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HomeJacketChoosing the Best Hangers for Designer Dresses

Choosing the Best Hangers for Designer Dresses

“No wire hangers ever!” Faye Dunaway as Mommy Dearest (1981), was passionate and a bit crazy, but she had a point. Wire hangers are the enemy of fine clothing, and of designer dresses in particular. Along with how you clean your clothes, how you store them is of utmost importance, and can ultimately affect the appearance and durability of your clothing.

Hanger History

President Thomas Jefferson has been credited with inventing the forerunner to the modern-day hanger. He devised a method of hanging his clothing using dowels, over which he draped coats and trousers. Believed to be one of the first closet organizers, this clothes rack could well have been an inspiration for men’s pant hangers.

The inspiration for the modern-day hanger (with its signature shoulder-like design) was a clothes hook, patented in 1869 by O.A. North of New Britain, Connecticut. By 1900, the benefits of hanging dresses, men’s suits and other clothing (women’s bustles, slips, etc.) was recognized. Albert J. Parkhouse, an employee of Timberlake Wire and Novelty Co. in Jackson, Michigan, is credited with the invention of the first coat hanger. Parkhouse had arrived at work one morning in 1903, and all the coat hooks were claimed. He grabbed a piece of wire and fashioned the first true coat hanger.

Parkhouse’s boss, John B. Timberlake, applied for and received the patent on the invention. As the owner of the company, it was customary for Timberlake to claim ownership of his employees’ inventions. As such, Timberlake realized a fortune from “his” invention; Parkhouse never earned a penny.

As early as 1906, Meyer May, a men’s clothier in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was displaying his designs on a wishbone-inspired hanger. It was nearly 30 years before the original design was improved by Schuyler C. Hulett. Hulett added cardboard tubes to the wire hanger to minimize wrinkles. In 1935, the cardboard tube on the bottom wire, still in use today, was patented by Elmer D. Rogers. While there have been a number of improvements and embellishments through the years, the shape of hangers has changed little since Parkhouse bent that piece of wire to hang his coat.

Best Hangers for Designer Dresses

Today there are so many choices of hangers! How to choose the best one for your designer dresses? The primary concern is the fabric.

> For fabrics that tend to slip (silks, satins, etc.), your best choice is a fabric covered hanger. You may opt for either a padded hanger with fabric covering or a wooden hanger that is coated with a flannel-like flocking that is designed to prevent splintering.

> The safest choice for hanging designer dresses made of heavy fabrics, like wool, is a sturdy wooden hanger.

> When hanging knitted designs, it is best to use a fabric-covered, padded hanger to prevent shoulder dents from standard hangers.

> Strapless designer dresses-or ones with spaghetti straps-should be hung on a hanger designed specifically for this type of garment. Some hangers have little hooks on either shoulder to receive the straps or the hanger loops of a strapless design.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the best hanger for your designer dresses, ask the sales clerk. Or just take note of the hangers used to display the dresses in the shop. By all means, when you pick your dress up at the cleaners, transfer to an appropriate hanger as soon as possible!

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