Steeped in tradition and enveloped in mythology, men’s suits can be a mystery to the uninitiated. What’s more, a lot of nonsense and marketing spin is thrown around about suits online. Unfortunately, this can make it hard to find good practical suit advice. Even about quite simple and mundane matters; such as how to take care of your suit once you’ve bought it.
Just how often should you wear your suit? What’s the right way to store it? And what to do if a serious mishap occurs?
Whether you’ve gone for something off the rack, or invested in a fine made to measure suit from a professional tailor, you can bet that a lot of time and hard work went into making your suit. And that’s without considering all the money you will have spent on it. That being the case, you’ll want to look after your suit well, so as to get your full money’s worth.
Want to know how to take care of your suit so that it lasts as long as possible? Check out these essential suit care tips, and look forward to many years of stylish service from your suit.
How to Take Look After a Suit: The Suit Care Checklist
Don’t: Overfill Your Pockets
Although few items of clothing will make a man look as sharp and modern as a well-cut suit, many of the details that make up the contemporary suit find their origins way back in the depths of history. And in a few cases their purpose has shifted over time; usually from a practical one to that of pure decoration.
Take the pockets on the jacket, for example. Men once did hard physical labor in suit jackets, so exterior pockets were essential and the wearer would have made good use of them. Today though, pockets are there more out of tradition than anything else.
Sure, you can certainly make use of the pockets on your jacket if you need to. But if you want to take good care of your suit so that it keeps its original form, we recommend putting as little in the pockets as possible. At least the exterior ones.
You should particularly avoid sharp objects such as bunches of keys, heavy items such as phones, and bulky stuff like fat wallets, as these will risk stretching the pockets out of shape. Stick to using the internal pockets and your suit will stay in good form for many years to come.
Do: Remove Your Jacket When Seated
Sitting isn’t great for suit jackets as it tends to stretch them out of shape. What’s more, if you’ll be working all day at a desk, the repeated rubbing of elbows and sleeves will eventually take their toll on a fine woolen suit. In practice, this means you may end up with shiny patches in these areas, or worse still, eventually wear out the fabric altogether.
It’s particularly important you take your jacket off when getting into a car, as sitting will tend to crease the rear vents out of shape. Meanwhile, as you turn the steering wheel, a lot of strain will be put on the sleeves and armholes.
Don’t: Hang Your Jacket on the Back of a Chair
Having said this, while it can be tempting to take your jacket off and put it over the back of the chair – chairs kind of have “shoulders” after all – this is actually a really bad idea. Unlike your actual shoulders, which are relatively soft and rounded, the back of a chair will be hard, angular, and – on closer inspection – not really shaped like shoulders at all. Eventually, the sharp corners of the chair back will conspire with the weight of your jacket to stretch the shoulders out of shape; perhaps even leaving permanent “lumps” in the fabric. Not a good look.
Those who know how to take care of a suit will simply lay their jacket flat on the back seat when driving. Or, better still, keep a hanger in the car especially for this purpose (but see below).
Don’t: Wear the Same Suit Two Days in a Row
Just like you and I, a suit needs to rest, too. The general rule is not to wear the same suit more than twice a week, and never two days in a row; give it a break between outings. This will ensure that the fabric has time to breathe and regain its original shape before you wear it again.
Don’t: Put Your Suit Straight Back in the Closet
Once you’re done wearing your suit, don’t immediately return it to your closet, but instead leave it out to air for 24-48 hours before storing. This will help to ensure that any moisture that may have accumulated in the suit while you were wearing it has time to evaporate. Wool and moisture are not a good mix, and by putting a suit directly back into your closet without giving it the opportunity to dry out, you might risk ending up with mildew.
It’s always good to give your suit a quick brushing down with a suit brush before storing it too. This is an essential part of knowing how to care for a suit as it will help to remove dust, dirt, and other particles that might attract moths.
Do: Use a Suit Hanger
Just as putting your jacket on the back of a chair will risk stretching it out of shape, the wrong kind of hanger can also have a disastrous effect on a suit. Above all, avoid thin hangers – particularly of the wire variety – and instead hang your suit on a purpose-made suit hanger. These are extra wide and curved at the extremities, so they effectively mimic the shape of your shoulders. Not only wi