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Dance Costume Spring Cleaning

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 13:04 PM

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We all do it! We buy new clothes and then we just keep accumulating. We hate to throw things out, so our closet becomes overcrowded, making it difficult to see what we actually have. The outfits that we don’t wear become harder to find and, in turn, don’t stand a chance to ever be worn again.

What we should do when clothing begins to pile up, is what all experts suggest: if we haven’t worn something in the past year, we most likely will never wear it again and should purge it from our closets. The same holds true for dance costumes.  If you haven’t worn a particular costume in the past year, it’s time to send it packing.

The beginning of a new season is the perfect time to sort through all of your clothes and rid yourself of the items you know you won’t be wearing again.  As we head toward the summer months, why not take this time to look at your old costumes and decide which you want to keep and which you would like to get rid of?

First, you’ll want to determine the reason you haven’t worn your costume:

  1. If it is because it needs repair, then fix it.
  2. If you aren’t wearing the costume because it smells bad – use Fresh Again® and deodorize it.
  3. If your costume is too small or too large:
    1. Get it altered to fit
    2. Give it to someone who will fit
    3. Sell it to someone who will fit
  4. If you simply don’t like a particular costume anymore:
    1. Determine why you don’t like it. If you feel it really doesn’t flatter you – give it away or sell it.
    2. If you think you would like it with some style alterations (adding trim or changing parts of the costume) then arrange to do this.

Sometimes you may truly love a costume but, because of any of the above reasons, you just can’t wear it anymore.  If you have the additional space, you could simply archive it in your costume closet. If you don’t, then, as the popular songs says…”let it go, let it go!”

I know I am guilty of not letting go of some of our historic costumes here at Satin Stitches (and also my personal clothing), but I try to remember that if you have documentation of a particular costume in the form of fabulous photographs, I CAN live with my memories! The trick is that these photographs need to be easily accessible. Unfortunately, in an era where we have no real, tangible photo albums, the digital photographs have the potential to be lost forever with just one quick click. They can also get buried in our never ending digital filing system, which can be quite similar to losing it forever.

But, if both the costumes and the photographs are lost, will the images in your memory suffice? Not necessarily. Ever since my college days, when I was first advised to document my work with photographs, I have stood by this advice. Although I probably have far too many photographs of our Satin Stitches’ costumes, there are still occasions when we did not get a photograph of a particular costume for various reasons, and I’ve found that I often forget those costumes. I am currently scanning and digitizing our old costume photo albums, saving for ‘posterity’!

So, if you are wrestling with having limited space to save your beloved dance costumes, if you have fabulous photographs of those costumes, and especially photos of yourself competing in those costumes, this is a much more space-efficient way to save your memories.  Instead of adding a closet to your house or carving out a storage facility in your apartment, you can take out your photos and reminisce!

If you do really need the comfort of having satin, feathers and rhinestones at your fingertips, perhaps you can limit yourself to a specific number of your favorite costumes. Then, when you want to add a new one to your collection, you can just decide which older costume you would like to give away. And, just remember, you will still have your photographs!

This article was submitted in the April 2019 issue of Minnesota Dancer

© Deborah J. Nelson/Satin Stitches Ltd.

costume fresh ebook

Tags: Custom Performance Costumes, Minnesota Dancer Magazine

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