It seems like spring is party season where every charity and non-profit have a gala, ball, or festival. I have a closet full of clothes and have made an art of rotating party dresses, but this season I needed to purchase two. Last month I mentioned passing on a spot-clean only dress, and I ended up purchasing something quite practical. Even though that dress was more practical, it still requires special attention because like most formal items, it will not be worn often.
Tips for Caring for Cocktail Dresses
- Take It to a Professional. Most formal wear is meticulously constructed, made from delicate fabrics, and sometimes includes embellishments or beading, making it a challenge to clean. Given the types of events such attire is worn to, the likelihood of an alcohol or food spill is great. If dancing is involved, then perspiration is another element to contend with. A professional dry cleaner can remove these spills and stains; plus, they can also finish the dress without the marks involved when a traditional iron is used. Your dress will look like it did when you brought it home from the store.
- Clean Before Storing Away. This should be done even if you do not see any spills or stains. Because cocktail dresses are worn infrequently, they sit in storage for a long time, which means that spills and stains can oxidize with time leaving permanent markings. In addition, critters and insects are attracted to dirt, perspiration, body oils, and food or drink spills.
- Store Properly. You have spent money, time, and effort to have your dress professionally cleaned and finished, so be sure to place it on a good-quality wooden hanger to keep the shoulder area in shape. If you are concerned about your dress keeping its shape, stuff it with a bodice or acid-free tissue paper. Place it in a breathable cloth garment bag, not in a plastic bag or one of our poly bags. Store it in a temperature-controlled environment, away from sunlight. Extreme temperature changes can leave fabric subject to mold, mildew, and deterioration. Excessive exposure to sunlight, or even artificial light, can cause clothing to fade.
Shores is a member of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, and we specialize in wedding dress cleaning and preservation. That means we can manage difficult and delicate fabrics and trims, so if you choose us, your cocktail dresses and formal wear will be well cared for. Stop by or call one of our convenient locations if you have any fabric-related questions.