Tailored TLC: How to Extend the Life of Your Best Clothes with Proper Storage
Part 1: How to store your suits
You've just purchased a fantastic suit. The tailoring is perfect. Or, you've just brought your freshly laundered items home from the dry cleaner. How do you keep these items in perfect condition at home?
There are plenty of mistakes to be made – leaving things on the hanger and stashed in the plastic they came back with is a major one. But if you invest in a high-quality piece of clothing – and its routine cleanings – you should expect to also invest some extra time and attention to keep it in good condition for years to come. A few extra steps are all it takes.
Storing Leather and Suede Pieces
From your most stylish shoes to that collector-worthy jacket, leather and suede items require a bit of dedication from you for proper storage.
- Keep pieces in a well-ventilated area.
- Keep them covered with white muslin or other kinds of breathable fabric to reduce exposure to sunlight.
- You also want to keep the temperature cool. Storing leather and suede in a warm area can damage the material.
- If you have high quality, supple leather, store it flat on a shelf. Place pieces of tissue paper between any layers of items to keep any type of debris (dust and dirt in particular) from affecting the material.
If you have a special suit that doesn’t come out very often, there are a few things you can do to keep it looking fresh whenever you need it.
· Buy a dedicated suit hanger. It will be made of wood and have more bulk than your typical (albeit sturdy) hanger, and there will be a slight arch in the shoulder. This shape helps keep the shape of your suit jacket’s shoulders.
· Take care to keep your pants unrumpled. You can either hang your pants by the hems on felted clamp hangers , or you can master the Savile Row fold – instructional video here.
· If you really want a garment bag, choose one in canvas – a breathable cloth that’s good for both wool and cotton suits.
For linen, the quality of the material matters. With high quality items, you'll want to use the following steps to prevent shrinkage and damage.
- Roll linen whenever possible. Don't fold unless you have to. (Here’s a quick tutorial on how to roll your clothing.)
- Linen will permanently crease if folded – but resist the urge to iron it. Instead, if you’re forced to fold your linen pieces, re-fold them frequently and change up your folding pattern each time.
Another important fabric that needs a bit of extra care is silk. Again, the quality of it matters the most.
- Don't fold silk either. Any creases from folding will become permanent if you allow them to set.
- Hang silk items on wooden hangers. (By the way – wooden hangers are the best for almost all types of clothing, because they won’t snag or damage your clothing like plastic and metal hangers.)
- When you need to put silk pieces in a drawer, place them on a pad and insert white tissue between the items or any folds. This helps to protect the material during storage.
If you have fur items, it can be hard to find easy storage options simply because of the bulk. There are some easy ways to prevent problems with fur, though.
- Keep it in a dark area. The light from the sun can damage the material, especially if temperatures change often in your region.
- You'll also want to keep the temperatures in the storage area cool. Avoid placing these items in warm or hot areas, such as an attic – high temperatures can cause shrinkage.
- For long-term storage, seek out professional cold storage. This is the best option if you are storing a fur for months or years.
Use these tips to properly store everything from heavily-used shoes to a beautiful leather bag. With a bit of planning and a few minutes of your time, you'll minimize the risk of damage to the items whether you’re storing them short-term or long-term.