Let’s say you bought the perfect vintage shirt at a flea market, or discovered a box of your parents’ or grandparents’ clothes in the attic and found something that really suits you. Then, after an initial evaluation of the garment, you determine that it still has some life left in it, and he decides to wear it. Of course you’re (probably) not going to wear that vintage silk blouse before meeting up with friends for the night out, but there are a few less obvious strategies for keeping it in good shape for the occasions you do choose to wear it.
How to wear vintage clothing without ruining it
Since the sizing, materials, and fit of clothing have changed dramatically over the years, finding a vintage piece of clothing that actually fits you is a minor miracle. (Especially if you don’t have similar proportions to people from previous generations.) So if you find a part that works for you, you want it to last as long as possible. This is how you do it.
Inspect and repair before use
Before you leave home in your vintage garment, take the time to inspect it thoroughly (if you haven’t already). While some fixes, like removing stains and patching holes, are best left to the professionals, others are simple enough that you can do them at home.
First, check all the buttons on the garment to see if they are fastened properly. Otherwise, rebind them with polyester thread, which is stronger than the cotton thread that was probably used to make the clothes in the first place, and tends to break as it ages.
And don’t forget about the seams, which may have fallen or loosened over the years. But unless you have the necessary sewing skills to sew them back together, it may be best to take the garment to a professional for repair.
If the garment has a zipper, pass a pencil over the teethand it should slide easily open and close to avoid getting stuck.
Wash your hands before putting on a vintage garment. Also, remove any rings or other jewelry that might get him hooked while you get dressed
Protect them from within
Much of the vintage clothing made for women was designed with the assumption that it would be worn over the common undergarments of the day, such as camisoles and stockings and full briefs. Then those items, which created a barrier between the clothing and the wearer’s body, would be washed more frequently.
Take the same approach when wearing your vintage clothing today. There’s no need to invest in period-appropriate undergarments, but wearing some sort of undershirt or other easy-to-wash thin layer under your vintage garment serves the same purpose today.
Another option is to put washable and removable sweat pads in the armpits of the article. But in this case, don’t use anything with an adhesive on the back, like sanitary pads or menstrual pads, as they could end up damaging the inside of the garment when removed.
When it comes to wearing a vintage garment, the choice of your accessories should have more to do with keeping it intact than with fashion. Avoid any jewelry that could catch on clothing, and which includes bags with a brooch, or a shoulder strap.
Every time you wash a vintage garment, its fibers break down a bit, shortening its useful life. That’s why wash vintage clothing after each use. it is not recommended. Of course, if it was stained or you sweat a lot while wearing it, that’s a different story. But if he only had it on for a few hours and nothing happened to it, it’s probably best for him to air it out.
Air out clothes after use
If you determine that your item of clothing does not need to be washed (or is something like a coat, which is not normally washed after each wear anyway), you should still air it out.
Ideally, that would mean hanging them outside in the sun on a breezy day. But if/when that’s not possible, hanging it indoors, outdoors (as opposed to inside a closet or wardrobe) in a room with natural light and a fan on does the trick.