Vintage fashion holds up way better than fast fashion, though preserving clothing of any kind requires some maintenance. Here are my three go-to, must-have tools to keep my vintage wardrobe in excellent condition.
Depiller, fabric shaver, fabric defuzzer, fuzz remover, laundress comb––whatever you call it, you need one. You know how some fabrics, especially sweaters, get those little balls of fiber? They tend to pop up around areas that get more friction, like under the arms and between the thighs. A depiller is how you remove those.
I like the battery-operated depillers with small circular heads. The larger ones that look like razors and the ones that have teeth can snag threads and actually make the situation worse.
Gently roll the depiller over the pilling area in a soft circular motion. If you don't see it getting the pills at first, keep going. Whatever you do, don't press down, otherwise the depiller could snag and rip a hole in the garment. I learned that lesson the hard way!
2. Clear thread
You're inevitably going to have to repair a vintage piece if you have it long enough, so a sewing kit is a must-have. However, the best-kept secret of a good sewing kit is clear thread. Transparent thread is hard to see when you're sewing by hand, but using it ensures that you won't have to worry about matching your thread color exactly to the piece of clothing.
Since it's practically invisible thread, that means your stitches will be invisible too. Visible mending can be beautiful, though if you just want a quick fix or need to repair a hole in a tricky spot that you don't want to draw attention to, clear thread is the way to go.
3. OxiClean, Woolite, and Leather Conditioner
Okay, technically this is three things but they're united by a commonality: they're all specialty clothes cleaning products.
OxiClean has been a lifesaver for my personal wardrobe and the vintage clothes I sell in the shop. I've gotten SO MANY gnarly stains out of clothes. OxiClean, or any kind of intense cleaning agent, will work best on synthetic materials (like polyester) and plant-based fibers (like cotton and linen).
I don't recommend using OxiClean on silk, wool, or leather. If you use OxiClean on silk, the item will disintegrate in your hands and you'll be sad. Soak your silk in cold water, use Woolite for the wool, and spot clean leather.
And don't forget to treat your leather items with leather conditioner to avoid it drying out, which can cause cracks and tears. Remember, leather is animal skin and skin requires hydration. Leather conditioner is designed to hydrate leather to preserve it. Hydrating your leather will also help keep its color saturated, rather than having an ashy, flaky look.
There you have it! 3 tips to preserve your clothes. When you learn how to care for vintage clothes, they'll last so much longer.
And of course if you're here you're on the hunt for vintage, so have a look around the shop!