Suit Care 101 – Ten Essentials:
1. Dry clean twice a year – once per season. Never any more.
2. Spot clean to deal with daily stains. Take a wet towel and dab at the stain to pull it out of the cloth. No wiping, no rubbing – only dabbing. Avoid soaps and chemicals as they can change the color of the cloth – a problem that is usually more unsightly than the original stain itself.
3. Softly brush the suit before and after each use. Head to your local cobbler and grab a basic horsehair shoe brush. Go over every part of the suit – should take no more than two-three minutes. What you’re doing is brushing away dust and dirt fragments as well as opening up the wool itself to allow it to breath. With wool being a natural fiber that breath-ability allows the not so pleasant odors to escape and the cloth to physically perk up and look better.
4. Let it breath – after a days use and the brushing process is complete leave the suit in an open space to let fresh air circulate through it. The more time we give it the more the odors will disperse. Conversely if we jam it in the closet the exact opposite will occur.
5. Proper hangers. The key is to get yourself hangers with at least 2-2½” of width at the end – this is crucial as it helps supports the shoulder area when it’s not in use. Do not keep it on a skinny plastic hanger as the shoulder will quickly loose its shape and it is very difficult to get that shape back. For the pants – it’s best to hang them upside down from the bottoms. The waistband and upper portion of the pant is heavier hence the creases that formed in the day will naturally fall out of the cloth when left upside down. An easy solution – get to Ikea as they offer serious value at 99 cents per hanger.
6. Never steam a suit – not even quickly by hanging it on the bathroom door while you shower. Never – period. To create the shape of the suit we use both steam and heat to shrink the cloth in some areas while stretching it in others. Miss-used steam destroys that work and again it’s hard to get the shape back.
7. Rest – at a minimum you need to give at least a full days rest between uses. Ultimately you have a few suits in the rotation so you’re able to wear each suit once a week. If it has to be twice then sticking to these directions is critical in order to maintain and ultimately increase the life span of your suit.
8. Common sense. This is dress clothing and you always need to think about that fact. If you need do a deep knee bend – first slightly pull the fabric up at the knees to reduce strain on the seams above. When reaching upwards to grab something off a shelf – first unbutton the jacket to again reduce strain on the seams. When sending your suit for cleaning or pressing – put it in the suit bag to transport it rather than roll it in a ball and throwing it in a laundry bag. Suits are expensive pieces of clothing and need to be treated as such at every stage to increase their lifespan.
9. Send it for a pressing. After doing all of the above there will still come a time when the suit begins to look a touch sloppy. That is when you take it to a trusted dry cleaner and get the suit lightly pressed. Repeat – lightly pressed not dry cleaned. When dropping it off you need to stress it’s to be a light pressing – especially on the lapels. A light pressing will give life to the cloth and make you appear a bit more crisp and sharp. Over pressing will simply beat the life out of the cloth and make it shiny. Roughly every 8-10 weeks will do.
10. Be aware. As you’re brushing take stock of how the garment is wearing. Are there any pulls in the cloth? Are any of the seams showing signs of strain? It’s a lot easier to manage little problems in wear and tear as opposed to dealing with full on rips and blowouts.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions – take care.