You invested in a great wool suit, now you need to take care of it and it doesn’t come with an owner’s manual. So what should you do?
Wear and Storage
First of all, you should never wear your suit two days in a row. This really applies to all of your clothing (sport coats, slacks, denim, sweaters, shoes, etc.). Giving your suit at least a day between wears allows time for it to recover. You wouldn’t go to the gym and lift legs two days in a row, right!?
Your suit should be hung up immediately after wearing it verses tossing it on the chair. This will give the fabric time to air out, preventing odor buildup. Wool is a natural fiber that has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. This means that wool items do not need regular cleaning and will smell fresh after repeated use, unlike synthetic fibers. Wool also has a waxy outer coating that helps it repel liquids, and I will address cleaning shortly.
If your suit came on a plastic hanger, you need to invest in a natural wood hanger that has contoured arms that will follow the natural shape of the shoulders. I personally never drape my pants over the hanger bar. See previous blog How you should hang your pants.
When it comes to storing your suit for a period of time, make sure you use a cloth suit bag. Cloth allows your suit to breathe while protecting it from moths and dust. Avoid plastic storage bags – they won’t allow your suit to breath and stay fresh.
Iron vs Steam
Putting an iron near your suit is a bad idea. High heat can and will damage your wool suit so you should buy a portable steamer. A steamer will remove wrinkles that develop with wear or improper storage as well as remove dust build-up from being out in environment.
Buy one! It will help you keep your suit clean and decrease the number of trips to the dry cleaners. There are plenty of options to choose from but you will want to find one with real animal hair because synthetic bristles can be to coarse and can damage your suit. There will be an upcoming blog on how to use a suit brush.
Speaking of dry cleaning!
Only take your suit to the dry cleaner when absolutely necessary and as a last resort. Dry cleaning means no soap and water but involves the use of harsh, liquid chemicals. Over cleaning your suit can weaken wool fibers and can cause color fading. With proper care I’ve talked about above, 1-3 trips a year to the dry cleaners should be more than enough.