Avoid dry cleaning
It’s common knowledge that suits shouldn’t be washed at home, so you should take them to a professional dry cleaner. But here’s the thing, you don’t want to do it too often.
The reason being is that dry cleaning can be a bit of a harsh process for any garment. By definition, dry cleaning is any cleaning process that uses a chemical solvent other than water (that’s right, it’s not really dry!). These solvents will eventually take a toll on the natural fibers in your suit jacket. Furthermore, not all dry cleaners will exercise proper care and may end up harshly pressing your jacket which can sometimes damage the canvas.
So, knowing that it should be rare, when should you take your suit to the dry cleaners?
I recommend the smell test. If your jacket smells a little funky, even after a day of airing it out, then it’s likely time for some intensive care at the cleaners. Or, when visible dirt and grime has built up or if you have an obvious stain. Speaking of stains, it’s a smart move to request that your cleaners only clean the affected area, versus cleaning the entire coat. Not only is this easy on your clothing, but easy on your wallet! Other ways to care for your custom suits include:
When it rains or snows, be careful to brush the water off rather than press it into your garment. The less water your custom suit absorbs, the longer it will last. Be sure to hang your custom suits on sturdy and wide wood hangers. Plastic hangers will cause your jacket shoulders to compress.
While the dry cleaner should be avoided whenever possible, spend a few extra dollars and go to a reputable place. You will save money in the long run.
When packing your suit for a trip always put a plastic bag over it. This will prevent wrinkling and protect the suit in case something spills inside your case.
Try not to use the front pockets of the suit at all, but if you must use them, make sure the items are light, like business cards or handkerchiefs. Placing anything with any kind of substantial weight in the front pockets causes the front of the coat to sag down and lose its shape. It also does damage to the inside lining and potentially the fabric behind it.
Try and rotate the wearing of your suits as evenly as possible. Wearing a suit two days in a row or three times in a week is a recipe for disaster.
Always hang up your custom suits. Leaving them laying around only leads to excessive wrinkling and an eventual trip to the dry cleaner. In addition, throwing suits on the floor or bed etc. leaves the suit in an unusual position for a long period of time and will eventually cause certain delicate parts of the suit (like the lapel) to lose its shape.
Never separate the jacket and the pant as an outfit. Always wear them together. If you start wearing the jacket as a stand alone blazer as well as with the suit, the jacket will wear out faster than the pant. On that note, when you dry clean, always dry clean both the jacket and pant-doing one without the other might cause the color to fade differently.
Always remove the garment bag before hanging up your custom suit. Hanging up in a garment bag for a prolonged amount of time will not allow the fibers and fabric of the suit to “breathe”. This will lead to a breakdown in the construction of the garment.
If you are a bit on the heavy side or if your legs are muscular, ask your tailor to affix a crotch lining into the trousers. This is just a soft piece of cotton in the crotch area that prevents the trousers from wearing out in the thigh area.