As a men’s suit specialist for a national department store, I see plenty of guys who opt to buy a suit for their special event, like prom or a wedding, rather than rent a tuxedo. It’s a great idea, really; every guy needs to have a suit in their wardrobe, not only for special events, but for those last-minute dressy occasions in which jeans or a pair of Dockers just won’t do.
But suits, even those that are on sale, will likely set you back a few hundred bucks. The last thing you want is to ruin the garment by not caring for it properly. Here are a few suggestions to keep your investment looking like new:
Do not over-dry clean — It should go without saying that suits are dry clean only (don’t even think about tossing them in the washing machine.) But over-dry cleaning the garment can be just as damaging. Over time, the chemicals used in the dry cleaning process will break down the fibers in the suit, causing the garment to lose its shape and structure. Aim for dry cleaning only once or twice a year. In-between, ask your dry cleaner to steam your suit; the steam will not only freshen the garment, but will kill the bacteria that causes odors.
Spot clean using the same fabric — For those instances in which a spot has soiled your suit, buff out the spot by using the inside of the suit jacket or pant as a buffing cloth. Don’t wet the garment or use any type of cleaner. The similar fabric-on-fabric should create enough friction to lift the stain out.
Hang the pants upside down — Most stores will send you home with your suit pants folded over a wooden hanger. When you get home, take the pants off the hanger and clip them, by the cuffs or plain bottoms, to another hanger. The weight of the upside-down pants will help pull out wrinkles and prevent that hanger indention from forming over the middle of the pants.
Buy wide hangers for suit jackets — Suit jackets are displayed in stores on narrow, wooden hangers in order to fit more merchandise on the sales floor. But the best way to hang a suit jacket is on a wide hanger that mimics the size and shape of a person’s shoulder. An Internet search of ‘wide suit hangers’ will give you a large selection of hangers that will better preserve the natural structure of your suit.
A suit can be a significant financial investment for many people. Take good care of your purchase, and you will have the perfect item to wear for many occasions to come.