Edward Pritchard is Manager of designer menswear retailer Pritchards. He shares his expertise on how to keep your suit in great condition for longer.
A sharp, well-tailored suit is likely to be one of the most expensive pieces in your wardrobe, so you’ll want to do everything you possibly can to extend its lifespan. To help you get the most out of your pride and joy, I’ve compiled this guide to caring for your suits, including advice on brushing, hanging and washing your jackets and trousers. Just read on to learn the essential rules that every man should swear by.
Brush them after wear
Unless you’ve stained your jacket at dinner, or it’s starting to smell a little off, there’s no need to wash your suit after every wear. In fact, taking them to the cleaners too often will actually damage the fabric, putting unnecessary strain on the fibres and seams and shortening the lifespan of your suit. Instead, all you need to do to keep your suit looking sharp is give it a quick brush down with a suit brush and lint roller, and then hang it up in the wardrobe to air out.
A quality soft bristle brush will effectively remove any dust and dirt from the fibres, and a lint roller will remove any hairs and prevent the fabric from bobbling. To make sure you’re picking up all the dust and dirt, simply run the brush over your jacket in long gentle strokes, and make sure you brush in the same direction as the wool fibre.
You’ll want to visit the dry cleaners only when it’s absolutely necessary, so sticking to a regime of brushing your suit down will see you through the time between visits.
Rotate them if worn regularly
If you need to wear a suit each day for work, then you should have a collection that you can rotate though. This way, you can wear each suit once or twice a week, and then leave it to hang, which will allow the fabric to air and the creases to drop out naturally. If you have seven or eight suits, then you can probably get away with visiting the dry cleaners just once or twice a month, rather than every week — saving you a great deal of time and money in the long term.
Hang them correctly
Your suit will probably spend more time hanging up in the wardrobe than it will on your shoulders, so you’ll need to pay special attention to the kind of hanger that you use.
Thin wire hangers might be cheap, but they will let the shoulders of your jackets slump, and they’ll put creases in your trousers, so avoid these like the plague. Instead, opt for a thick wooden hanger that imitates the natural slope of the shoulder: the wood will help to absorb moisture, and the thicker shape will give your garment room to breathe. The Hanger Store offers a wide range of wooden hangers, available in a selection of different widths, so you can find a shape which offers the right support for your jacket.
Use a steam cleaner to iron out creases
Suits become crumpled with wear, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, creases will form as they hang in the wardrobe, too. But ironing your suit using a conventional iron can burn the fibres, giving your suits an unpleasant, plasticky sheen.
If you’re a suit aficionado, then I’d certainly advise that you invest in a handheld steamer. This will gently remove any creases and give your suits that freshly dry-cleaned appearance. If you’re travelling without your steamer, you can still de-crease your suit by hanging it in the bathroom while running a hot shower: the steam will open up the fibres, removing creases and freshening up the fabric.
Every man should know how to care for a suit. The correct maintenance routine will mean your suits look better during wear, and they’ll last much longer, too.