You’ve invested in a sharp suit and now you want to reap the rewards by getting loads of wear out of it.
You’ll wear it to interviews, important meetings at work, a good few weddings and other big family occasions. But you also want your suit to look brand new each time you put it on. With a bit of TLC, that shouldn’t be too difficult.
This is how you properly care for a wool suit.
Chemicals can wreak havoc on delicate fibres over time, so avoid booking your suit in for a dry clean too often. One to three times a year (if you’ve worn it a number of times) should be enough. Either wait until there’s a stain or it’s not smelling particularly fresh.
However careful you are to avoid spilling wine down yourself, the same can’t be said for other guests at events. If you get a stain on your suit and it isn’t due a dry clean, try dabbing it out with some warm water on a soft cloth with no detergent or chemicals. Avoid rubbing it, just dab it, and if it doesn’t come out then speak to the dry cleaners.
You don’t need to take your suit to the dry cleaners if it’s looking a bit crumpled. Instead, use a steamer to gently ease creases out yourself. If you regularly wear a suit, buying a steamer is well worth the investment. Make sure you avoid ironing your suit (even on a very low temperature) because the heat can burn the fibres and the pressure can upset the structure of the weave.
Even if you’re not a seasoned suit wearer, a clothes brush is a must. Look for ones made from animal hair because these will be the gentlest against any natural fibres in your suit, like wool. After you take off your suit, brush gently in downwards strokes to get rid of any dust and dirt before these particles settle into the material.
There’s a science to hanging suits correctly. It should be on a large wooden hanger with curved ends to fill the shoulders – the wood naturally absorbs moisture from your suit and the shoulder support helps keep its shape. It’s worth taking a spare hanger to work if you tend to take off your jacket in the office.
Hanging your suit in a clothes bag will help prevent any pesky insects, like moths, getting to it. Cedar blocks will also naturally deter them. Just avoid using a bag made of plastic (even if that’s what it came in) and instead choose a cloth one that will allow some air to flow through to keep it smelling fresh. Before you put it in the bag, it’s worth hanging it outside for a couple of hours after you’ve worn it to get rid of any surface scents. And make sure you don’t overload your closet so there’s some breathing space between suits.
Suit pockets (especially inside ones) aren’t really made for smartphones and wallets – they can handle the odd bank card at best. Try to avoid putting too much in them, as this can distress the seams of the jacket. Plus, overloaded pockets will ruin a sharp outline.
If you wear a suit a lot, spare trousers can help you get more wear out of each one. Let’s face it, your trousers are the part of your suit that get the most wear and which need most regular washing. Depending on the style of the suit, you might be able to mix and match with a patterned jacket and plain trousers.
When you have to travel with your suit, you can avoid creases with some clever folding. Hold your jacket so the back is facing you, then gently turn the left shoulder inside out. Tuck the right shoulder into it (this will make the jacket fold in half with the lining on show). Roll the jacket around a couple of other items in your bag (such as some t-shirts or a jumper), then fold your trousers in half along the central crease and roll around your jacket. When you get your suit out of the bag, hang it up straight away (on the right hanger, of course).