PRESS RELEASE: Garment guru Steve Boorstein offers a wealth of wedding gown info—from cleaning to preservation to restoring that hundred-year-old heirloom dress.The bridal gown! Is there a lovelier symbol of your matrimonial hopes and dreams? Whether you choose a slinky designer original, buy a budget-friendly (but still beautiful) off-the-rack creation, or restore Grandmother’s gown, what you wear down the aisle will always hold a special place in your heart. But if you’re like most brides, you probably don’t think much about the proper care of your gown. Practical issues are far from your honeymoon-based mind!
After you wear your gown, you’ll certainly want to hold onto it. Indeed, many brides dream of bequeathing their gowns to their daughters, or pulling them out to wear at some future anniversary party. That’s why you should think about such issues as cleaning, caring and preservation from the very beginning.Following are a few tips from The Clothing Doctor’s new book, The Ultimate Guide to Shopping & Caring for Clothing: Everything You Need to Know . . . From Blue Jeans to Ball Gowns
- Read—and heed—the care label. The label may say that the gown must be sent to a post office box in another state, or it may even have such daunting instructions as “Do not dry clean. Do not wash.” Furthermore, the gown may have glued-on pearls, sequins and trims that pose special cleaning problems. Be sure to consult with the boutique manager or even make a quick call to your dry cleaner before you buy. You may not be concerned with long-term care issues right now, but rest assured, after the wedding you will be.
- Second-hand gowns: know their limitations. Older gowns may have unmovable stains and color inconsistencies, and certain restyling and repair options may be impossible. That said, here are some encouraging facts:
- If the gown has yellowed, it can generally be lightened by careful wet cleaning and possible bleaching. (Done by a professional, of course!)
- If the style needs a bit of “sprucing up,” a patient and experienced dressmaker or tailor can do wonders.
- If a bustle needs to be made, it can be done. If there is deterioration to lace or other areas, it can be replaced. If there are unsightly stains that cannot be removed by wet cleaning, consider applying lace or applique.
- Clean your gown after the wedding. You must have your gown cleaned right away if it is to be of use to anyone in the future. Just remember that dry cleaning is not a magic process and it may not be able to remove all stains. But it is usually effective on oils, makeup, lipstick, wax, some grass stains and light hem soil. If your dress has “invisible” spills from champagne or wine, they may show up later – try to recall their location so you can convey that information to your dry cleaner.
- Preserving your gown. After your gown has been cleaned and inspected, you should store it and any accessories in acid-free tissue inside an acid-free box. This is the best environment in which to preserve your gown! Poor storage, or none at all, will ruin it. Choose a dry cleaner that specializes in bridal cleaning and preservation. Finally, be sure you are told it’s okay to open the box every year to check out the gown—if you’re told that doing so will “void the warranty,” move on to another dry cleaner.
- Make all of these plans before the Big Day. After the wedding, you’ll be on your honeymoon and your mother will be too frazzled to take care of your gown. That’s why it’s best to designate a helper to bring your gown in for cleaning and preservation. Boorstein includes two forms – “Wedding Gown Inspection Sheet” and “Stain Diagram for Gown, Veil, and Headpiece” – for you to give to your helper before you leave town. (Be sure to buy her lunch when you return!)
“Choosing a wedding gown is one of the few once-in-a-lifetime decisions,” says Boorstein. “That’s why you should not only select it with care, but treat it with the utmost respect. Someday, you will be glad you did.”