How to Make Your Suit Last Longer
You’ve finally invested in a quality suit, and you want to make sure it lasts as long as possible.
Here are some tips.
Only clean your suit when it is physically dirty or stinky – meaning you’ve spilled something on it, or you sweat through it.
Most suits are dry-clean-only, and you never want to over dry-clean a garment. Dry cleaning is a chemical wash that can wear down the fabric if you do it too often. Think of it like dipping the garment in a chemical that “scrapes away” the very surface layer of the fabric. Eventually the fibers begin to weaken.
If your suit just needs a “refresher”, just have it professionally pressed. This is cheaper than dry-cleaning, and the heat and steam will kill most of the bacteria and clean it sufficiently in most cases.
I have several suits that are a few years old that I have never dry cleaned.
It’s a good idea to steam your suit before or after each wear. This brings it back to its natural state, and natural ‘hang”. This can be as simple as hanging it in the bathroom while you take a hot shower (pro tip).
If you’re going to iron your suit yourself, make sure to use a pressing cloth (a piece of fabric, usually cotton, between the hot metal of the iron and the fabric of the suit). If you hit the fabric directly with an iron that is too hot, you risk “scorching” the fabric (making it shiny)…which is basically impossible to reverse.
After you take your suit off, always hang it up immediately.
Don’t throw it in the hamper. Don’t toss it on the ground. Don’t throw it over a chair. Hang it on a proper hanger, with a pant bar and a full shoulder. This will allow it to return to its natural shape, dry out any moisture shape, and ultimately help it last longer.
If you’re storing it long-term (ie. seasonally) keep it in a protective garment bag (or plastic cover) with a cedar hanger to keep the moths away.
GIVE IT A BREAK
Try not to wear a suit two days in a row.
Like a pair of shoes, it’s a good idea to allow the garment to fully dry-out and catch its breath.
Even a workhorse needs a break to perform its best.
Traveling? See our post on how to fold and pack a suit (and shirt) properly.
Even better; get yourself a proper suit bag.
If you change weight/shape and the suit is not fitting as well as it could, consider getting it altered.
A properly adjusted fit doesn’t just look and feel good, it also helps a garment last longer.
An ill fitting garment can “pull” awkwardly on the fabric with movement, causing strain. Strain can lead to tears.
If it rips on a seam, no problem, just have your local tailor/seamstress re-sew it together.
It if rips off a seam, you might be in trouble. There are fabric “re-weavers” who can sometimes do miracles and are worth reaching out to, but best case scenario you will be left with a scar on the fabric wear the tear was.