How to look after your suit

There is an art to taking care of high quality clothes which unfortunatelly has  been somewhat lost over the years. Given the time and expense of having a high quality bespoke suit made it is worth following some basic rules which will ensure the long life of your cherished garments. 

 

There are two distinct area in suit-care, storage and cleaning. Cleaning can also be divided into different parts: after each wear, occasional pressing and full cleaning.

 

Cleaning

Daily/Full Cleaning

  • Resting: After each use your suit should be hung up, the trousers full length and the jacket on a good wide hanger to support the shoulders while cooling and drying. Wearing the same suit for than a day can cause damage to the fibres. The daily dirt can be removed from the fabric with a brush, but given the moisture that the suit absorbs during a days wear it needs some time to dry. One day should be enough, however, for a heavier fabric it is even better to give two days to rest. 

 

  • Brushing: Pockets, lapels and seams should be brushed frequently to remove dust and dirt. Using soft-bristled brush, a quick once over of your suit after each use will keep it looking new a lot longer. Not to mention the fact that brushing your suits frequently also makes them less attractive to moths. 

 

  • Stain removing: Stains should be blotted immediately not rubbed. If they do not come out with a little water get them to the cleaners as soon as possible.

 

Occasionally

  • Pressing: We all know that before a big event our suits sometimes need a little refreshing to remove even the slightest wrinkles, however, pressing your suit can be tricky, especially at home. Creased garments recover well in a humid environment. Hang them in a steamy bathroom or spray them lightly with water; this work very well with linens. Leave them to dry but not in direct sunlight as this can effect the colour. Heated trousers presses are a good option if available and if you need to smooth a jacket do it carefully with a press cloth to avoid shine. Once upon a time, in most hotels, you could ask for a sponge and press, refreshing and smoothing your suit without harsh chemicals; unfortunately this is no longer the norm. If you do decide to take your suit to a cleaner make sure that it is a recommended place, bad pressing can cause real damage to your suit. If your suit is just a little creased, but not dirty tell them you only want it pressed, not cleaned. If you are able, get your tailor to repress and block your suits once in a while.

 

Full Cleaning

  • Cleaning: How often you should get a suit completely cleaned depends on who you ask and how much you wear them. In my opinion airing out your suits and keeping your wardrobe clean and fresh is far better than over cleaning. Due to environmental concerns the chemicals used for cleaning today are very harsh and rip out the natural oils from the wool and canvases, shortening the life of garments. While it is a personal choice my tip is keep cleaning to a minimum.

Storage

Wardrobe cleaning

  • Hanging: To help maintain the shape of your suit hang your jacket on an appropriate hanger that supports the shoulders and always hang your trousers full length. Make sure you have the right size of the hanger; using thin hangers is detrimental to the shape of the garment. 

 

 

  • Storing: Store your suit in a breathable garment bag for protection. It is also important to provide enough space for your suits so they can hang freely. If they are too close to each other the air will not be able to circulate properly which can cause humidity and damage in the fibers. 

 

  • Moth protection: Use anti-moth protection. Either lavender or cedar work, but make sure to replace the lavender/cedar blocks regularly; twice a year with the season change. 

 

  • Wardrobe rotation: The old tradition of rotating from the summer to winter wardrobes has important lessons even today. It may seem a lot of work but well worth while when you consider the value of your clothes! Ideally you have one wardrobe in use with a second for storage. With the change of season the wardrobe ‘in use’ should be emptied, cleaned and the moth repellents changed. Then the new season things can then be brought down and put away. What you have taken out should be checked over for marks and any small damage. Once any cleaning and repairs are done your ‘off season’ clothes can be stored away. Suits should be in breathable bags. 

Extra tips

Unbutton your suit jacket before you sit down to avoid pulling.

Remove everything from your pockets before you put your suit in the wardrobe.

Try not to carry too much in your pockets. However amazing your tailor is heavy items do disturb the line and hang of any jacket.