A suit requires proper care over time to perform well and look its best. Like an automobile, it is an investment that must be regularly maintained. Aside from the occasional spill or leaky pen, a suit endures everyday factors such as humidity, exposure to pollutants and perspiration. Improper care may also shorten its lifespan, affecting shape, texture and even color. In this article, we outline the steps you can take to ensure the longevity of your suit.
When the threat of permanent damage seems dire, enlisting the expertise of a trusted dry cleaner is the best course of action. In the space between visits, however, there are ways to proactively help in the preservation of your suit. By adhering to these simple steps, you’re bound to get more mileage from your suits.
Give it the brush-off
Brushing your suit is an effective method for removing unwanted dust, particles and dirt prior to settling into the fabric. A clothes brush made from natural fibers is the best option. A lint roller is not recommended because the adhesive material may stick to the fabric.
Let it breathe
Instead of hanging in the closet directly after use, your suit should properly ventilate on a valet stand or chair. Fine suits are made from natural fibers, which require the circulation of air to stay fresh.
Beat the heat
The slight sheen that you might see on the shoulders and lapels of your suit is caused by over-pressing or careless dry cleaning. The exposure to high heat causes the natural fibers to actually melt and smoothen, thus creating a shine. Never iron your suit directly, and be sure to stress low heat when dropping it off at the dry cleaner.
Save the club soda for cocktails
The best way to counteract a fresh stain is to immediately blot the surface with a dry white cloth. Using water only causes the stain to set more quickly. Despite the obvious inclination to do so, scrubbing just damages the fabric. All stubborn stains should be addressed by a professional cleaner.
Be a man for all seasons
If you reside in a geographical area that has four distinct seasons, it is important to have your suits dry-cleaned before storing them (that is, if you put them away in a suit bag at the beginning of spring or fall).
A Note on Caring for Dress Shirts
The soiled ring that’s visible around the interior collar of your dress shirt is due to the perspiration and oils that accumulate throughout the day. To mitigate this, pretreat the collar the night before laundering with a bar of soap, warm water and a small soft brush (a toothbrush works).