Whether you’re a corporate professional or a weekend warrior, there’s no denying that suits are power statements. It’s the one piece of clothing you’ll wear to every job interview, meeting, and date night. You need it to look sharp but also feel comfortable.
So, what happens when your suit starts looking wrinkled or dingy too soon? Your custom suit can only be a valuable investment if it can last long–not wear out in a couple of years. But how do you make sure that it stays in pristine condition for as long as possible?
We’re here to help! We’ve put together some tips for taking care of your suit: from cleaning and storage to washing and ironing. You’ll never have an excuse not to wear your favourite suit again!
General Care Guidelines to Make Your Suit Last
Caring for your suits is all about maintaining the fabric and structure. If you don’t treat your suit right, it can get out of shape or even tear. In order to keep your suit looking sharp, you’ll want to make sure you’re cleaning and storing it properly.
The quality of your suit is important. It’s not just a piece of clothing—it’s an investment. That’s why you should be careful when washing it. While most people are aware they can’t just throw their suits in the washing machine, there are a few reasons why.
- First of all, water is heavy. This makes the water distend the fibres in your suit—just like what it does in sweaters. This stretching causes your suit to wear out faster than usual because those fibres are being weighed down more while wet under gravity. This also has terrible consequences for the inner workings of jackets, because…
- Of the second point. Suits have a very specific structure. They’re made out of multiple layers that are either stitched or glued together and when you put them in water, those stitches can wear and strain more quickly and fusing can warp. This can lead to unsightly bubbles and misshapen structure in your suit and even if you’re not careful about how you wash it!
The best way to care for your suit is to take them to a dry cleaner who has experience caring for fine garments. They have the knowledge and equipment to clean and press suits without damaging them or causing any creases or folds in the material that might make it look worn or old after wearing it only once!
A well-cared-for merino wool suit can last you at least 10 years, but that’s if you take ideal care of it. Else, it can still last for 6-8 years before your suit is ready to retire, depending on the use it sees. This is especially true for 100% wool suits and canvassed suits. A wool suit is usually thought to be difficult to care for because it has different care instructions than a polyester blend. But they are actually easier to care for and last longer as they breathe better than a polyester blend. They also last longer than other fabrics because they do not stretch out easily.
As for your trousers, they will see more wear than jackets. It’s best to clean your trousers and jacket together to ensure you keep the same colour on both pieces of clothing. Otherwise, you might notice minute differences in the colour between your jacket and trousers over time. One thing you can do if you will wear your suit a lot is to purchase 2 pairs of trousers to match your jacket and rotate between them.
Care Instructions for Your Suit
There are many ways you can take care of your suit to prolong its life, whether it’s while you’re driving or it’s gone back into storage in your wardrobe. Here are some simple tips you can follow to take good care of your suit
While Wearing Your Suit
Using Pockets: It’s tempting to use trouser pockets to keep your wallets and phone. However, using them frequently will distort the shape of your pockets and pants over time. Try, if possible, not to use it as frequently. A good option is to use your jacket pockets, especially the inner pockets!
Avoid Spills: The best way to avoid damaging your suit is to be aware of what you’re doing while wearing it. If you’re eating, be careful that nothing gets on your clothes. If you do get something on your suit and can’t wash it right away, dab it carefully without spreading it and be sure to take it to the dry cleaner as soon as possible. The longer you wait to clean your suit after spilling on it, the harder it will be to remove a stain that has already set in.
Sit Comfortably: Another simple yet effective trick to avoid creasing and excess wear on the structure is to unbutton your jacket. When you sit with the suit buttoned, the close fit of your suit causes it to wrinkle as it moves with your body. It can also be uncomfortable to wear a suit buttoned while seated. Usually, suits tailored to make the person feel leaner while standing can be tighter when sitting, too. So relax and let your jacket hang open—you’ll thank us!
While Driving: The same rule of unbuttoning your jacket while sitting applies while you’re driving too. In fact, it’s best to remove the jacket altogether! When you put on the seatbelt while wearing it, the seat belt will rub against your jacket. It’s easy to forget, but when you drive, it’s best to hang up your jacket or lay it across the back seat. Otherwise, it may crease before you even reach your event!
When You Dry Clean Your Suit (If Worn Infrequently)
Avoid Regular Dry Cleaning: Dry-cleaning your suit is a great way to keep it looking fresh and crisp, but you shouldn’t do it more than a couple of times per year. Regular dry cleaning can change the colour of your suit as well as its texture. If you want to clean your suit more often than once or twice a year, try spot-cleaning it instead.
Dry Clean Before Storage: If you’re planning to store your suit in a closet or other storage area for a long time, it’s best to have it cleaned before doing so. Body oils and residues can cause discolouration and break down your suit if left over a period of years, making it look old and worn out. Wool suits can be less susceptible to discolouration, but they’re not immune. Because of this, we recommend that you dry-clean your wool suit before storing it, especially if you plan on keeping it for an extended period of time.
Understand Your Suit Material: Polyester blends are made from a blend of polyester and other materials, like wool or cotton. They have the same care instructions as pure wool suits: dry clean only. But they don’t do quite so well in the long run. This type of textile tends to retain smells more and is less breathable (therefore, air out less easily). They are also more susceptible to heat damage and tend to fade more easily than wool or pure cotton suits. If you own one, just understand that it does not last as long or wear as nicely as wool suits.
Everyday Tips for Frequent Use
When it comes to wearing a suit, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. But helping your work suits last as long as possible isn’t as hard as it sounds. Here are some of the four everyday tasks you should be mindful of when wearing a suit:
Take your suit off as soon as possible after coming home: No matter how tired and drained you are, you have to do this right away to avoid wrinkles. If you leave it on, it might get dirtier and lose its shape faster than normal, which will wear it out quicker. As a bonus, if you wear suits to work, this can help you to switch off after a busy day!
Air it Out on a Hanger: If your suit isn’t going to the cleaner, hang it in a semi-ventilated area, like a room with windows, so that it airs out. You will notice that your suit won’t stay wrinkled, which means you may not have to steam it again. This is the most effective with wool suits as they are more breathable and the fibres are more relaxed compared to polyester suits. And remember, keep your suit out of your pet’s reach!
Rotate your suits if possible: Doing this can help avoid some of the wear that comes with wearing them every day. If you have more than one suit, it’s best to rotate them. For example, you can wear one on Monday and then another on Wednesday. Giving your suit a day to rest helps creases to relax and any odour to dissipate. This will also help keep them looking fresh and new!
If you don’t have enough suits for this kind of rotation—or if you just don’t feel like it—it’s still important to air out your suit in between wears. You can hang it up in a closet or lay it flat on a hanger in a well-ventilated area (like in the tip above) for some time before putting it back on again.
Opt for a press-only or steam-only service at your dry cleaners
Many people don’t know this, but you can choose what service you’d like in a dry cleaners. In other words, you don’t have to opt for a full dry clean in a dry cleaning facility! Instead, you can choose just press-only or steam-only. That way, they don’t have to go through the entire dry cleaning process each time you drop off your clothes. This is especially important if you don’t wear the suit often (a few times per month or less) or if your suit is creased but otherwise clean. It saves time and cuts down on waste, in addition to being less expensive overall.
The best way to care for your suit is to keep it clean, store it properly, and use it well! You’ll want to air your suit after you wear it, and then dry clean it every six months. This will keep the fabric in good condition, which will make it last longer, and will also help prevent wear and tear from occurring for as long as possible while you’re wearing it.
You should also store your suits in a cool, dry place (like a closet) when they’re not being worn. Heat and humidity can cause wrinkles and other damage to the fibres, and can make the suit look worse than when you bought it.
Our final tip for helping your suits last is to invest in a quality suit from the beginning! A suit made from high-quality materials will serve you well for a decade and cost you less in the long run.
Briggins offers both ready-to-wear and custom-made suits in 100% merino wool, starting at just $599. As a new customer, we want to make sure that you’re 100% satisfied with your new jacket, trousers and vests. That’s why we’ve included a care card with all the instructions you need.