Protecting your attire: How to properly store and care for your suit
No matter whether your suit is made from wool, linen, cotton or any other material, there are few things more satisfying than slipping into a well-kept suit. And, unlike casualwear or coats, formalwear can’t just be merely tossed into your wardrobe or shoved into a drawer — instead, they should be treated with the utmost care.
With the help of our style experts, we’ve rounded up our top tips on how to properly store and care for your suit to guarantee wear, year after year.
Storing your suit
Although it may sound daunting, suits actually do require less maintenance than you might think. And, when it comes to proper suit storage, there are certain rules you can follow in order to keep it in pristine condition.
Use the correct hangers
While this may seem self-explanatory, using the correct hangers for your suit can really make a difference. The best way to store a suit so it lasts is to make sure it’s hung in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Preferably, store it in the back of a wardrobe where there won’t be too many climate variables that you’d typically tend to find in places like the loft.
To avoid puckering in the shoulders, always use a sturdy, wooden hanger with rounded edges to perfectly hold the shape of your suit and give it extra support. Never use wire or plastic hangers as this can result in permanent creases and damage to your clothing — not to mention the hanger can break under the weight of your suit.
Opt for a cloth garment bag
To help keep your suit in top condition, a garment bag can be a worthy investment. It’s best to stay away from plastic covers as they tend to trap in moisture which then causes problems like mildew and discolouration. Instead, place your suit in a breathable, cloth or cotton garment bag that’ll keep your suit clean and free from dust and moths. Typically, you should always air out your suit after it’s been worn and wait a day or so before you place it into a garment bag.
Always store upright
If you’re limited on space, it can be tempting to pop your suit in a garment bag and under the bed until it’s time for its next wear. However, this can cause irreparable damage. To curb wrinkles, creases and general fabric harm, always hang your suit in an upright position. This also allows for proper ventilation and reduces the chances of bugs, moths or moth larvae eating through your suits.
Keep the bugs at bay
The biggest threat to your fine fabrics is moth larvae. As soon as they hatch they immediately turn toward eating fabric. To avoid your favourite suit being laden with pesky holes, make sure you don’t put it back in the wardrobe dirty. Moths love to feast on sweat and food particles, so it’s important to keep your suit clean.
If you’re looking for a preventative method, invest in cedarwood hangers, hanging blocks or linen spray that’ll keep moths at bay. The oil found in cedarwood trees acts as a natural insect repellent, which moths simply don’t enjoy the smell of.
Caring for your suit
To ensure that your suit stands the test of time, you’ll need to make sure that it’s properly cared for.
Try to keep dry cleaning to a minimum
If you find that your suit needs a tad more help to restore it to its former glory — and you’ve tried washing it yourself to no avail — then it may need some help from a professional.
While you can have your suit dry cleaned, you should only take it when it’s absolutely necessary. With excessive exposure to the harsh chemicals that are used during the dry cleaning process, wool — that’s found in most suits — loses its structure. As the fibres begin to break down, you’ll notice that your suit will lose its richness in colour and develop an undesired shine. Instead, the following steps will limit the number of times you’ll need to dry clean your suit.
Brush out dirt
No matter the fabric of your suit, it’s always going to harbour and collect dirt in some way. Just like a coat of armour, your suit absorbs dust, food particles and hairs — trapping them between the fibres — and helps to keep your dress shirt, accessories and shoes looking spotless. To prevent the build-up of debris over time, a fabric brush — sometimes known as a clothes brush or suit brush — can keep your suit looking polished without damage.
To perfectly remove all dirt and debris from your suit, follow these steps:
- Gently brush in a downward motion, making sure to use soft strokes that don’t go perpendicular to the fibre.
- Popping the collar of your suit, brush underneath in the same downward motion. Once this is done, return it to the normal position.
- Starting at the seams of the shoulders; grab one sleeve, hold it out and brush down the arm — both front and back.
Make sure you pay extra attention to high-contact areas to ensure all the clogged dirt is removed.
Steam out creases
A creased suit is the difference between an outfit that looks polished and one that looks shabby. You can’t simply iron out creases in a suit like you would with your regular clothes. Even at low temperatures, the heat from the iron can easily burn the fibres of your suit and disrupt the structure of the weave. To avoid this, the best method is by steaming. Easily remove any creases by running a steamer over your suit, paying attention to any areas that have developed wrinkles. You should also make sure that you steam your suit before you hang it up to air-dry. This gentle and efficient method helps to minimise odour, eliminate wrinkles and give your suit a much-needed refresh.
Empty your pockets
While it can be tempting to leave items in your pockets that you may not need until you come to use your suit again, you’re actually causing more harm than good.No matter whether this is your inner suit or trouser pocket, the weight of the items within them can cause the seams distress — meaning that they’ll begin to rip over time. To save yourself an expensive tailor bill, it’s best to remove all valuables from your pocket when hanging your suit for storage.
Get help from the experts
Now that you know how to properly store and care for your suit, you’ll never look less than your best again. Whether you’re opting for a cedarwood hanger to keep the moths at bay, or brushing out dirt to keep your suit looking dapper on every occasion, we’ve got you covered.
For more style guides, clothing advice or suit inspiration, head over to our style inspiration page or explore our full range of suits at Slater Menswear to find your style.