April 16, 2018
How to Care for Your Suit
We often get asked about the best way to care for your suit after you’ve bought it.
Here are a few helpful tips.
Avoiding the Cleaners
You know not to throw your suit into the washer but there’s nothing that will beat up your suit jacket and accelerate its wearing out than frequently taking it to the dry cleaners. While a trip to the cleaners every once in a while is inevitable, do so only when visible dirt or odor has built up and spot clean the dirty areas rather than have them clean the entire suit jacket. Dry cleaning will expose your suit to harsh chemicals that will eventually take its toll on the fabric. Some cleaners will also not exercise sufficient care during the process and may damage the internal canvassing (this is not a problem for jackets which do not contain canvassing). It’s best to steer clear and only clean your suit jacket when needed. Instead care for your suit by steaming it and consistently hang it on a suit hanger, with some room between it and the next item in your closet, so it can properly air out in between wears.
Steaming, NOT Ironing
Using a garment steamer on your suit is one of the best ways to not only free your suit of wrinkles but also deodorize it. Steaming is a more delicate method of rejuvenating the fibers of your suit that will help prolong its life. A good steamer is a small price to pay to keep your suits in tip-top shape in the long run. Avoid steaming the chest area. This area doesn’t get wrinkled much and steaming it may alter the relative shape of the internal canvas. More importantly, AVOID use of a regular iron to press your suits, as prolonged and direct contact of an iron at a high temperature setting may damage the fabric and cause a “shine”. If you must iron, use a press cloth as a barrier to protect the wool.
Always hang your suit up in a well spaced area when you’re not wearing it. Skinny hangers such as wire hangers will leave hanger divots in the shoulders. Always use a proper hanger with a wide-spread contoured shape to preserve the shape and drape of the suit. The hanger should be wide enough to touch the edge of the shoulders and wide enough to fill up a portion of the shoulders.
Brushing and Rolling
Dust, loose hair and dandruff can accumulate in your hair over time. You keep it clean and neat with shampoo and brushing. Your suits deserve the same care. Wool is a natural fiber that can hold dust, dirt and lint from the environment which if left untouched, can cause damage to the fabric over time. A suit brush costs less than $20 and giving your suit a brush after each wear along with the occasional application of a lint roller (as needed) will significantly extend its life. Just hang up your jacket and brush downwards (never perpendicular to the fibers) gently and slowly. Start at the shoulders and work your way down.
A garment bag is your suits’ favorite companion when traveling. Use one that is not only easy to carry, but will adequately protect your suit. Use garment bags that are breathable and light to keep your suit cool during transit. Plastic garment bags will not breath, so cloth bags are best.
Give Your Suit a Break
While we all may have been in situations where we need to wear suit two days in a row, try not to wear the same suit every day to avoid deterioration. The natural wool fibers of your suit need time to rest and recover, so make sure you rotate your suits evenly throughout the week. Just like you, your favorite tailored suit deserves a break from the limelight for some occasional R&R.
See Carter, Dress Smarter