How to care for a linen suit - The Inside Pocket

Look after it and it’ll return the favour.

HOW TO CARE FOR A LINEN SUIT

LOOK AFTER IT AND IT’LL RETURN THE FAVOUR
• WORDS: A. FOZZARD

A linen suit will see you through all those summer events. Breathable, lightweight and moisture-wicking, linen naturally keeps you cool, even when the temperature hits 30’C. And despite its airiness, it’s also really durable as it’s made from strong flax fibres that can handle washing and ironing.

It makes a good-looking suit too, which explains why tailors have been cutting suits from linen for centuries. The question is, what’s the best way to go about caring for a linen suit? Here, we put some qualms to rest.

IS IT BETTER TO WASH OR DRY CLEAN LINEN?

Dry cleaning a linen suit is usually better than using a washing machine because it uses a solvent rather than lots of water. This gentler process helps the weave to maintain its structure and protects your suit.

But when it comes to linen shirts, there’s no reason why you can’t wash them in the machine at home. Make sure you set the temperature to the one specified on the label and use a gentle detergent.

CAN LINEN GO IN THE DRYER?

Linen can be susceptible to shrinking in high heat, so avoid putting items made from it in the dryer. Instead, hang them on the line or an airer to let nature do its job. As a naturally moisture-wicking fabric, linen shouldn’t take too long to dry.

HOW MUCH WILL LINEN SHRINK?

As long as your linen suit hasn’t been through an intensive drying process, it shouldn’t shrink much at all – especially if you’ve taken it to a dry cleaner with a good track record. You might find that it feels a bit tighter when you first put it on, but it should loosen within half an hour or so.

HOW DO YOU KEEP LINEN SUITS FROM WRINKLING?

The only downside to linen its tendency to wrinkle. You can help it to stay looking sharp by giving it a good iron. Don’t be afraid to turn the heat up and go over it a few times to make sure all the creases are out. Once it’s ironed, keep it hung in a dry place so it’s ready for when you come to wear it.

A few creases give a linen suit the relaxed look associated with much-admired Italian style, but it’s not for everyone. If you prefer a smoother finish, you can go for one made from a blended fabric. The proportion of linen will boost its breathability, while the other threads should help it sidestep some of the wrinkles.

CAN YOU GET STAINS OUT OF LINEN?

Linen is absorbent so it does stain easily but most marks can be removed. If you do get a stain, dab it straight away with a slightly damp cloth to prevent it from setting deep into the fabric. After the event, make it your priority to take your suit to the dry cleaners to finish off the job.

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