Cleaning, storage, and consideration
Our simple suit care guidelines
Whether you wear one to work every day, or only bring it out for weddings and funerals, a suit should make you look polished and put together. It should fit you perfectly and hang beautifully. It should look crisp and fresh – not creased and misshapen.
Part of this comes from investing in a great suit in the first place, so it can last a lifetime. If you choose a suit that is well designed, properly constructed, and made of high-quality materials, it should help you look the part for years to come.
But choosing the right suit is not the only factor. Taking care of your investment is also essential. You can keep your suit in peak condition by storing it properly, cleaning it sparingly, and being mindful of how you wear it.
Read on for our top five suit-care rules:
1. Buy two pairs of trousers
Always buy a second pair of trousers when you purchase a suit, as they will generally wear out more quickly than the jacket. Trousers are made of the same fabric as the jacket, but are subjected to more movement, more contact with surfaces, and are often worn without the jacket for at least part of each day.
Buying a second pair of trousers when you buy the suit ensures that you will always have a pair to match your jacket. Make sure that you rotate the pairs as well – if you simply put the second pair away for later use, the suit jacket may fade, which could lead to the two pieces being subtly mismatched.
2. Clean sparingly
Dry cleaning is the only way to clean a suit – but it should be done only when absolutely necessary. Every dry clean adds wear and tear, and may even fade the colour of your suit slightly. When you do take your suit in for dry cleaning, always take the jacket and trousers at the same time, to make sure that any fading is uniform.
Between dry cleans, take care of your suit by airing it on a hanger at the end of each day, before you return it to your wardrobe. This will help release trapped odours and keep the fabric fresh. Use a soft suit brush or lint roller to keep the material smooth and free of debris. Deal to any stains by spot cleaning with a damp cloth and gentle laundry liquid.
3. Store properly
If the shoulders of your suit jacket are not cared for properly, they can become lumpy and misshapen, making you look unkempt rather than polished.
Always hang your suit jacket on a hanger with wide, rounded shoulders to help it retain its shape – using a thin metal or plastic hanger could damage or distort the fabric. Trousers should be folded in half and hung over a separate hanger. When you travel, carry your suit on the hanger in a suit carrier to protect it from damage.
4. Protect your pockets
Carrying small items in your trouser or jacket pockets may be convenient, but it is not good for your suit. The weight of small items such as your cell phone, wallet or keys drags down on the fabric, leading to damage and loss of shape. It can also make you look less polished – full pockets will disrupt the lines of your suit and make you look bulkier.
Consider investing in a satchel or briefcase to carry the things you need, or minimise weight and bulk by using a money clip and carrying only essential keys.
5. Wear appropriately
A suit is an investment, which means it is worthy of consideration and care.
It is not necessary to forego all physical activity while wearing a suit, but it is a good idea to be mindful of your movements. For example, take your jacket off if you need to lift furniture or carry heavy boxes, to avoid creasing. Step into cars carefully to stop trouser seams from splitting. Keep your hands out of your pockets as much as possible to prevent the fabric stretching. Lay a napkin on your lap at mealtimes to avoid staining your trousers.