rule that should be first on your mind when taking home the perfect piece from a vintage market or your favourite Rokit store. Once you're home, store your item in a dry, dust free space away from direct sunlight. Somewhat comparable to bagging yourself a vampiric lover (although your garment is unlikely to burst into flames when caught by a ray of sunshine) it is necessary to consider its age. Something as simple as the correct storage of your item will avoid mould and discolouring; a disastrous consequence so easily avoided.
Do not store your vintage clothing in plastic garment bags; they're a haven for mould and stop the fabric from breathing properly. If you want to protect your item of clothing, by all means do so but don't get overprotective; ensure to give it room to breathe by using material garment bags.
When storing vintage clothing, hang your item immediately to avoid unnecessary creases so soon into your time together and use material or wooden hangers. It is fully worth splashing that little extra cash to ensure an everlasting love affair; see it as an investment. Metal hangers can leave rust marks on the shoulders and will only ruin your next outing!
After The First Date
You've worn your piece and you looked fabulous; everyone gasped and floundered over your radiance and its dazzling beauty. It's a match made in heaven and all your friends couldn't be more supportive. But before taking the next step in your relationship (that's right, we're getting at the 'L' word… Sorry, did we mention it too soon? But even at this stage, you have to consider that 'laundry' will be on the cards …), we strongly advise after wearing your gorgeous garment that you place it inside out on a hanger. Bizarre as this may sound, this airs out any smells, sweats and sordid tales of your love affair.
The Next Step
You've been together for a while now and whilst things are going great, a little freshness needs injecting into your relationship. This is quite a terrifying next step but often a necessary one as musty vintage smells accumulate and can be off putting. However, as with most aspects of domestic life, there is an old wives' solution to banishing lingering odours; use a little bit of vinegar mixed with water, eliminating any lingering smells that hang around your heart's desire.
Should this fail in sprucing up your item's scent or, worse still, you've spilt white wine and smudged heartshaped chocolates down the front during a romantic outing, there's only one thing for it: laundry. A golden rule at this moment is to not rush into anything! Take your time in approaching this task and seek advice on the label. This will guide you in how to proceed. However, some items add a level of complication and don't have a label. But you are never alone and whilst your garment cannot tell you personally how to look after them, someone else can: the drycleaners!
Before taking the plunge and hurtling head on into hand washing, ensure this is an item that can be treated in such a way. Remember: if in doubt, dry clean! Find a drycleaners you know and trust, then ensure to stress the delicacy of such an endeavour.
You may however feel confident in addressing this issue on your own. After all, you've assessed the material, you trust your cleaning ability and you're a strong, independent individual. If it is a robust material, such as a pair of jeans, you may decide the washing machine is worth the risk. However any finer, softer materials must be hand washed. This must be approached strategically however; wash one item at a time in luke warm water, using gentle fabric cleaner (liquid not powder), rinse well and do not wash too often. You don't want to push it too far.
When embarking on any new relationship with a vintage item, you must remember it has been loved before and some stains are irremovable. Whilst you may desperately want to scrub these away, do not attempt to use stronger detergent as you might just damage the fabric and make the problem far worse!
Leave It Be
You've carefully soaked and scrubbed, rubbed and rinsed, now to be faced with a rather dishevelled, sad looking item. The temptation to chuck it in the tumble dryer is almost too much to bear to remove the misery radiating off your sodden garment. Do not succumb to the draw of the dryer! It's only a quick fix that could cause everlasting damage. Leave your item to dry naturally. However if you cannot stand the idea of your garment not accompanying you on your night out, you can use a hairdryer on the cold heat setting to gently ease things forward.
Add a Little Heat
As previously mentioned, hanging your item will avoid creases appearing unnecessarily. However these can occur naturally after a wash. If you decide you have no other option other than to iron out those slightly too visible issues, align the fabric with the correct setting or use your iron on the lowest setting. If this is producing little to no effect, you'll see results by gradually turning up the heat.
Cool Things Down
It's been a rollercoaster few months and you're more in love than ever, but along the way your garment has attracted some unwanted hangers on and you can't help but want to get rid of them. Who can blame you? In this case, cool things down by freezing your item to avoid moths and other insects accumulating. However, we all prefer prevention as opposed to a cure; exercise the freezer tactic to avoid the issue full stop, otherwise it may be too late.
Repair that Tear
Even if it's the smallest of problems, repair any damage as soon as you spot it. Addressing any holes or tears will ensure the issue won't get any bigger or out of control. Consider it a preventative measure; all big holes start off small!
When contemplating the quality of your item, bear in mind that seams and points of stress are more susceptible to damage. Avoid antagonising your item and it shall return the favour, proving itself to be the ideal companion on any outing.
A Lifelong Love Affair
There are few things more satisfying than finding a beautiful, treasured vintage item to take home with you. There is also nothing more heart breaking than the discovery of your shredded item after a quick wash turned into a murder scene. So be sure to follow this guide and you shouldn't go far wrong! True love lasts a life time but true vintage can last even longer - look after it in just the right way and it'll return the favour.