How to make your suit last a lifetime

choosing a suit

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Take your time when choosing a suit.

Take good care of your new suit and it will keep you looking and feeling great for years to come. With this in mind, we’ve put together a guide full of tips and tricks to help you take care of your suit. If you follow these steps – who knows – your suit might just last you a lifetime.

Choose the right suit

Samuel Windsor ensemble suit

Make sure you pick the right suit
Featured product: Samuel Windsor

Take your time. Try suits on for size, and most importantly, buy the best quality suit you can. You want something made with great fabric because if it’s cheap, it will weaken and wear quickly.

Always remember, dressing for your aspirational weight has no place in suit-buying. Buy something too small and you’ll put unnecessary tension on the fabric and seams, leading to rips and tears. Buy a tailored suit or one that fits so well it looks tailored because well fitting clothes last longer.

To give your suit a longevity boost, buy an extra pair of trousers to go with it. But don’t keep your spare pair in the cupboard until the first pair wears out. Fabric fades with time so you need to alternate your trousers to make sure both pairs maintain the perfect colour match with your jacket.

Do take your trousers to a tailor and get him to sew some woven polyester kick tape to the hems. It’s a great tailoring trick that helps protect your trouser hems by strengthening the fabric and providing a sacrificial layer to bear the brunt of daily wear and tear.

How to store your suit

suits hanging on wooden hangers

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Wooden hangers are your suit’s best friend.

Proper suit care starts the moment you get your new garment home. Start as you mean to go on by making adequate room for it in your wardrobe. Men’s suits need room to breathe so make sure yours won’t get pressed up against your other clothes.

It’s vital to protect your purchase from dust and the moth larvae that would see your new suit as a tasty snack, so always invest in a good quality cloth garment storage bag.

At the end of a day when you and your suit have been squiring about town, always take the time to hang it up properly. Wooden or plastic hangers with rounded edges are best because they help your suit keep its shape and the wooden ones will also absorb moisture.

Before you hang it in the cupboard, give your suit a gentle once over with a soft-bristle clothes brush to remove dirt and stains. Ape to Gentleman  has some sage advice: “brush with firm sweeping movements, never scrub… this might remove colour or worse, fabric.”

By letting your suit hang overnight you’ll give it time to return to its original drape, and also help the fabric to release any wrinkles.

If you look after your suit like this, you may never have to steam it between wears, although it’s a always good option if there are stubborn wrinkles. A steam cleaner is ideal, but if you don’t have one, a steam iron will do. Make sure to place a clean tea towel in between your suit and the iron though, or you may overheat the fibres and make them shiny.

How to pack your suit

Businessman wearing a formal suit outside a hotel

Travelling with formal wear is suprisingly easy
Image: GaudiLab

Travelling with your suit is easier than you might think – even if you’re using hand luggage. It’s all in how you fold it. First, turn your jacket inside out. Then put the shoulders together (making sure the seams line up) and roll it loosely. Same with your trousers – a loose roll makes all the difference.

Alternatively, take a leaf out of Simon Crompton’s book and simply wear your suit to the airport. As he says on his renowned blog, Permanent Style: “If you can avoid packing a jacket, do so… No matter what technique you use, there will be some small creases.”

If you have the luxury of luggage, just use your cloth garment bag, or even the plastic from a dry cleaning bag, to protect your suit en route. Simon’s usual technique is to turn the jacket inside out before folding it length ways:

The biggest advantage of this method is that it protects the material of the jacket from nicks or pulls… it helps if your case is as long as the jacket, so you don’t need to fold up the bottom at all.”

Always hang your suit up as soon as you arrive at your destination and remove any creases with a steamer or steam iron. If your hotel doesn’t have one, never fear, just hang your suit up on the door of your bathroom while you take a shower and let the steam work its magic.

Cleaning your suit

Lint rolling suit

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Gentle, occasional cleaning is best for a suit.

A good, hearty clean every once in a while will help your suit last, but don’t overdo it. Over-cleaning your suit is a sure way to bring about its early demise. A couple of times a year is about right – and always before you retire a summer or winter suit for the season. As The Everyday Man rightly observes:

Although you want to keep your suit clean and well preserved, don’t take it too the dry cleaners too often as it will only wear out the fabric.

When the time does come to get your suit cleaned, speak to your dry cleaner about using wet care because it’s a gentler process. Also, be sure to send both pairs of trousers and the jacket together, regardless of which part of the suit needs cleaning – you don’t want it to fade unevenly.

Extra tips for a long, happy life with your suit

hand in pocket

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Save your suit’s silhouette and put your hands in your trouser, not jacket, pockets.

Perhaps the best way of all to make your suit last, is to build a collection so you can rotate them, resting each suit between outings. And whatever you do, leave your jacket’s external pockets stitched shut and put your keys in your trouser pocket, or better still, a bag.
How do you ensure your suit stands the test of time? We’d love to hear from you.

Posted in How To - Care.