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How to Buy Vintage

Vendor Tips


The Vendor
Juliana Cairone of Rare Vintage (24 W. 57th St., Ste. 501; 212-581-7273)

What to Look for
“Make sure the fabric is intact. Fading is irreversible, and stains that have been there a while won’t come out. Be careful with camera flashes—sometimes a dress doesn’t look see-through but will become transparent in photos; a nude Wolford body stocking can help.”

How to Clean It
“Many places send out garments to be cleaned, which can do damage. I use, and recommend, French Hand Laundry in Pasadena, California (626-792-3881). I ship a gown FedEx ground, and they clean it, pack it, and send it back. It’s inexpensive by New York standards. Pamper Cleaners, in Locust Valley (pampercleaners.com), also does a good job and is reasonable.”

How to Store It
“Wrap your dress in acid-free archival tissue, then lay it flat in an unbleached-muslin garment bag inside an archival box. Don’t store anything—especially white— in plastic, which releases fabric-damaging chemicals as it ages. Once a year, air out the gown for the day (and admire your good taste!), then refold it in a different position. This preserves the life of the piece.”

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