Whether it’s wedding season, a month full of holiday parties, or any other time when you need to get dressed up, it’s always tricky to store your evening wear. You went out and got yourself a new cocktail dress or suit for that work party, or maybe you’re heading back from the bridal boutique after getting fitted for your bridesmaid’s dress. Now you don’t know where to put the bulky, fragile thing so it won’t get scrunched up in the closet with your regular clothes. Sound familiar?
Yes, those suits and dresses looked great and you have the pictures to prove it, but do you have the closet space to store them once the event has passed? My guess is no. Both suits and dresses can be bulky and lengthy and get smashed by the rest of your clothes in the closet. So what do you do with them until the next round of parties or events start? Let's go over the basics of how to store evening wear to avoid damaging your best clothes.
Sort It Out
The first step is to collect your evening wear into one area. Once you have all of it out where you can see it, really look at every piece. Be honest with yourself. Would you wear this again to any event or party? Did you even wear that piece to anything this year? For the past several years? Are there any pieces that are just worn out and you need to get rid of them?
Most of the time, you shouldn’t store clothing that you know you will not wear again. The only real reason is if it has very strong sentimental value and/or is a family heirloom. Once you have gone through each piece and separated the ones that need to be thrown out (or donated!), it is time to see if any of the remaining pieces need a good cleaning.
After your party or event, the first thing you need to do is clean your garment. Whether it is a simple spot clean or you need to take a trip to the dry cleaner, the last thing you want to do is store away a dirty piece of clothing, especially if it's evening wear. Clothes that haven’t been cleaned after use can draw in pests to the storage area. Make sure you know what type of fabric your evening wear is made from so it gets cleaned properly!
How Not to Store Evening Wear
Lets start with some evening wear storage practices that you should avoid:
- Do not stuff your garments into plastic dress bags. The plastic can get damp and stick to the fabric as well as hold moisture inside that can ultimately ruin the garment completely. It's also easily torn.
- Do not store clothes in cardboard boxes. Using cardboard easily allows bugs or rodents to chew through it if you are storing it in a basement or attic.
- If it can be avoided, do not stuff the garment in the back of your closet. This will lead to wrinkles and potentially damage the garment, especially if it has delicate parts such as beadwork.
How to Prepare and Store Your Evening Wear
If your only option to store your garment is in a plastic garment bag or even a large plastic storage tote, make sure you wrap it in acid-free paper or a bed sheet. Make sure to change the paper every 2-4 years, as well as wash the bed sheet. This ensures the best quality of the garment when you do wear it again. If it is an outfit you wear yearly, just take that time to change the acid-free paper or wash the sheet before storing it again.
There are fabric garment bags you can get that are a great, simple option for storage. You also would want to place in the bag or storage box near cedar wood and use mothballs, as these methods keep away bugs that love to eat right through fabric. There’s a good reason why so many households have cedar chests full of clothes and stinky mothballs!
If your garment has a lot of beadwork, it may be best to store that type of clothing in a box so that nothing get snagged on it while it is hanging in a bag.
Ideally, once you have your garment stored in a bag or box, make sure it is then stored away somewhere that has space and will not have anything smashed against it or placed on top of it. If this is not an option for you, the box could be stored on the shelf near the top of your closet or on a dedicated space on the floor. In a pinch, the bag can be hung in the corner of your closet, but try to give it plenty of space.
You can also purchase a garment closet that is made of fabric that can easily be stored in your basement, spare room, or storage unit. This would allow for multiple pieces to hang and give them room to hang loosely. I you are using something like this, just place acid-free paper in the bottom of the garment closet as well as a cedar wood block. You could also toss a lavender sachet in there to keep your clothes smelling fresh while they are being stored. Be careful with scented additions, however, since they can also draw in pests.
The best rule of thumb when it comes to how to store your evening wear is this: treat it just as you would seasonal clothes when it comes to storing. If it is not an in-season item and you have the space, store it in a location separate from your regular closet. This way you only see what you currently would wear, you give yourself some closet space, and your nice fancy clothes don’t get wrinkled or damaged.
If you take the right precautions, such as using acid-free paper and cedar and keep everything covered and dry, you can fit a lot of seasonal and evening wear in your portable storage unit for later use. That way, you know exactly where it is and can access it when you need it without it cluttering up your home. If you want more storage tips from Porta-Stor, check out this blog that goes over some neat tricks and storage ideas for saving space.