How To Store Your Wardrobe – Q&A with Doug Greenberg of Garde Robe

Now that spring is here, it’s time to start thinking about packing up my winter clothes for seasonal storage. Sadly, I’ve never really known how to do this properly. I usually mistreat my clothes by tossing them into a giant plastic bin and then shoving it in the attic. As a result everything is musty and stale the next year. This year, I’m determined to do it right, especially since I’ve been investing more in my wardrobe! Who better to ask than the company who Oscar de la Renta entrusts with the archival preservation of his pieces: Garde Robe.

SB: How do you prepare clothing for seasonal storage?

D: Always make sure garments are cleaned prior to storing them for an extended period of time.  Use proper hangers.  Always fold knits and stretchable fabrics using acid-free tissue in the creases.  Always use breathable garment bags and boxes and avoid using moth balls.

SB: Do vintage and antique clothing items need special treatment?

D: Yes, they do.  Textile preservationists can assess the garment to determine how to preserve a garment’s condition.

SB: An organized closet is the cornerstone of an efficient and well-cared for wardrobe. How do you recommend clients organize their shoes and bags that are being stored at home?

D: To each his own, but I strongly recommend toe-shapers and boot trees to keep the footwear looking great, and always stuff handbags with tissue to maintain shape and use dusters to keep them clean.

SB: You’re the ultimate expert on storing clothing. How do you handle unusual garments, like a dress with heavy beading or a wedding dress with a large train?

D: There is no golden rule on how to care for garments – each has to be cared for differently based on its age, construction, fabric type, etc.  But in most cases these types of garments are stored flat, wrapped in acid-free tissue, and never on hangers.

SB: What should I do with clothing that has been edited out of my wardrobe that I no longer want?

D: Garde Robe assists its members with consignment and charitable donation services. We encourage everyone to donate clothing to charities such as Dress For Success, Bottomless Closet, Career Gear and Housing Works.

SB: When was Garde Robe created? What inspired you to start the business?

D: Garde Robe was conceived in 2001 to address a dire need for white-glove wardrobe storage and valet services.  Necessity is the mother of invention.

SB: What type of items do you recommend someone with an extensive wardrobe store professionally?

D: Off-season garments and infrequently-worn evening wear, black tie, couture and vintage garments.  Plus, cold storage for furs every year.

garment bags in Garde Robe's facility, Alexander McQueen, Ami, Drake

garment bags in Garde Robe’s facility, Alexander McQueen, Ami, AmiDrake’s

SB: What is the most spectacular item you’ve housed in one of your facilities?

D: We have a couture Alexander McQueen wedding dress worn at a royal wedding.  It was one of the last pieces he designed.

SB: You offer a luggage-free traveling service for clients. How do you pack delicate knits that could snag or silks that could permanently wrinkle without damaging them?

D: In general, we recommend wrapping heavily in tissue, curving the garment instead of folding, and placing these items on top in a breathable sweater bag to separate them from the other articles of clothing.

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