Taking care of your corporate wardrobe doesn’t have to be difficult. If you get in the right habits, your men’s suits, formal shirts, and trousers will last longer and you’ll be able to use more of your budget for adding to your wardrobe, instead of replacing it. Garments are cared for according to fabric, so keep that in mind. Just because you have four men’s shirts that need to be washed, doesn’t mean they can all be handled the same way.
If you’re unsure of the best care method for a certain fabric, here’s your practical guide as recommended by experts in the field:
A Fabric-By-Fabric Guide to Men’s Suit & Wardrobe Care
Check the label first! As simple and easy as this sounds, sometimes the care labels on men’s suits are overlooked. Generally located on the inside of your suit jacket, care labels will not only remind you whether your suit is dry clean only, but will also provide washing machine setting and temperature tips for items that can be washed at home. Here’s a handy guide to fill in the blanks where the care guide leaves off:
Silk – It may seem easy to simply wipe away a spill or stain on your silk tie, but this mistake should be avoided. Rubbing silk when wet damages the fabric fibers and will leave the soiled area looking noticeably different than the rest of the garment. Instead of rubbing or wiping, remove your tie, blot the stain, let it dry, then launder or have it dry-cleaned as soon as possible.
Cotton – Cotton is usually fine to machine wash, but avoid hot water as shrinking is common for cotton.
Wool – Wool should almost always dry cleaned. If your wool suit needs touch up pressing, always press on the wrong side as wool is susceptible to scorching. To protect your wool suit or men’s clothing from moths, always be sure your garment is clean before storing. Note: Moth balls have never been proven to work, so you may want to save yourself from the smell.
Linen – Check the care label, as some linen items are machine washable. Use gentle detergent if the item is machine washable and damp ironing is recommended. Note for bleaching: If you must bleach your linen garment, avoid chlorine bleach as it causes yellowing.
A Word on Hangers & Shoes
Wire and plastic hangers are not firm enough to hold your jacket so that the shoulders do not droop. If you use flimsy hangers, your suit jackets will develop lines across the top of the shoulders as well. Wooden, heavy suit hangers should be used for all formal shirts and jackets. Use pant hangars for your trousers. Do not fold them over a hanger.
Don’t forget to take care of your shoes. The look of nice men’s suits or outfits can be ruined by a pair of scuffed, misshapen, or dirty shoes.
- Shoe Tree – When you take off a pair of shoes, slip a shoe tree into them. They will keep your shoes in shape, quite literally, and at the same time absorb any moisture.
- Shine your shoes – Any time your shoes are looking dusty or dull, be sure to shine them. Not only shining your shoes keep them looking good, the polish will also help keep the leather supple and prevent cracking over time.
You spent good money on your clothing. Don’t let your investment go to waste by lack of proper care.