So, after much deliberation, you’ve spent a not unsubstantial sum on a new suit, had it altered to ensure a perfect fit and have been rewarded with a handsomely-fitting two- (or three-) piece suit that will take you anywhere.
All that remains is the small matter of caring for your suit — and that extends to more than merely hanging it up after each wear – it’s something that many men overlook; but is hugely important in ensuring that it, not just looks its very best, but continues to do so for years to come.
What’s involved? Thankfully, suit care is simple once you have the know-how.
“But I look after my suit – I have it dry-cleaned regularly.” It’s something that we often hear, but, paradoxically, dry cleaning is something that should be a last-resort, if you’re intent on prolonging the life of your suit.
The chemical process involved in dry cleaning is actually harder on buttons than it is on fabric, but, even so, it should only be dry-cleaned when absolutely necessary.
If the suit is just wrinkled, rather than soiled, a good steaming/pressing (see below) will rectify that. But, trust us, keep dry-cleaning to an absolute minimum — once a season is plenty — if you’re serious about suit care.
PRESS TO IMPRESS
Fact: your suit looks best when it is pressed. It might be a wallet-friendly option, but steer clear of using an iron – it will only burn the suit fibres and add an unsightly sheen to the fabric.
Instead, invest in a steamer (less expensive than you might think, honestly), which, when used regularly, will prove a smart investment over time. Alternatively, have it pressed professionally at the dry-cleaners. But, as mentioned above, hold off on actual dry-cleaning.
It’s not just tidier, but it’s also smarter. Yes, hanging your suit will help it maintain its form and, in the process, look its very best.
But not all hangers are created equally – avoid the flimsy metal ones and opt for classy wooden alternatives with rounded edges and a wide-spread contoured shape. Not only will they look the part in your wardrobe but, crucially, they’ll help your suit maintain pristine form.
Left to hang for a couple of days, a suit will naturally return to its original drape (how the fabric falls against the body), especially around the shoulders. Handily, it will also allow moisture (yes, that’s perspiration) to evaporate, too.
SWAP IT UP
Here’s the bad news: if you’re wearing the same suit every workday, you’re jeopardising its longevity. Even wearing the same suit on consecutive days should be avoided, if possible. Why? The suit’s natural wool will need time to rest and recover, which can happen once they are rotated throughout the week.
The bad news? You’re going to need at least three suits for the working week. The good news? You’ll always look sharp.
A suit brush is a wallet-friendly bit of kit whose usefulness belies its size and price. Pick one up and use it after each wear, giving your suit a quick brush to remove everything from dust to loose hairs and fluff.
How? Simply hang up your suit jacket (on your wooden hanger, naturally) and, starting at the shoulders, brush in a slow, downwards motion.
If you’ve invested in a razor-sharp suit, surely it deserves proper storage, rather than cram it into a packed wardrobe. Granted, not everyone can afford a walk-in wardrobe with acres of hanging space, but give your suit the breathing space it needs –and deserves.
ON THE GO
Unless you’re the proud owner of a suitcase that it specifically made to store a suit, you’ll need to up your packing game to prolong your suit’s life (and looks).
A simple yet effective trick is to turn the suit inside out, put the shoulders together, and roll it up. Take care to ensure the seams and lapels are lined up as you fold, then do an easy loose roll from the bottom up. Result!
And that, gentlemen, is how to look after your suit. Sure, it’s more time-consuming than simply hanging it on the back of the kitchen chair after a long day. But proper suit care will pay dividends, prolonging the look and longevity of your investment. Now, where’s that wooden hanger….?