A bespoke tailored suit should last for thousands of wears. As is the case with any sound investment, it should be able to keep its value for years.
The premium build of the suit and quality of the fabric will ensure this to a great extent, but maintenance and care on the owner’s part will really help to extend its lifespan.
Here are a few things that you can do to ensure that your suit stays in the best condition possible.
While Wearing Your Suit
Try to avoid wearing your suit on consecutive days. Rotating your garments prolongs their life significantly, as it allows them to breathe and settle between wears.
Indeed, it would even serve you well to purchase a second pair of trousers with your suit if you can.
Try to refrain from overfilling the pockets, as this can strain the seams and teach your garments to bulge and sag in the stress areas. Remember that each garment responds to how it’s stimulated over time. Your suit or trouser pockets will be able to carry your phone, wallet, and a small set of keys with ease, but avoiding putting them all into one pocket will reduce the burden.
When sitting down, always unbutton your jacket. Again, this alleviates any unnecessary strain on the seams. As a bonus, doing this also looks quite classy and confident.
Adjusting your trousers as you sit also avoids putting any unwanted tension on them. Pinch about an inch of fabric at the front of the thigh and gently raise it towards the waist as you sit. This will also prevent the fabric from “bowing” i.e. warping at the knees.
Everyday Suit Care
Empty the pockets before hanging your suit up. Use a good quality hanger of padded plastic or wood. These will give your suit the best support and allow it to regain its shape more quickly.
Try to avoid hanging your jacket by the neck on a coat rack or hook. Even hanging it over the back of an office chair can distort it over time.
Brushing your jacket for a few moments is one of the very best ways to care for it. Invest in a soft bristle brush for this, as it won’t make any micro-tears in the fabric. If your jacket is made from a softer, more luxurious fibre like cashmere or flannel, a lint roller is a much better option than a brush as it is gentler on the fibres. Pay close attention to the shoulders and collar area to remove any lint, hair or surface dirt that may have gathered there while wearing it. Doing this prevents them from becoming embedded in the fibre.
After wearing your suit, it’s a good idea to hang it up in a well-ventilated area for a few hours before putting it away. This allows moisture and odour to dissipate while the wool fibres spring back into shape.
If your suit has become creased while being worn, a great tip for treating it is to hang it up (on a supportive hanger) in the bathroom while you shower or bathe. After about thirty minutes, the suit will have taken to the steam. Then hang it up in a different room, preferably a well ventilated one, where the creases will drop out naturally.
Cleaning Your Suit
Having your suit dry cleaned is something you should avoid as much as possible—twice a year should be enough. The chemicals used in dry cleaning can be quite harsh on the suit fibres, removing the natural oils in the wool, and taking the life and colour out of it.
If you must have your suit dry cleaned however, try to source a dry cleaner who specialises in luxury tailored suits. They should have specialist equipment, for example hand-steam irons for working on garments as valuable as yours. Note that the staff in establishments like these will be well trained in handling, pressing and indeed spot cleaning suit garments correctly.
Before having your suit pressed, give it a good brush or lint roll, and try to insist for hand steam pressing only. This will help your suit avoid being over-pressed or exposed to too much heat, which can melt the fibres and give your suit an unseemly sheen.
Taking good care of your suit is straightforward, and guarantees that its quality will shine through for years to come. By seeing a well-tailored suit as an investment in ourselves, it's easy to see the benefits of treating it with proper care.
When you're ready to invest in your next bespoke suit, consider making an appointment with Marc Oliver. It's what we do best.