A well-made suit can be handed down to your grandkids, if you care for it properly.
Remember that suits are a delicate article of clothing. Especially so when you invest in a custom suit, where much of your jacket is stitched by hand, and the soft, lightweight wools and interlining canvas in the chest piece can easily wear out if you’re not cautious.
Here are five ways to dramatically increase the lifespan of your suit. If you have something you would add to this list, leave it in the comments below!
#1: USE THICK HANGERS & ALWAYS HANG YOUR JACKET BETWEEN USE
Please don’t use the wire hanger your dry cleaner gives you when they’re done with it. Instead, opt for thick wooden hangers, for two reasons:
- A wooden hanger pulls any moisture that naturally built up in the canvas and interlining of your suit during wear. As you sweat, nearly unnoticeable amounts of moisture get caught in your suit jacket, which wear down the fine fabrics inside your suit.
- Your shoulder pads need the love of a large hanger. It retains their shape and won’t permanently indent them the way a wire hanger will.
#2: STORE YOUR SUIT IN A GARMENT BAG
Have you ever taken your wool sweater out of storage at summer’s end, only to find small holes all over it? Moths. And as Arianne Cohen reports from the New York Times, there are some great precautions to take. Read the article here. It may save you several hundred dollars some day.
#3: DRY CLEAN SPARINGLY
It’s an unfortunate common misconception. Somehow there are a set of men out there who believe dry cleaning is actually *good* for your suit. Let’s stop right there.
Dry cleaning is a high-heat, intensively “chemical” process that wears down the natural pill and hand of your fabric. Picture this: your suit is torn off a hanger quickly, thrown into a large washing drum that shoots chemicals into your jacket, and is then aggressively air-dried before being patted down with a heavy iron or pressing machine. This. Hurts. Your. Suit.
Aim to dry clean your suit once per year. Only when it stinks, is our word of advice. Some tailors measure the expected lifespan of their suits in number of dry cleans it can withstand before it starts to fall apart. Now stop over dry cleaning your suits.
Extra Credit: Avoid the cheap dry cleaners and opt out of starch every time. Just get your suit “pressed” if you just want it freshened up. It will save you money anyway.
#4: TAKE YOUR JACKET OFF IN THE CAR
Unless you’re President Obama, take your suit off in the car. And anytime you sit, for that matter. Every time you sit down with your jacket on, you create creases in the vents and you stretch your armholes and back seams ever so slightly.
As a one-off occasion, it’s a small detail that simply wrinkles your suit. If it’s a lifetime habit, say goodbye to 10 years of your suit. Thanks Obama.
#5: BRUSH IT EVERY FEW MONTHS
Lest we forget, your suit fabric comes straight from these handsome devils. Your suit’s wool fabric will have natural oils that keep the cloth soft to the touch, well-protected, and give it that beautiful sheen you only get through all-wool fabrics.
As you wear the suit, these oils get pushed down into the fabric, which will become more and more matted with time and may start to pill. The only way to avoid this is through a suit brush.
Invest in a good suit brush and thank us later. Here’s one we use — made in England and just $20 bucks.