Suits are an investment, and like all investments, they should be looked after as well as possible. A great suit can last a lifetime, but whether you are putting it away for a few days or a few months, how you store any suit can be the difference between looking good and needing work.
Here are our top tips on how to store men’s suits for both short- and long-term needs, so you can be sure that your suit will look as good as new when you need it again.
Preserving your suit’s elegance: the short tips
Looking after your suit should become a habit, and to do that it helps to create a routine that you go through every time you get home after wearing it. Putting a suit away safely is only part of that routine, but it is very simple to do and takes just a few minutes. Here are the steps you should take after every use:
- Emptying the pockets will prevent stretching or distortions. Leaving anything in the pockets can lead to stretching and distortion, so check all pockets and remove anything you find before storage.
- Brush and roll. Use a suit brush to remove any minor dirt, dust, hair and other contaminants it may gave picked up. Finish off with a lint roller to catch any final particles on the suit fabric.
- Spot Clean! As you brush, examine the fabric for stains. If you find any, use a clean cloth and mild detergent or appropriate stain remover to carry out spot cleaning.
- Steam the suit to redefine the shape and lines before hanging it up.
- Hang it up! Place the trousers over the bar, with the shirt and jacket on the hanger.
- Always use a proper wooden suit hanger, then place the entire suit into a breathable suit cover for maximum protection against mildew, dust and insect attacks.
- Wardrobe care. The wardrobe should be dark, clean inside and stay cool even during summer heat.
- Don’t crowd the suit! Give your suit room to breathe in your wardrobe. Keep your suits and other garments spaced evenly apart, not touching, so they stay crease free.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it doesn’t take long to become a habit, and you will find that it can all be done in a few minutes. Importantly, this is the basis for care of your suit and is the key for it looking great for years to come.
If you are planning in using the suit in the next few days or weeks, this is all you really need to do for it to be ready next time. However, if it could be a while before you use the suit again, for instance more than a month, then there are a few things to consider.
Remember, consistency transforms these steps into a swift habit, crucial for your suit’s enduring elegance.
Ways to store men’s suits for the long term
While that routine will keep your suit looking great for years during regular use, if you plan on storing it for more than a month, there are some other measures to think about. If you store a suit for that amount of time and don’t do it correctly, you can actually damage the suit and end up needing expensive repairs.
Of course, you should follow the basic routine to get your suit ready for storage, but here are some things to consider as well.
Hang the suit, don’t fold it
When putting a garment away for an extended period, it can seem sensible to fold it, however this can damage your suit over time. In addition, pay more attention to the kind of hanger used with your suit if it is going to be on there for a month or more.
Short term, any quality wooden suit hanger will keep your suit in good condition. But long-term storage puts more pressure on the contact points, so choose a suit hangar with broad, rounded shoulder supports to avoid premature wear. You should always use wooden hangers, with beechwood hangers a specifically good choice for long term storage because the scent of the beechwood keeps moths away.
The jacket should be left unbuttoned so that it hangs naturally, minimizing creasing and potential wear.
For your hanger and especially the suit cover, stay away from plastics. Plastic suit covers trap moisture inside, which can lead to mildew on your suit over time. Not only will this need specialist cleaning, but it can cause permanent damage and leave an odour that is difficult to eliminate.
Instead, more natural, breathable materials allow air to circulate keeping the suit in great condition.
Where to store your suit
For short term storage, you will most likely keep your suit easily accessible, however for longer -term needs, it is better to keep your suits to the rear of the wardrobe. This area tends to be darker and remain cooler, better for the material. There is also more protection, you won’t be going near the back of the wardrobe too often, so the suit can hang undisturbed. At the front, it may need to be moved frequently to access other garments, and that can lead to wear.
Never be tempted to use a clothes rail in the basement or attic, even though they can be darker, and your clothes can probably be left undisturbed. The temperature range in those spaces can be very wide, and that can have a negative effect on suits or any garments over time.
How to take your suit out of storage?
If you have had a suit in longer term storage, at least a month, then there are a couple of things you need to remember when it is time to bring it out again.
- Always take the suit out of storage and allow it to air for around a day before you wear it.
- No matter how careful you are in storing the suit, dust and other particles can accumulate, so give it a brush before use.
Don’t forget your accessories!
Its not just your suit, you will have ties, belts and shoes to go with the suit as well. Belts and ties should be stored on a dedicated tie rack, or if that is not practical, roll ties and belts and keep them in a drawer with small compartments to keep them in place.
Leather dress shoes are prone to temperature fluctuations, as a natural material they can dry out and crack. Keep your shoes in a cool, well-ventilated area and always make sure they have been thoroughly cleaned before putting them away. Cedar shoe trees keep the shape of the shoe and provide a nice scent too.
Taking care of your suit gets the most out of it. With just a little effort, you can make sure your suit is stored properly for a few days or a few weeks and longer. It doesn’t take long, and the reward is a suit that looks great for years to come.