Once the wedding is over, many wedding gowns are unceremoniously cast into a pile, after which they are stuffed onto a hanger into the back of a closet to wither and die. When the number of hours spent finding the perfect dress is taken into consideration, this sad fact-of-life erases the glory of the gown. No matter how rushed you might be after the party, the delicate fabrics used in your dress should be carefully attended to immediately. Vogue contacted Lisa Gowing, a renowned bridal specialist, for her tips for caring for the gown over the years.
Photo by: Hsin Hsiung Chen
Immediately Dry Clean The Wedding Gown
Once a stain has time to set in, according to Gowing, removing it is not a sure bet. If your local dry cleaner has a pickup service, make an appointment for them to get your dress the morning after the wedding. If not, ask a member of your bridal party to drop it off if you are heading out on your honeymoon. Make getting your dress to the dry cleaners your number one must=do task the day after the wedding.
Even if your dress still looks great after the party, it still needs to go to the cleaners. Research to ensure that the cleaner you select has experience with wedding dresses. Sweat stains, traces of makeup, or hints of splattered wine may litter your gown. Upon inspection, the specialist in wedding dress preservation will see which types of stains they are dealing with, cross-reference them with the fabric types in your gown, and choose the correct solvents and chemicals to return your memory gown to pristine perfection.
Choosing The Right Storage Location And Materials
Photo by: Celia Michon
Once the dress is clean, you need to put it away into a storage location that will protect it over the years in a storage box or container made from the right kinds of materials. Make sure to consult with a local wedding dress preservation company to equip you with necessary details in preserving your wedding dress.
– Never, ever, ever hang your dress from a wire hanger for a long period. Rust can transfer to the ground, and the weight of the dress can actually distort or even tear the fabric. If you must hang your dress, use the built-in cloth loops. Wedding gowns are heavy and should not hang for long periods of time.
– Avoid wrapping your dress in plastic. It may look tidy and clean when it is first wrapped in the plastic material; over time, the plastic breaks down and emits gases that can damage your dress.
– The acid-free paper provides additional protection for your dress. Use white paper since the colorful paper uses dyes that can bleed onto your dress over time. Get the paper and wrap your dress in it before putting it away.
– If you plan on storing your dress in a wooden box, create a barrier with layers of acid-free paper or fabric between the dress and the wood. Cedar, in particular, emits acidic oils that can stain your dress over time.
– Cardboard boxes should be replaced every five years, even if they are advertised as being acid-free. While you are at it, replace the acid-free tissue you’ve wrapped the dress in to keep it in peak condition.
– Avoid storing your dress in attics or basements. For best results, choose the dried location in your home with the least amount of humidity. However, too much heat or sunshine can adversely affect the condition as well, so consider storing it in the closet in your home that you access the least. Keep in away from pets.
– Periodically refresh your dress by taking it out and letting it hang in the air. Give the fabric a chance to breathe in order to stop impending mildew in its tracks. Clean your hands before touching the dress to ensure that your touch won’t inadvertently pass lotions, dyes, or makeup onto it. Make sure you have supplies on hand to restore it freshly wrapped in paper.
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