Whether you own several suits or just one or two, it's important that you take good care of your investment. A well-tailored suit won't go out of style for a while, so you should follow some simple rules to ensure that they last.
Most suits are made from a variety of fabrics and stitching. But even the highest quality suit that is custom made requires daily maintenance in order to keep its integrity.
Below are 10 tips for caring for your tailored suit so that it will last several years.
1. Don't Dry Clean Unless Necessary
Avoid taking your suits to the dry cleaner until absolutely necessary. The machines used by dry cleaners can distort your suit, and the harsh chemicals that are used wear out the natural fibers in the fabric.
Wait to take your suit to the dry cleaner until it's dirty, and certainly not after just one or two wearings. One way to know if a suit needs to be professionally cleaned is simply by smelling it. If there's an odor, get it cleaned. If not, wait.
If you must dry clean, make sure you take it to a reputable cleaner. Check Yelp reviews, for instance.
On that note, when you dry clean, always dry clean both the jacket and pants at the same time. Otherwise, you may end up with one or the other fading more quickly. One rule is to get your suits dry cleaned approximately every six months, give or take.
2. Never Iron
An iron, even at the lowest setting will burn the fibers. Ironing will also add an unsightly sheen.
3. Steam Out Wrinkles and Spot Clean
In between dry cleaning, steam out wrinkles.
Most light wrinkles can be removed by hanging your tailored suit jacket on a wooden hanger and hang the pants on a skirt hanger upside down. Then bring it with you into the bathroom when you take a hot shower.
Or, invest in a steamer. A steamer will not only remove wrinkles and creases but may also remove light stains too.
Another option is to take it to the cleaners and ask them to press it but not clean it. The place you purchased your suit from may offer this service as well as many tailors.
4. Spot Clean Right Away
If you notice small stains or marks, spot clean with water and a soft towel. Don't rub too harshly, or you might fray the fabric.
It is also not a bad idea to invest in a clothes brush.
If you get caught in the rain, be sure to brush off the water instead of pressing it into your suit. Water will cause your tailored suit to wear more quickly.
5. Try Not to Use the Pockets
The external front pockets of your suit jacket should only be used for light items, like a handkerchief. They are not designed to bear weight, and heavy items will cause the front pockets to lose their shape.
If you never remove the stitching in your suits external pockets, you'll never be tempted to use them to hold items or put your hands in them. Keeping the stitching will help maintain your suits shape.
Try not to use the internal pockets either, or at least don't place your wallet or keys in them. The weight can cause the lining to split or wear out. Also, it can make your suit look bulky.
6. Rotate Your Suits
You really shouldn't wear a suit two days in a row. Even three times in a week is too much.
If you have a job that requires wearing a suit every day, then you should probably have at least three tailored suits, five is ideal. Rotate through your suits evenly and they will all last longer.
7. Always Hang Your Suits
You come home from a long day, and it's tempting to just through your suit over a chair and deal with it later. You won't regret taking the extra couple minutes to hang it up properly. It can make a world of difference and save you time and money in the long run.
Throwing your suit on a chair, or even the floor or bed and leaving it there can cause your tailored suit to lose its shape and wrinkle.
When you do hang it up, make sure you use a good sturdy wooden hanger. This will help keep the shoulder shape. Plastic hangers can sag and cause the shoulders to become misshapen.
The best way to hang suit pants is by using the Savile row fold so they don't fall off the hanger.
Also, make sure there's space between suits and that they're not pressed up against each other or other items in your closet. The fabric of your suit needs to breathe and dry from any moisture collected from wear.
8. Wear Both the Pants and Jacket Together
Never wear the jacket or suit separately. It can be tempting to wear the jacket as a blazer with jeans. Or if it's warm out, you may think about going without the jacket. This can be a big mistake.
If you wear one more often than the other, you run the risk of wearing one out faster. Eventually, the difference will be noticeable when you wear them together.
9. Remove Your Suit from the Garment Bag
You might think that you're preserving your tailored suit by keeping it in the garment bag you brought it home in, but just the opposite is true. The fabric needs to be allowed to breathe. If you keep it in the bag, over time the fibers will break down.
However, when traveling, it's a good idea to put your suit in a bag. This will help prevent wrinkling. And, sometimes things get joggled or spill. It would be terrible if you opened up your suitcase on a trip to find shampoo all over the one suit you brought with you.
10. Wear Your Suit Properly
If you gain or lose more than 10 pounds, you should take your suit into a tailor to be adjusted. A suit that doesn't fit properly, not only doesn't look well, it'll wear unevenly.
If you have wide thighs, you can get special cotton inserts or a crotch lining put in to prevent the inseam from wearing.
If your suit has a vest, the bottom button should never be buttoned. Also, when you sit down, you should open all of the buttons of the suit jacket.
Tailored Suits Should Last
If you follow the above 10 steps, your suits will last at least two or three years longer than they would have otherwise.
Of course, fashion and preferences do change. So don't be afraid to mix up your wardrobe a bit by adding in a new and trendy suit.
For more great tips on men's fashion, check out our blog.