The perfect suit deserves to be kept at its best and, if you take the time to look after it
properly, it’ll look after you too.
Whether you wear it to work or you’re saving it for special occasions, knowing how to look after your suit and recognising when it’s time to take it to the cleaners can keep your suit at its smartest for years to come.
Unfortunately, there’s no right answer for when exactly a suit should or shouldn’t be dry cleaned, but it’s a sad fact that the majority of suits are dry cleaned way too often. While it undoubtedly leaves your suit clean, the solvents used in dry cleaning permanently affect the tensile strength of the fibres in your suit, making them brittle and reducing its usable lifespan.
Our advice is to see dry cleaning as a last resort, rather than an easy option. Do your best to regularly brush, air out and spot clean your suit and, when this is no longer working, it’s time to take your suit to a dry cleaner that you trust. Find an experienced dry cleaner who cleans in house and be sure to ask about their damage policies, just in case. Whilst reading reviews is useful, remember that people are much more inclined to write negative reviews than positive ones.
Once there, it’s important to highlight the fabrics that make up your suit and the stains
that need attention. Delicate fabrics like silk can be easily damaged by the dry
cleaning process and so will need specific care. Intensive cleaning can also fade
colour, so it’s worth sending every element of your outfit to be cleaned at the same
time to avoid having a mismatched jacket and trousers or upsetting the balance
between your suit, shirt and tie.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of easy, day to day steps that you can take, both at home and at work, to ensure that your trips to the dry cleaners are few and far between.
Ironing is the easiest way to remove those everyday creases and quickly rejuvenate a tired looking suit. However, you should never put your suit into direct contact with the iron itself as the hot metal can easily singe or melt the fabric. We recommend fitting your iron with a teflon shoe to insulate your suit from the intense heat but still let the steam through to do its work.
No matter how careful you are, your suit is bound to come into contact with the dust and dirt of everyday life. The best thing to do is change when you get home so both you and your suit can relax. This is also the perfect opportunity to give it a quick brush with a lint roller or clothes brush as dust can settle into fabric over time, making it much harder to shift. Start by brushing against the grain of the fabric with short, quick strokes to dislodge anything stubborn and then brush again with the weave to prevent any more dirt from catching.
You can extend the life of your suit even when you’re not wearing it by using
wide-angled, wooden coat hangers with rounded shoulders, we suggest one for home
and one for work, as they’re strong enough to support the natural shape of your jacket.
As tempting as it is to drape your jacket over your chair, this will quickly stretch out the
shoulders, leaving it baggy and ill-fitting.
Hanging your suit properly in a well ventilated area allows stubborn creases to fall out and lingering smells to leave the fabric naturally. It’s also worth investing in a quality dust proof garment bag which will keep it clean and deter moths, but remember to empty the pockets beforehand in order to avoid creating any odd bulges in the fabric.
If you do spill anything on your suit, gently blot it with water as soon as you can.
Anything that can’t be shifted this way, particularly on light coloured or silk suits,
should be taken to the cleaners. Don’t be lured in by home remedies as they can
easily and permanently damage the fabric.
Finally, it’s a smart move to have a matching or complimentary suit ready and waiting. Not only will you still have something to wear in the event of a dry cleaning emergency, you’ll be able to mix up your look to match the occasion, significantly extending the lifetime of both suits in the process.