At Henry A. Davidsen Master Tailors & Image Consultants, taking care of the customer doesn’t end at the purchase of a custom suit. Knowing how to properly lengthen the life of your clothing is also a part of their philosophy of teaching clients about becoming more knowledgeable about the fabrics they put on their body. Here are four tips to extend the life of your custom suit from Philly’s premier custom suit makers, Henry A. Davidsen.
Getting fitted for and purchasing your first custom suit is an exciting process and an important investment in your future. While factory bought suits may last anywhere from six months to six years—depending on the amount of times you wear it—a custom suit can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years. “Every suit has a lifecycle,” says Brian Lipstein, founder of Henry Davidsen Master Tailors & Image Consultants. “And the best ones are an investment that can span two decades with 20 to 25 wearings a year. You should be asking yourself what value (i.e. cost per wearing) do you want to get out of a suit before you buy.”
Think of your hanger as the backbone of your suit. It will do most of the heavy lifting for you by providing your suit with some layer of support when it’s not being worn. But if you don’t give your suit the proper framework it needs, it may actually cost you. “I recommend and use wide-shoulder wooden hangers, as they maintain your suits shape,” says Lipstein. “Thin wire hangers can’t support the weight of clothing and bend, causing the clothing to become misshaped or stretched as well.” The same can be said for pants, which should also have their own, sturdy hangers, separate from jackets.
The last thing you want to do is stick your custom suit into a packed closet. Not giving enough space for your clothing to hang will cause them to wrinkle, bunch up and improperly air out, leaving behind scents and unwanted smells the next time you attempt to rewear them. For added insurance, make sure to place your suit in a breathable garment bag and a cool closet, as wool is sensitive to heat and humidity. Grab some cedar blocks from the closet section of your local hardware store to protect against moth damage, and when storing in between seasons, dry clean sparingly before putting away. A good suit worn regularly should be dry-cleaned one to two times per year.
Quality wool suits have gone through a finishing process on the cloth that can naturally give your suit some water resistance. But that doesn’t mean it entirely protects you from stains. If you do spill on yourself, depending on what it is, let it dry and try to scrape it off with your thumbnail, or address it right away by dabbing cold water on the spot. When you send your suit off to a dry cleaner, make sure it’s one who knows how to handle your specific clothing. “You’ll find that many cleaners use particular chemicals that harm the fabric of your suit, making it look dry and brittle and leaving a residue and smell behind, or they improperly press your suit which can make it look shiny,” says Lipstein. “Having a relationship with someone who knows how to properly handle your suit is paramount.”