Earlier this week I came across a wonderful article outlining the steps needed to properly care for your suit. It had a great deal of useful information but left me wondering, do consumers know what to do with all of the other pieces that make up their wardrobe? With that notion, I wanted to share some best practices from head to toe.
Whether you are wearing a felt fedora or linen ivy cap, you never want to put these in the wash or use excessive water. A stiff bristled brush will do the trick to remove dirt. On cotton or linen caps, try warm water and vinegar to remove dirt or stains.
There is some flexibility with the cleaning options for shirts. Some may only have their shirts dry cleaned; but it is true, however, that you can wash them yourself. If you choose that route, be sure that you are washing on a delicate cycle and using warm water for white shirts and cold water for shirts with color. You can iron them immediately after, or tumble dry on low and then iron. Either way, ironing after the process is vital; but I must point out that it is nearly impossible to achieve the same result when picking up from your dry cleaner. With that said, if you have the money, take your shirts to the cleaner and opt for minimal to no starch. Never, I repeat, Never wear your white dress shirts more than once without a cleaning. White shirts quickly accumulate dirt and it is nearly impossible to remove once it sets in.
To preserve the suit (jacket), you should always hang it on a wide shoulder suit hanger and use a suit brush to remove particles before putting up. If you do not plan on wearing the garment for quite some time, have it dry cleaned, pressed and cover with a garment bag. Do not have your jackets dry cleaned more than once every 4-6 months. The chemicals will only expedite the breakdown in the fabric. Instead, utilize your suit brush and have the garment properly steamed. If you try and iron your jacket, you will only succeed in damaging the thread and may even create a ‘sheen’ effect from applying too much direct heat. If you have to wear a suit often, spend the money on 3-4 quality garments so that you can rotate them throughout the weeks and months.
For your slacks, follow the same cleaning and caring method as your suit. Never put dress pants in the washer machine. You’ll wind up with a damaged garment and quite possibly in tears. For cotton, linen, cotton blends, denim, etc.; feel free to toss them in the washer in warm to cold water and hang dry if you have the time. Always store wool trousers on a proper pant hanger.
The absolute very first thing you should do with your recent acquisition, aside from inhaling them for great lengths (nothing smells better than new shoes) is spray them with an all weather protectant. When storing, be sure to use shoe trees made of cedar preferably, to maintain shape and absorb moisture from recent wear. Cleaning is simple if kept up. The first step is to remove any dust/dirt before moving forward. Leather requires polishing, suede calls for a touch of rubber “erasing” a coarse brush and maybe even warm water and vinegar. You can get the dirt off of canvas kicks with warm water, a bit of soap and towel.
No matter what you have in your closets and drawers, just be sure to remain vigilant in your upkeep efforts… and be sure to live in style.