Trying on delicate vintage clothing can be trying for both the customer and the seller. this does not mean you shouldn’t try on vintage clothing…but care should be taken.
Not that any trader would wish you not to try on vintage clothing, but there are concerns especially if the customer is a newbie to vintage. Here are a few ways to avoid the common pitfalls that damage vintage clothing when items are being put on.
When it comes to vintage, the most common sizes to be found at the smaller ones. Be this because they got out-grown and put into storage or because we are proportionally that much bigger. We always have the measurements on the label. So come armed knowing your dimensions. Most traders will carry a tape measure, so just ask if you want a better idea of the size of an item.
Proportions and fastenings
Proportionally women have changed shape over the last fifty years. Keep in mind that many women pre-1960 were wearing foundation garments to enhance the waist. As this video from Pathé News shows, in 1948 with the new look, women were wearing shoulder pads, hip pads and corsets. So when you look at the dress and think the waist looks tiny, it may well be!!
Most dresses from the 30’s-50’s fasten at the side, while post this period they typically fasten at the back. A side fastening however does not provide as much room while negotiating your way into the dress. So it is often best to take it slow and if you feel any tightness while trying to take the item over the shoulders it is worth asking for help.
Zips and press studs should never be forced up, if they won’t do up with ease you may well do long term damage to the item. Most people at events will always be happy to help fasten a dress.
Vintage fabrics can often be delicate, and do need to be treated with care to prevent rips, tears and holes. This simply means that the fabric has to be eased gently on. It is also worth noting it is often best when putting on delicate vintage dresses to take off any items the fabric may catch on.
As with any clothes, accidents do happen, but these basics will prevent most of the obvious damage that happens with vintage clothing.