5 Ways to Care for and Maintain your Suit

When you spend good money on a sleek new suit, it’s only natural to want to keep it in the best possible condition. But, with so many different suit materials and styles out there, it can be difficult to know how you should be washing, ironing, and drying yours. In this article, Jack de Montaignac, Chief Commercial Officer at mobile laundry and dry-cleaning service Laundrapp, shares his top tips for caring for and maintaining your suit.

A great suit doesn’t come cheap. And, while you’re bound to take as much care possible to protect your formal outfit from splashes, spills and stains, general wear and tear over its lifetime is inevitable. Whether you wear a suit for work everyday or reserve yours for special occasions, you’ll want to make the most of your investment.

Different suit materials will require varying levels of care, so you should always check the individual care labels, but there are some steps you can take to increase the lifespan of most suits. Here, I will be sharing my top tips to ensure you are caring for and maintaining your suit properly.

Wash on a cold-water cycle
Contrary to popular belief, it’s typically fine to put your suit trousers into the washing machine unless they are made of a delicate or treated material. But, before bundling your suit jacket in straight after them, make sure you check the care label for details as these may lose their shape on harsher cycles.

Once you’re certain that your full suit can be washed at home, test-clean your suit by dabbing a small mix of water, detergent, and fabric softener on an inconspicuous area of both the lining and outer of the suit. After this, wipe a cotton earbud over the treated section and see if any of the dye comes off. If it does, you’ll need to get the suit dry cleaned.

If your suit passes the above test, I would then advise turning your suit inside out and placing it inside a mesh bag to protect it from any damage during the cycle. You should always choose the gentlest setting and slowest spin, ensuring it’s also on a cold-water cycle. Once the cycle is complete, you should always lay your suit out flat so it can retain its correct shape.

Remove creases with a steamer
All suit materials are susceptible to getting a few wrinkles every now and again, but you might want to avoid the iron. Any excess pressure or heat from traditional ironing can alter the canvas inside of your suit, especially on the chest and shoulder area where it is more structured. Plus, the temperature of your iron can also damage certain fibres, giving your sleek suit an unwanted shine.

Instead, I would recommend investing in a steamer. Not only will this knock out any creases, but it can also help to give your suit a fresher smell, too.

Brush after every wear
A suit brush is an essential to increase the lifespan of your suit. These are most commonly used for wool suits, as the fibres can attract more dirt, debris, and hair than other flatter fabric types — but they can be used to maintain a suit of many other fabrics, including tweed, too.

Brushing your suit before and after you finish wearing it shouldn’t take you longer than around a minute each time, and it will make your jacket and trousers look great. I recommend brushing the full suit in a downwards direction to ensure it looks neat and tidy. As the gentle bristles will carefully pull out any particles that have become trapped, taking the time to brush your suit can also reduce the amount of times you have to put it through the wash to get it looking clean again.

Use a wide hanger
Your suit can begin to lose its shape if it’s just tossed aside once you’ve worn it, and one cost-effective way of keeping it in great condition for longer is by buying a wide hanger with rounded edges for each suit. The shoulders on your suit need to sit properly on you to maintain a smart and sleek appearance, so picking a hanger that’s wide enough to span the whole width of your suit jacket shoulders is wise. This is because a larger hanger will be able to evenly distribute the weight, whereas a thinner one will struggle to do this.

For an extra tip, I recommend opting for a wooden hanger as these are better at drawing any moisture out of your jacket, compared to fabric or plastic ones.

Store in a garment bag
Preserving and protecting your suit from any dust, insects, or moisture is imperative to keeping it in the best condition possible. As previously mentioned, hanging it on a wide wooden hanger will help your suit maintain its shape, while storing it away in a cool, dry wardrobe will maintain the colour, as well as the material’s composition.

Once you’ve correctly hung your suit on the wooden hanger, think about protective measures. I would recommend placing it into a breathable garment bag to keep dust and debris away, so it will look and feel great for its next wear — canvas bags are great for this. Try to avoid air-tight plastic clothes covers, as these can trap in moisture, causing discolouration and leaving your suits smelling damp.

Your suit should always make you feel great but, when you fail to care for it correctly, it can quickly look worn and tired. With my top five tips, you can ensure you always feel your best in your formal jacket and trousers.

As many of you may know, Roseberry Tailoring was created by Roddy Forfar and Chris McGowan through not only a shared passion for the trade but also through a mutual inspiration and influence that goes back through the generations. This common link that Roddy and Chris shared was through their Grandfather and Great-Grandfather respectively, who were both Tailors themselves back in the day.

In celebration of Father’s Day, we are delighted to share some words from the relatives of Roddy and Chris who can offer a true insight to Charles Emanuel Lambey and Joseph McGowan, as both Fathers, Grandfathers and Tailors.

We have been lucky enough to receive some words from Carol Forfar, the daughter of Charles Lambey:

My Dad came to the UK during World War II when the government were sending ships across the Caribbean and Commonwealth, to seek help with the war effort.  He decided to come on this great adventure with his older cousins, having fallen out with his father, a plantation owner and community leader in British Honduras, now known as Belize.

Roseberry tailoring edinburgh glasgow suits bespoke

Making clothes is a family tradition and is still carried on today.  My cousin Robert, Deputy Commissioner of Police in Belize regularly makes clothes for youth projects. My Dad trained in New York and was a highly skilled Tailor. He ended up working in the coal mines of Midlothian after he met my mother and started a family, but he always followed his tailoring role.  He made most of our clothes, including “costumes” (suits) for my mother, and regularly turned ordinary trousers into ‘drain-pipes’ for my older brother and almost every teenager in our village and beyond so they could be in fashion like Elvis and Cliff Richard.

He had clients from all over who came to him to have their clothes designed and made in our family home, and to this day I have not got a clue how they knew about him as we lived in a small mining village in Midlothian, just outside Edinburgh. His tools of the trade were his tailor’s chalk, shears, set square which he made himself, and the treadle ‘Singer’ sewing machine along with his sharpening stone. My sister and I used to help out with some hand-stitching and whatever he needed us to do if we were free.  I studied dress and design as I grew older and was more able to help and to tell him what I wanted too.

My Dad had a great sense of style as you can imagine and when my sister and I were teenagers in the ‘60’s we had the latest fashion every weekend for the dancing in town.  A memorable favourite of mine was a suit based around the Beatles no collar jacket made of black velvet with copper Buddha buttons and a black velvet skirt. Many a Friday night was spent with my sister and I showing him pictures from magazines showing him what we wanted and him drawing and cutting out patterns from old newspapers before the final article was produced in time for Saturday night. We did help!

Roseberry tailoring edinburgh glasgow suits bespoke

We have also gathered some inspiring words from the surviving relatives of Joseph McGowan:

 

Joseph McGowan had his own tailor shop in Shotts, Lanarkshire based on the site of the former Regal Theatre, where he worked with Mr Connolly. This would have been around the 1930’s. He later moved on to work with the Co-operative group as a tailor, first in Shotts, then onto Scotland Street in Glasgow, where he was based in the Haberdashery.

Roseberry tailoring edinburgh glasgow suits bespoke

His later career was spent working for Claude Alexander in Glasgow – the job from which he retired. Joseph and his partner Lizzie continued to look after clients into their retirement, working from home in Govan and then Nitshill, taking care of alterations and repairs to garments belonging to clients he’d met during his career. Joseph and Lizzie made a formidable team with Joseph’s tailoring skills and Lizzie’s skills as a seamstress. Joseph made suits for the whole family for any and every occasion, including wedding attire. His 3 sons, Vincent, Louis and Ernest were always told that they should “never go to Slaters”, a custom that is still practised to this day.

Among his most prized possessions were his Pipe and Whisky. His favourite brand of tobacco is remembered as Black Cut Cavendish, and there was no favourite Whisky. So long as it was Whisky, it was OK by him. In tailoring terms, he loved nothing more than watching the smile on the faces of his customers as they slipped on their new suits for the first time.

He always said that he “sold feelings and emotions and that the suits were just the product”.

When we used to visit Grandad Joseph during the school holidays, I would remember that the place was always in darkness, even in the height of summer thanks to the closeness to the Shipyards where the latest ship being built would block out the sun. I recall waking one day to blinding sunlight and finding it odd. They’d only launched the ship that morning and it was no longer blocking the sun out.

We never see Chris in anything less than a 3-piece suit and nice shoes. He’s always well-kept and smart, no matter the occasion. Joseph was the same. Any time we visited, expected or not, he was immaculate. I remember Joseph having an incredible eye for detail, an attribute that I can see in Chris.

Roseberry tailoring edinburgh glasgow suits bespoke

Roseberry Tailoring are the Official Formalwear Partner of Scottish Rugby and have been visiting clients in Glasgow for the past few years now. While we absolutely love visiting our clients in the city, whether it be at their home or offices, we feel that the time has come to give the good people of Glasgow a place to visit us. We’re delighted to announce that, as of the 7th Feb 2018, we’ll be taking up residence in the famous Hotel Du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens.

One Devonshire Gardens

Set in the beautiful West End of the city, the Hotel du Vin offers the perfect place to come and relax whilst choosing your new bespoke garments. Quiet surroundings, beautiful architecture and secluded gardens. Not to mention some amazing artwork and furnishings. You’ll find free parking all around the building and a welcoming tea or coffee on arrival. Of course, if you’re all done for the day, why not enjoy the famous Whisky room before making the journey home.

Our Studio

When you arrive, just check in with the reception staff at House 3. You’ll be invited to take a seat in the luxurious lounge of House 3. Your tailor will greet you before leading you through house 4 and into the studio in house 5. We’ll be situated in the Glengoyne room, which has many unique features. Not least the beautiful terrace gardens which the room has direct access to through double doors (We can’t wait for summer).

Once settled, you’ll be able to view some of our work on our mannequins, and browse some of the outfits awaiting collection (If we’re lucky enough to have some present). Our cloth range will be available for you to browse and your tailor will help you find the perfect cloth for your needs. Your tailor will then take your measurements, taking the time to discuss with you just exactly how you would like them to fit.

When your garments are ready for fitting, you’ll be invited back in to try on. Any adjustments necessary will be carried out locally and a further fitting will be scheduled. All adjustments are then added to your pattern, and any further purchases are delivered with those adjustments already taken care of. Meaning that your garments should fit perfectly straight from the hanger.

Book Your Appointment

To celebrate the launch of our new location, Roseberry Tailoring would like to offer any client who purchases from the Glasgow studio in the month of February a complimentary upgrade to a 3-piece suit. Simply choose your cloth and lining options, style your suit (as a 3-piece) and only pay the 2-piece price. Just book your appointment here to qualify, and we’ll take you through the options in studio.

We can’t wait to see you there.

 

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