Most men have at least one suit, and most men don’t know how to properly care for their classy, versatile ensemble. To start though, a quick word of endorsement about suits, one should be an essential part of your manly wardrobe. Every man will eventually need one, for many various occasions such as weddings, job interviews, board meetings at your self-built multinational corporation, or just a nice, fancy date. Thus, all men should invest in one. And if possible, they should buy one as nice as they can afford and then treat it with proper care, and their investment will never let them down. A nicely tailored, well-kept suit is a sign of a confident and successful man. Now that you want a nice suit, here’s how to treat it right…
How to Care for Your Suit
The first step to always take after a long successful day of wearing your suit is to get home and immediately throw it in the washer. There’s nothing the delicate fabric of your pinstriped garment craves more than a good soak and tumble. Also, if you are even considering what you just read as good advice, you have a long way to go in your suit care knowledge. Just to be clear, never wash your suit in the washer or put it in the dryer. Ever.
The real first step to take when done with your suit for the day is to hang it back up on its nice wooden hanger and give it a day or so to dry and air out. This is very important. The fabric needs time to breathe and it will dry on its own after not very long. You should try not to wear your suit on consecutive days if possible, and no more than two days in a row. The hanger is also important. The shape should be thick and flared at the ends to try and help maintain the shape of the shoulders and the suit in general. It should also be wooden if possible because wood absorbs moisture from the suit better than other materials. Never use a wire hanger for your suits.
Another tip to keep your suit fresh and almost new is a nice cloth suit bag to store your suit. A cloth bag is much better and more breathable than the plastic one that comes with your suit and should be used if possible, especially for a nicer suit. You should also hang your suit with some space around it to allow it to breathe and stay odorless.
A suit brush is a great way to keep the fibers in your suit clean. There are specific suit brushes that are just a small investment to keep your bigger investment in ship-shape. Brushing your suit after every outing is the best way to keep the integrity of the fibers, and those are the sleek and sexy lifeblood of your suit. You start brushing from the shoulders and brush down towards the bottom. Always brush top to bottom along with the fibers to avoid any stretching or fraying, and brush gently. You can always brush before wearing your suit too because the fibers tend to accumulate dust and various unsightly particles. Just remember to brush gently and from top to bottom.
If you are a true suit aficionado, you can invest in a clothing steamer. A steamer is better than ironing because the temperature is lower and thus it is a more delicate method to remove wrinkles and odors from your precious suit. They are not cheap, but are a great way to extend the life of your suits at home, as long as it is used in moderation.
Dry Cleaning Your Suit
Speaking of moderation, sending your suit away to the dry cleaners should be done with caution and only in dire need. The dry-cleaning process is not very delicate due to the chemicals involved, and doing this to your suit over and over again causes it to wear down quicker than it should. And even when you do you should just ask for a spot cleaning for problem areas.
Some suit purists only ever send their suits to the dry cleaners once or twice a year. That’s probably because they use the tips and techniques presented in this article to care for their suit themselves (wink wink). Basically, you should only ever send your suit to the cleaners when there is a troubling stain or an odor that won’t go away after a little airing out. The rest of the cleaning is up to you. And obviously, the more often you wear your suit, the more often it will need to be dry cleaned, so some personal judgement based on use is required by you to determine the frequency of dry cleaning.
When it is time to send your suit away, picking a good cleaner should be done based on reputation and cleaning policies or hidden fees that may pop up, such as custom garment fees or lost items. The best cleaners do their dry cleaning in house and thus have more involvement and eyes on your suit. Good cleaners also recognize loose buttons or problem areas on your suit and are able to answer any questions you have about the process.
Dry cleaning can cost anywhere from $7-15 per garment for a solid cleaner, and it usually takes 2-3 days to turn around a suit unless it’s a rush order. So plan on that time for your suit to be cleaned properly. Just always remember to not dry clean too often or your suit with wither away along with your hopes and dreams.
Cleaning Pants and Ties
Your suit pants are every bit as important as your jacket, and should be treated with the same care. Give them time to air out after you wear them and give them room when you store them. You can also use the brush to keep the fibers fresh. And a great and necessary tip is to always send them to the cleaners at the same time you send your jacket. That way the matching fibers wear and fade at the same rate as your jacket, keeping your look neat and tidy.
If you find your pants wearing down faster than your jacket due to manly-man sweat or stretching you can have a tailor reinforce critical fibers on the inseam of the pants. This is a great trick to extend the life of your pants. A tailor can also do this for a jacket and a good one will know which areas need help.
Cleaning your ties should not be required very often, but it is important to know how when it’s necessary. For minor stains, you can try various water or soda water methods sprinkled throughout the internet. For a more serious cleaning, the right cleaner is paramount. They can be the difference in restoring or ruining your tie. Generally, a good dry cleaner for your suit will know how to clean a tie but that isn’t always the case, so do your research. Also, be sure to store your ties on a nice tie rack so they hang properly and keep their shape and punch better.
Storing and Packing Your Suit
Storing and Hanging
We’ve already discussed how to hang and store your suit, but here’s a quick recap. First, use a nice wooden hanger with flared edges to keep the shape of your suit. Second, keep it covered with a breathable cloth bag and give it some space in the closet.
Travelling with a Suit
If you are planning on travelling with a suit or suits on a semi-regular basis, a garment bag is an excellent investment to keep your suits in great shape. It can also be used for other clothing like shirts or pants. You want to pick one that is light and breathable and secures your clothing well. When storing your suit in a garment bag, you can keep the suit within the cloth bag and hang it as is within the garment bag, zip it up, and fold and clip the garment bag and you are good to go. You can also keep the cloth bag at home if you don’t have room.
If a garment bag isn’t an option, there are ways of folding your suit to keep it in its best shape. You can simply keep it in your suit bag and fold that in half and put in your suitcase, if your suitcase is big enough to handle that. There are many other mystical folding methods to fit a suit in a more cramped suitcase, but we will not get into each of those here, today. Most of them involve folding the arms back so the suit lapel stays as unfolded as possible. You can find a tutorial somewhere online, I believe in you. Just be sure to handle your suit with care, otherwise what is the purpose of all these words you just read?
A suit is an investment, or at least it should be treated as such. A good suit, properly cared for, will provide a man several years of use and confidence. You can never look bad in a good suit. Remember that. And to keep your suit a good suit, the most important thing to do is give it some time and air. Hang your suit up after using it, try not to use it on consecutive days, and don’t take it to the dry cleaners unless there is a stain or troubling odor. In between those cleaning sessions, use a suit brush to keep the fibers fresh, a steamer for wrinkles if you wish, and a nice wooden hanger and cloth bag for when the suit goes in the closet. If you take away one thing from this article, just remember that real men have a delicate side, with their suits. Now go tend to those fibers!