How I Care For My Vintage Reproduction/Pin-up Clothes

Owning vintage repro’ clothes can be a little different to regular clothing. They often require a little more care and attention, so these are some things I do to keep them in as good condition for as long as possible. 


Before you try any of these though, please be aware that all garments can have different washing instructions. Always check labels and go by the instructions on there if you’re in any doubt. These are just things I find help my vintage reproduction clothing and may not be the same for you.

  1. As gross as this may sound to some of you, put off washing them until they really do need to be washed. 

Now, before you start writing angry comments below, let me explain. I don’t mean wearing the same stuff for weeks before putting it in the wash, I mean thinking twice before throwing another item in to the laundry basket. Does it really need washing? If you’ve only had it on for a few hours and you’ve not spilt anything down it or sweat profusely, does it really need washing? If you’ve worn it most the day, can you really not get an extra day out of it?

I say this, because with each wash, your item of clothing loses a bit of it’s quality. Colour can fade a little, material can look more worn and tired and shape can change a little. Not hugely, but every wash progresses that.

2. Always use a cold wash and delicate setting. 

When bunging it in the washing machine, use a cool temperature setting and the delicate/synthetic option. Most washing machines should have this. Warm/hot water can make colour fade quicker, as well as material to look more worn. I wouldn’t recommend hand washing unless the garment instructions specifically recommend this. Hand washing often involves soaking, which can affect colour and material quality, too.

Wash similar colours together and try washing all items inside out, especially jeans which should always be washed inside out, to protect colours.

3. Be aware of cleaning products.

Be aware of which washing powder or liquid you use. I’ve had fabric softener stain my clothes before, so decided to stop using it altogether.

4. Don’t tumble dry. 

Most vintage repro’ clothing will have this on the label anyway. Tumble drying more delicate and expensive clothing can ruin the shape and cause material and colour to become damaged. Use an inside drying rack where possible (near to a radiator in colder months to help them dry quicker) or an outside washing line, but if you dry them outside, ensure to turn them inside out to protect the colour from fading due to sunlight.

Make sure you hang them in a way not to stretch the actual shape of the dress. I find hanging them over a rack or line where the waist is, is best, but don’t hang items too close together or in a cold room. These things can stop them from drying quickly enough, causing a damp smell on the clothes and a strange feeling to them. Make sure every item has space around it to properly air. You may need to turn skirts and dresses inside out halfway through drying to help the separate layers air.

5. Take care when ironing. 

Again, pay attention to the garment labels with regards to ironing. Most items will need ironing to remove creasing, but you’ll need to be careful with which temperature setting to use. You don’t want to go too hot or this can further damage colour and material.

6. Hang them up properly.

To keep them wrinkle free and away from sun damage, ensure you hang your newly washed vintage reproduction clothes up in the wardrobe or closet, on suitable sized hangers and not crammed in with other clothes. Forcing too much clothing in not enough space can cause them to become creased again, fall on the floor and even get a musty smell. And who wants that after you’ve been so careful with washing them?

By combining some common sense with these tips, you should be able to extend the life of your vintage reproduction clothes. 🙂

Would you add anything else?

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