You’ve invested in a great 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.
Even better – looking after your suit means it’ll last longer (good for the planet) and means fewer trips to the dry cleaner (good for the planet and good for your wallet). 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 if you air it between uses and get rid of splashes or dirt quickly.
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 downward 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 crisp 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 gets the most wear and that need most regular washing, so doubling up lessens the impact on each. Feel free to mix it up and wear your extra pair with another jacket or a knitted jumper to get even more mileage out of them.