If you’ve worked hard to develop a wardrobe to be proud of, the last thing you want is for the luxury items you’ve amassed to meet a preventable fate. Smushed into a closet shelf, gathering dust, cluttered in heaps, and dangling from errant hooks, your most precious possessions will very quickly degrade in quality. When you drop a lot of money on a stylish piece, you must be prepared for its care, maintenance, and upkeep as well.
One of the most important factors to consider when storing precious items is the environment. Clothes, shoes, handbags, and jewelry do not like natural light – which can discolor them over time – but prefer cool, dark, dry places. Your closet is likely already built to accommodate these conditions, but just in case it isn’t, you might want to move your beloved pieces to a safer, more comfortable spot. Each luxury purchase has a different need, so we’ve addressed them all separately, below, along with embedded shopping suggestions that will take you to the optimal tool for organizing, protecting, and showcasing your precious items.
Treat every item of clothing likes it’s couture, and you’ll guarantee its longevity. Experts warn against leaving clothing in plastic dry-cleaning bags, which can trap gases and discolor your garments. Instead, use only breathable, muslin garment bags for storing your most precious clothing items like designer pieces, cocktail dresses, and ballgowns. Oh, and just like Joan Crawford once warned, never use wire hangers as they can distort the shape of your clothes.
If you’re going to hang them up, use cushy cloth or wooden hangers instead. If you’re going to fold and store the items – which you should if they are knit, fur, beaded, or lace – be sure to separate each layer with a sheet of acid-free tissue paper. Finally, keep pesky bugs at bay by foregoing musky mothballs and opting instead for fresh lavender- and cedar-scented sachets.
Exposure to sunlight and everyday dust can do long-term damage to your shoe collection, making them appear dull, dirty, and weathered. Instead of a wire rack or over-the-door shoe hanger, the optimal way to store your fanciest footwear is in opaque boxes, preferably labeled with a Polaroid picture of the contents affixed to the front so that you can easily find what you need. If your closet doesn’t have any windows allowing in natural light, you can safely opt for clear plastic bins instead.
We love these chic boxes from The Container Store.
Fine jewelry is likely one of the most precious items you own, which means it needs extra TLC. First, all fine-jewelry pieces should be stored separately in their own space, not jumbled or clustered together (which can lead to scratches and damage). While your costume jewelry can be store in plastic bins, fine jewelry prefers to nestle in soft surroundings, like velvet or cloth. It is also important that your jewelry’s environment is temperature-controlled, which means a cool, dark space – like a drawer or cabinet – is optimal.
Finally, keeping track of your fine jewelry is important, so we recommend storing it all together in one simple jewelry tower so that you always know where it is, like this customizable version from Pottery Barn. Be sure to take inventory of your fine jewelry, photograph it, and keep the receipts, just in case any insurance claims need to be made.
Your favorite bags from brands like Zara can be hung on hooks or stacked on shelves in your closet, but your high-end fare will need a lot more looking after, especially because luxury brands like Chanel and Hermès will appreciate in value over time. Every time you buy an expensive handbag, it comes with a dust bag for a reason: it protects the bag’s hardware and leather from everyday wear.
One luxury-handbag storage solution is to put each in its own dust bag, and stash them on your closet shelves. However, if you are into the idea of displaying your beloved bags and your wardrobe is both temperature- and light-controlled, you could just as easily place them in roomy plastic boxes instead. One rule of thumb: never hang your expensive handbags by the handle as it will only increase strain on the handle over time, especially if the bag is heavy, like the Hermès ‘Birkin’.