Saturday, 17 January 2015

Storing Silk Scarves

Storing Silk Scarves

La Femme aux Semmelles du Vent Carre* 

Scarves were obviously made to be worn, but if you, like me, have quite a few (publishing no figures here LOL) where do you put the ones you only wear in Summer/Winter/Christmas/For best until their time comes around again? Or perhaps you are a collector of fine vintage designer silks, when condition is paramount rather than access. It would be lovely to have the resources of Catherine the Great and design something purpose built in collaboration with your finest cabinet maker to be housed in a vast annex the size of an average room at the Hermitage but alas we are not, so we can't. 

I'm not talking about the cold-weather muffler types here, as they are an altogether different category, the scarves I'm talking about here are the more delicate scarves that are given as gifts and collected as prize possessions. Today's good quality silk scarves are actually hardier than one might imagine. Whilst no one in their right mind would wear one in a torrential downpour without an umbrella, wear it to pig-out with over all-you-can-eat in 30 mins 'restaurant' or teaming it with a barbed-wire necklace they won't mind a gently handwash, few spots of rain or using as an impromptu belt or strap.  There are many blogs that show you DIY storage solutions or their own fabulous walk-in wardrobes, and we are all probably aware of all the contraptions sold as scarf storage. Let's go through the challenges and solutions of storing your silky accessories:

Different needs, challenges and solutions apply to all people, so I have just tried to look at the most popular possible solutions. Obviously, the endless various shapes, materials and sizes will present different challenges. 

> Most people leave them in the boxes they were first given in. That's fine if you never wear them. Just stick a label on the outside of the outside of the box or write directly on it what's inside so that if you have a few in the same sort of boxes you'll know which one's which.

< Storing in boxes for scarves in use is not ideal but many, including myself think it's better than losing them or storing in a place where something can get at a range en masse. Crossed-wires about the suitability of packaging for storing seems to have happened because of Internet auction sites, people assuming that since collectors want original packaging all manner of things should be stored that way. That is not the case. Hermes SAs do not recommend leaving scarves (or bags) in boxes, the boxes are just sold as part of the packaging. Scarves, like their bags should be hung. 

< Once you've worn a scarf you should let it air. Hang it over the back of a chair or on a rail from the diagonal or however best to let the creases fall out. This is much better for the scarf than constantly ironing (always a clean towel between the iron and scarf) or steaming.

> Folding up in a draw, probably the way the way they were displayed in the store. Again, fine for brand new (and I don't mean new-to-you here) and absolutely newly clean scarves. Make sure the draw is lined and checked for any snags (including all edges) before storing. 

> Folded in a shelved cabinet is a good idea especially if it has a glass front. 

< Folding is also a highly contentious issue. Many collectors only accept puffy hemlines and original folds. That is a hangover from only accepting mint condition scarves that have never been worn. Actually, the silk will weaken and sometimes permanently discolour in the folds. If you have to fold, either do it loosely or take new/clean acid-free tissue paper, lay flat on top and fold the 2 sheets within the scarf. Even better roll the scarves with tissue paper in-between. 

> Poles/barres are an easy DIY solution and you will see your scarves better than in a draw but it means that your scarf will always have knot marks somewhere before you wear. Much easier for the larger or long scarf shapes as if you have to tie a knot at all it can be much looser. 

> 'Pegs' or pincer systems should be scrutinised for any rough edges and the closure mechanism should not be too strong or it will mark the scarf. Never pull the scarf from these, even in a tearing hurry (pun intended) open the peg and let the scarf fall out.

> Scarf hangers with holes are a great solution for scarves used in heavy rotation. Make sure the holes are absolutely smooth on the inside as well as the rest of the hanger, this especially applies to the wooden ones. The ones covered in velour or velvet are soft and the scarf has less chance of slipping. Again, don't tug or pull a scarf too quickly if in a hurry in cases the scarf finds a snag before you do and don't over fill these hangers or the scarves will look a mess . 

> Scarf hangers with bars are the original scarf hangers, again look for any possible rough edges and perhaps look for the ones that have thick rolls over a bar as they are easier, metal only bars will not hold your silk carres well, you will be forever picking them up off the floor. Another possible issue, is unless you only have 1 scarf per bar, you may not be able to see all the scarves.

< Any scarf hangers should have plenty of room around and not stuffed in a wardrobe, better to hang on the back of a door although some people find that too messy looking.

> Hooks and knobs will not work for silk scarves unless you hang them by the care tag and most of us would not want to do that. Even hooks with rounded or ball ends are not advised. 


Any other posh scarf storage solution/challenge please let me know 

I suppose my next post should be on how to store/what to do with a lot of empty scarf boxes :-D

*This is a picture taken by me of my scarf and bangle. If you see this picture advertising this scarf either item for sale anywhere else, with or without the watermark, it won't be me, this scarf, and most likely nothing like the scarf you will receive (KWIM?). 


8 comments:

  1. Even though I have no scarf collection to speak of, love love all your storage tips. I may start an h collection any day now, who knows...��

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    1. I am soooo pleased to read that Lady Sarah. I'm sure some of the vintage (and possibly some of the newer designed) scarves would compliment your enviable style, and your beautiful (and growing) Hermes collection.

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  2. I only started buying H scarves last year and have a small number (less than 5) at the moment. Currently they're stored back into the box after I air them out. I'd be interested to see how you store your collection!

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    1. Having a small number can be a bonus because you will use each of them a good deal and they should be easier to manage regards storing and cleaning.

      I store my scarves in 2 different ways ATM:
      The ones that are clean (new or just back from the cleaners) are in their boxes The boxes are marked with their design name and colour so I don't have to go through every box to find which I'm looking for.
      The ones in heavy rotation are threaded through a velvet-covered scarf hangers after having been put over the back a chair to make the creases fall back out (too much ironing is not great for silk). In turn, I hang this on the back of my bedroom door, though it may look 'messy' to some, it's great for quick selection and quick access.

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  3. Storing scarves and bags in their Hermes boxes is not recommended by Hermes. Some of the boxes start to break (one box developed mould within months) down, and cardboard will absorb moisture.

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    1. That's quite right. Some parts of the World are more prone to this than others. I would recommend people check on their scarves very regularly if they store them this way.

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  4. Hi Dr.NN
    Tell Jyyanks on the Hermes fur thread , her coat is rabbit fur.

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    1. Quite right Hermesmerized. I thought it may be coney too and said as much at one point, but the more I looked I wondered if it could also be dyed grey squirrel or brown ermine (which as you know were popular in years gone by). Check the narrowness of the whole pelts and the amount used they seem to be smaller and much narrower than rabbit. Check again and tell me what you think.

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