Owning a suit is much more than a fashion statement, it’s a commitment. It’s an investment into a world of elegance and professionalism that calls for careful attention and maintenance.
Remember the old pair of jogging pants that you casually toss onto the floor after a run? Your suit is not that. Tossing suit trousers on the floor could quickly tarnish their integrity. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here’s a comprehensive guide on suit care to keep your precious investment as immaculate as the day you got it.
Here are 11 suit care tips to consider:
1. Handle with Care: Suit Jacket Protocol for Travel
The longevity of your suit significantly depends on how you handle it, especially during travel. The critical first step is to take your suit jacket off before getting into your car. This simple habit goes a long way in maintaining the pristine condition of your suit.
Driving with your suit jacket on can be restrictive and uncomfortable. By taking it off, you increase your comfort level which, in turn, could make your drive safer and more enjoyable.
1.2 Wrinkle Reduction
Sitting in a car while wearing your suit jacket subjects the fabric to unnecessary pressure and creases. By removing your jacket, you prevent the formation of stubborn wrinkles, thus maintaining its crisp and polished appearance.
1.3 Prolong Suit Life
Taking your suit jacket off while driving reduces the amount of time you have it on each day, which can help extend the lifespan of your suit. Less wear time means less chance for accidental spills, snags, or other potential damage.
1.4 Carrying Options
Some people prefer to bring a hanger in their vehicle so they can hang up their jacket while driving. This is an excellent practice as it allows the jacket to maintain its shape and reduce creasing. However, hanging your suit jacket in your car might block some visibility and can be a safety concern.
If you’re someone who values safety over the absolute preservation of your suit, a nice compromise might be to carefully lay your jacket on the back bench of your car. While this method might not be as effective at preventing wrinkles as hanging would be, it’s a sensible compromise. The reasoning is simple: A wrinkle-free suit won’t be of any benefit if it contributes to an accident due to obstructed visibility.
Ultimately, the key is to find a balance that suits your personal comfort, safety, and suit maintenance needs. And always remember, a well-taken-care-of suit is a reflection of a person who values quality and attention to detail.
2. Rotation is Key: The Essential Art of Not Over-Wearing Your Suit
One of the fundamental rules of suit care, often overlooked, is to refrain from wearing the same suit two days in a row. This might seem a bit daunting, particularly if you’re in a profession that requires you to don a suit daily, but understanding why can reveal how beneficial this habit can be for your prized attire.
2.1 The 24-Hour Rule
Suits are made of delicate fibers that need time to rest and recover after each use. When you wear a suit, the fabric stretches to accommodate your movements. By giving your suit at least a 24-hour break, you allow the fibers time to relax and return to their original shape, thereby reducing the risk of permanent deformation or stretching.
2.2 The Gold Standard: 48 Hours
While a 24-hour break can work wonders, extending that rest period to 48 hours is even more beneficial. This extended time allows for more thorough airing out, helping to keep your suit fresh and ready for its next outing. Natural fibers used in high-quality suits can effectively absorb and then slowly release moisture and odors during this period.
2.3 Suit Rotation Strategy
If your work or lifestyle demands that you wear a suit daily, it is wise to build your wardrobe strategically. Start with a minimum of three suits, allowing you to rotate them effectively. This not only prevents overuse of any single suit but also adds variety to your outfits, helping you to make an impressive style statement every day.
2.4 Benefits Beyond Maintenance
Rotation is not just good for the suits; it’s also good for your personal brand. Wearing different suits lets you express different aspects of your personality, and it shows that you put thought into your appearance. It can also be fun to mix and match different suits with different shirts, ties, and shoes, thereby expanding your style horizon.
In the end, giving your suit the break it deserves can extend its life significantly, keep it looking fresh and crisp, and elevate your personal style. Remember, your suit is an investment – treat it with the respect it deserves.
3. Less is More: The Gentle Approach to Suit Cleaning
A common misconception in suit care is that frequent dry cleaning helps keep your suit in pristine condition. While it might seem counterintuitive, the reality is that the less often you dry clean a suit, the longer it will last.
3.1 The Dark Side of Dry Cleaning
Dry cleaning, though essential in certain cases, can be harsh on the delicate fibers of your suit. The chemical solvents used in dry cleaning processes can degrade the fabric over time, making it lose its crispness and reducing its overall durability.
3.2 The Impact on Durability
Repeated dry cleaning can cause the fabric to become thinner, faded, and less resilient. Even the linings and the interfacings of your suit, which help to maintain its shape, can suffer from the harsh chemicals, leading to a lackluster appearance and diminished lifespan.
3.3 Opting for Suit Rotation
To limit the number of visits to the dry cleaner, it’s advantageous to have a rotation of suits. Wearing different suits across different days not only gives you variety but also allows for natural airing out of the suit, thereby helping to keep it fresh. Natural fibers used in suits can effectively absorb and then slowly release body moisture and odors, given ample rest time between wearings.
3.4 Spot Cleaning and Steaming
For minor spills or stains, consider spot cleaning instead of a full dry clean. Using a gentle fabric cleaner and a soft cloth can often do the trick. Furthermore, using a garment steamer can help to maintain the sharp look of your suit, remove wrinkles, and neutralize odors, allowing you to extend the time between dry cleaning sessions.
3.5 Know When to Clean
That said, there will be times when dry cleaning is necessary. If your suit has stubborn stains, a strong odor, or it’s simply been a long time since its last cleaning, a professional dry clean might be in order. A good rule of thumb is to dry clean your suit only a few times a year or at the beginning or end of a season.
In essence, the key to a long-lasting, sharp-looking suit isn’t constant chemical cleaning but mindful maintenance and gentle care. The suit is an extension of your personality; treat it with care, and it will serve you well.
4. Steam It Up: The Benefits of Investing in a Steam Cleaner
One of the most effective weapons in your arsenal against frequent dry cleaning visits is a garment steamer. This versatile tool has multiple benefits, and it’s not only helpful in maintaining the appearance of your suit but can also be a sound investment that saves you money and time in the long run.
4.1 The Magic of Steam Cleaning
A garment steamer works by heating water until it becomes steam and then directing that steam onto your clothes. The heat helps to relax the fibers in your clothes, eliminating wrinkles and giving your suit that fresh, just-pressed look. But the benefits of steam cleaning go beyond just getting rid of wrinkles.
4.2 Odor Neutralization
Steam not only smooths out your suit but also neutralizes odors. The heat from the steam kills most bacteria, the common culprits behind unpleasant odors. So, if your suit is starting to have a slight odor from a long day at work or a night out, a quick go-over with a steamer can freshen it up without the need for a trip to the dry cleaners.
4.3 Saving Time and Money
Although a good quality garment steamer may seem like an investment, it will pay for itself over time. Think about it – the costs of frequent dry cleaning visits add up quickly. With a garment steamer, you can maintain your suit’s appearance and freshness at home, saving both money and time.
4.4 User-Friendly and Portable
Most garment steamers are quite user-friendly, even for those who aren’t naturally handy. They’re also often compact and portable, making them an excellent tool for travel. Nothing beats being able to freshen up your suit in your hotel room before a big meeting or event.
4.5 Extending Suit Life
By minimizing the number of times you dry clean your suit and instead using a steamer for maintenance, you extend the life of your suit. The gentle process of steam cleaning doesn’t subject your suit to harsh chemicals or rough handling, preserving the fabric’s integrity.
In essence, a garment steamer is an invaluable tool for anyone looking to keep their suits in top-notch condition. It offers an easy and effective way to keep your suits looking sharp, smelling fresh, and lasting longer.
5. Keep it Pristine: The Unassuming Power of a Lint Roller
In the realm of suit care, a lint roller is a surprisingly simple yet effective tool. Its purpose might seem modest, but the difference it can make to the appearance of your suit is substantial. Especially if you have pets, a lint roller is an indispensable ally in maintaining your suit’s pristine look.
5.1 The Value of a Lint Roller
A lint roller, which typically consists of a handle and a roll of sticky paper, is designed to pick up small particles of dust, hair, and lint that stick to your clothing. These particles can dull the look of your suit and make it appear less clean and sharp than it actually is. A quick once-over with a lint roller can instantly refresh your suit and enhance its overall appearance.
5.2 The Pet Owner’s Best Friend
If you have pets, you’re probably no stranger to finding pet hair on your clothes. Pets can shed hair that has a knack for sticking to fabric, and your suit is no exception. Even if you try to keep your pets away from your suits, hair can still find its way onto your clothes. This is where a lint roller can save the day, quickly and efficiently removing pet hair from your suit.
5.3 Quick and Convenient
Lint rollers are compact and portable, which makes them a convenient tool to have on hand. You can use it as a quick fix before heading out for work or an event or keep it in your office drawer or car for emergency touch-ups.
5.4 Extending Your Suit’s Life
Beyond enhancing your suit’s appearance, using a lint roller can also contribute to extending the lifespan of your suit. By removing particles that can embed and scratch the fabric over time, you’re preserving the integrity of your suit’s material.
5.5 The Green Alternative
For those environmentally conscious, there are also reusable lint rollers on the market. They work as efficiently as the traditional ones but can be cleaned and reused multiple times, reducing waste.
In conclusion, the humble lint roller is a tool that any suit owner should have in their care kit. It’s simple, effective, and can have a significant impact on maintaining your suit’s polished appearance.
6. Stay Sharp: The Necessity of a Suit Brush
A suit brush is another underappreciated yet indispensable tool in a suit owner’s arsenal. While a lint roller does an excellent job of picking up loose particles, there are certain types of dirt and debris that need the firmer touch of a suit brush.
6.1 What Makes a Suit Brush Essential?
A suit brush is designed to remove dirt, dust, and lint that has become embedded in your suit’s fabric. Its bristles penetrate deeper into the material than a lint roller can, helping to remove particles that have been ground in. Moreover, brushing your suit can help preserve its fabric, enhancing its longevity and appearance.
6.2 When to Use a Suit Brush
While a lint roller can tackle surface debris, you’ll want to reach for a suit brush if your suit has been exposed to more significant dirt or dust. For example, if you’ve been in a dusty environment or if something has spilled on your suit, a suit brush can be more effective in removing the offending particles.
6.3 The Technique of Brushing
Using a suit brush involves a particular technique. Always brush gently and in the direction of the fabric’s grain to avoid damaging the fibers. Regular, gentle brushing can help maintain the suit’s smooth finish and prolong its life.
6.4 Choosing the Right Brush
Choose a brush with natural bristles, as synthetic bristles can be too harsh on the delicate fabric of your suit. Brushes made from horsehair are particularly popular for their combination of gentleness and effectiveness.
6.5 Preserving Your Investment
Using a suit brush regularly can help maintain your suit’s luxurious appearance. It removes particles that can scratch and dull the fabric and encourages the fibers to stay in their proper alignment, ensuring your suit always looks its best.
In conclusion, a suit brush, while perhaps seeming a bit old-fashioned in this era of modern conveniences, is still an incredibly useful tool. When used in conjunction with a lint roller, it can help ensure that your suit stays in top-notch condition for years to come.
7. Maintain the Shape: Treat Your Suit Pockets With Care
One of the most common yet overlooked ways to misshape a suit jacket is to overfill the pockets. The pockets of your suit jacket were not designed to hold heavy items such as large phones, bulky wallets, or stacks of business cards. Overburdening these pockets can quickly lead to the jacket losing its original structure and elegance.
7.1 Understanding Pocket Etiquette
Suit jacket pockets are primarily a design feature and, while functional, they are not intended for heavy or excessive storage. These pockets maintain the streamline look of the suit, and overstuffing them disrupts the jacket’s form, leading to an unflattering appearance and potentially causing irreversible damage.
7.2 The Consequences of Overloading Pockets
When you overload your pockets with heavy items, the fabric is strained, leading to potential stretching and warping. The weight pulls on the material, causing it to sag and lose its shape. In extreme cases, seams can even rip, requiring expensive or sometimes impossible repairs.
7.3 What To Carry in Your Suit Pockets
Ideally, your suit pockets should contain only light, flat items. Business cards, a slim wallet, or a handkerchief are acceptable. For items like your mobile phone or keys, consider carrying a briefcase or using the pockets of your pants, but bear in mind to not overload those either.
7.4 Managing Essential Items
In today’s digital world, it can be difficult to get by without a smartphone close at hand. If you must carry your phone in your suit jacket, consider choosing a suit with an inner pocket specifically designed for this purpose. These pockets are often located closer to the jacket’s center and are designed to distribute the weight more evenly to minimize distortion.
7.5 Your Suit is Not a Utility Belt
The key takeaway is to remember that your suit is a symbol of sophistication and elegance, not a utility belt. It’s crucial to strike a balance between functionality and maintaining the integrity of your suit.
In conclusion, while your suit jacket pockets may seem like a convenient place to stash your belongings, it’s important to respect their limitations. By doing so, you’ll help ensure that your suit maintains its shape and continues to look sharp and stylish for many years to come.
8. Stay True to Fit: The Importance of Suit Alterations
In the world of men’s fashion, a well-fitted suit is a symbol of sophistication, professionalism, and style. As such, it is crucial to keep your suit in line with your body’s changes. Gaining or losing weight doesn’t mean you have to invest in a new suit; it just means it might be time for some alterations.
8.1 How Body Changes Affect Your Suit
It’s a natural part of life for our bodies to change over time, whether it’s gaining a little weight, losing some, or building muscle at the gym. When these changes occur, they can affect the fit of your suit, leading to a less flattering silhouette. Your suit may become uncomfortably tight or look baggy and oversized, neither of which present the best image.
8.2 The Impact of Incorrect Fit
Wearing a suit that doesn’t fit right does more than just affect your appearance. Over time, wearing a suit that’s too small can cause the fabric to stretch and warp, leading to a permanently misshapen garment. On the other hand, if your suit is too large, it can look sloppy and unprofessional, detracting from the authoritative image a well-fitted suit should project.
8.3 The Role of a Tailor
When your body undergoes changes, it’s essential to take your suit to a professional tailor. They can make the necessary alterations to ensure your suit continues to fit perfectly. This can include taking in or letting out the waist of your trousers, adjusting the jacket’s fit, or altering the length of your sleeves.
8.4 Preservation through Alterations
Remember, a quality suit is an investment. It’s often less costly to alter an existing suit than to buy a new one. By taking your suit to a tailor when your body size changes, you’re not just ensuring a better fit, you’re also preserving your investment and extending the life of your suit.
8.5 The Benefits of a Well-Fitted Suit
Ultimately, a well-fitted suit communicates attention to detail, respect for the occasion, and self-confidence. It feels comfortable, allows for ease of movement, and enhances your natural shape.
In conclusion, life can lead to changes in our bodies, and that’s perfectly fine. Rather than squeezing into a suit that no longer fits or swimming in one that’s too big, seek out the services of a professional tailor. They can make the necessary adjustments to ensure your suit always looks as good as the day you bought it.
9. On The Move: The Importance of Proper Suit Storage During Travel
Traveling with a suit can be a tricky business. Whether you’re going on a business trip or attending a wedding out of town, you’ll want to keep your suit wrinkle-free and in top shape. This is where garment bags come into play. However, using a garment bag correctly involves more than simply stowing your suit inside.
9.1 The Role of Garment Bags in Suit Care
A quality garment bag is specifically designed to protect suits and other delicate garments during transit. It shields your suit from dust, moisture, and accidental spills, and most importantly, it helps prevent unwanted wrinkles and creases.
9.2 Optimal Use of Garment Bags
When packing your suit, first ensure it is clean and completely dry to avoid any potential mildew. Fold or roll your suit carefully, using tissue paper or plastic to prevent hard creases. Once securely placed inside, don’t overpack the garment bag. Overstuffing can cause pressure that leads to wrinkles, defeating the purpose of the bag.
9.3 Freeing Your Suit Post-Travel
While a garment bag provides protection during your journey, it’s crucial to remove your suit as soon as you arrive at your destination. Like most materials, suit fabric needs to breathe. Extended periods in a confined space can cause a buildup of moisture, leading to potential fabric damage or odor.
9.4 Proper Suit Unpacking
Upon arrival, carefully unpack your suit and hang it up immediately. Use a quality hanger to maintain the shape of your suit and ensure it’s hanging in an open, well-ventilated area. This allows any wrinkles from travel to relax and helps any trapped moisture to evaporate.
9.5 Steam for Quick Refresh
If there are still some minor wrinkles after hanging, consider using a portable garment steamer. Steamers are an excellent tool for smoothing out creases without applying direct heat to the fabric. Remember to keep the steamer at a safe distance to avoid water spots.
In summary, a garment bag is an invaluable companion when traveling with a suit. However, it’s just as important to let your suit breathe once you’ve reached your destination. By using a garment bag properly and taking steps to refresh your suit upon arrival, you can ensure you’re looking your best, wherever your travels may take you.
10. Hanger Habit: The Essential Role of Proper Hanging in Suit Care
Hanging your suit might seem like a no-brainer, but doing it correctly is an often-overlooked aspect of suit care. How and where you hang your suit can significantly affect its longevity and appearance. Let’s delve into the importance of hanging your suit right and the best practices for doing so.
10.1 Immediate Hanging
Whenever you remove your suit, hang it up immediately. Leaving a suit crumpled or thrown aside can lead to stubborn wrinkles and distort the suit’s shape. Hanging your suit helps the fabric recover from wearing and prevents creasing.
10.2 The Right Hanger
Not all hangers are created equal, especially when it comes to suits. Avoid wire or thin plastic hangers as they can cause the suit to lose its form over time. Instead, opt for a sturdy, wide-shouldered wooden hanger.
A wooden hanger has the strength to support a suit’s weight, preventing the suit from sagging. Its broad shoulders also provide support that mirrors your body’s shape, maintaining the suit’s structure and preventing any stretch or deformation.
10.3 Proper Hanging Technique
When hanging your suit, ensure the ends of the hanger align with the ends of your suit’s shoulders. This allows the hanger to support the suit properly, maintaining the jacket’s shoulder shape and drape.
For the trousers, use a hanger with a trouser bar. Drape the trousers over the bar along the creases. This helps maintain the trousers’ front creases and prevents any unwanted ones.
10.4 Ventilation and Spacing
Ensure your suit has enough space to breathe in the wardrobe. Overcrowding can cause unwanted wrinkles and hinder airflow, which is essential for the suit fabric to freshen up and dry out any perspiration.
10.5 Periodic Rest
Another aspect to keep in mind is giving your suit a rest. If you wear suits frequently, it’s good practice to rotate them. This gives each suit time to recover its shape and extend its lifespan.
In conclusion, hanging your suit promptly and correctly is not just about organization. It’s an easy but critical step towards preserving your suit’s shape, preventing wrinkles, and extending its life. Always remember, the proper care of your suit begins the moment you take it off.
11. Moth Watch: How to Protect Your Suit from These Pesky Intruders
Moths are one of the biggest threats to the longevity and quality of your suit. Moth larvae feed on natural fibers, such as wool, which is a common material for suits. This can lead to unsightly holes and damage that often requires professional repair or even replacement of the suit. But fear not, there are several effective ways to keep these pests at bay.
11.1 Keeping Your Suit Clean
Moths are particularly attracted to dirty fabrics. The presence of food stains, body oils, or sweat can draw them to your suit. Hence, regular cleaning of your suit is essential. Keep in mind, this does not necessarily mean frequent dry-cleaning, as that can damage the suit over time. Instead, consider spot-cleaning visible stains, airing your suit out after each use, and dry-cleaning only when necessary.
11.2 Cedar Hangers and Closets
Cedarwood is a well-known moth deterrent. The natural oils in cedarwood repel moths and other insects, making it an excellent material for hangers and closets. However, the scent of cedarwood fades over time, reducing its effectiveness. To maintain the moth-repelling qualities of your cedar hangers or closets, lightly sand the wood once a year to release fresh oils.
11.3 Mothballs and Alternatives
While mothballs can be effective at killing moths, their strong, often unpleasant scent and potential toxicity make them less desirable. As an alternative, consider using natural repellents like lavender, clove, or rosemary sachets. These not only ward off moths but also leave your wardrobe with a pleasant aroma.
11.4 Regular Wardrobe Maintenance
Periodically clean and vacuum your closet to get rid of any hidden larvae or eggs. If you find evidence of moths, such as seeing the moths themselves or noticing their larvae or web-like cocoons, take action immediately. This can involve deep-cleaning your wardrobe and getting all garments professionally cleaned.
11.5 Storage Precautions
For long-term storage, consider using sealable garment bags. Once the suit is clean, store it in the bag with a sachet of your chosen moth repellent. Seal the bag to prevent moths from reaching your suit.
In conclusion, a moth infestation can wreak havoc on your valuable suits. But with regular cleaning, suitable storage, and the use of natural repellents, you can safeguard your investment from these damaging pests. Remember, moth prevention is far easier, and more cost-effective, than dealing with an infestation.
While You’re Here – Caring for Everything Else
Shirt Care – Wash and iron your shirts yourself or get them cleaned and pressed. Never use starch on your shirts. Starch will quickly degrade your shirts and according to some sources, may even be bad for your health.
Ties and Belts – Ties and belts should always be hung up. This helps them keep their shape and allows them to air out. You can buy inexpensive tie racks that fit in your closet like a hanger.
I own two hanging tie racks. One goes on one side of the closet while the other goes on the opposite side. One starts off full and the other empty. Each time I come home wearing a tie I put it on the opposite side I took it from. Once I’ve used every tie on one side, I start over again.
What can I say, I’m forgetful and this helps me avoid accidentally wearing the same tie over and over again each week.
Shoe Care – Your shoes should never be worn two days in a row. Shoes need to breathe and dry out even more than a suit does. Rotate at least two pairs of shoes and make sure you keep them shined.