I have a wonderfully eccentric client who recently attended a wedding and am reliably informed ended up “windmilling” on the dance-floor wearing a jacket I’d made-up for him in a 12oz worsted cloth. Whilst this is quite a hard wearing fabric and our jackets are well constructed, this goes beyond normal wear and tear.
So, the first rule – no break-dancing.
The second – invest in a trouser press (corby) – it will double the life of your suit because they have a nice fat coathanger on the back which will keep the shape in the shoulders, allow the creases to fall out of the jacket (as it’s not rammed into an overcrowded wardrobe) and the pleats in your trousers will be kept as sharp as a razor.
The third – buy some decent coat hangers (big ends to support the shoulders) and a quality clothes brush and give it a good going over each time you wear it. I know it sounds a bit OTT but is does help to remove the dirt particles that get ingrained in the wool fibres when out and about.
The forth, and perhaps most important, is rotation. If you’ve just bought a new suit don’t rise to the temptation of wearing it all the time. I appreciate it’s a bit tricky if your wardrobe is limited, but clothes need a rest after a days graft. They need to get on their hangar and chill out for a day or two. If you are going to wear a suit often, it does makes sense to buy an extra pair of trousers.
And last but not least – avoid taking it into the dry cleaners as much as possible. Most use liquid chemicals called solvents that will remove stains from a variety of fabrics, however, the most common chemical used is called “Perc” which is toxic with both human health and environmental concerns, although these have yet to be proved….(don’t want a law case on my hands!) In my opinion, the less contact natural fibres like wool have with chemicals the better.
Is what most suits need to give them a new lease of life is a good press and this bring me to the very happy looking gentleman who is pictured at the top of this entry on the left hand side – introducing Brian.
Pressing is an art and it is a vital part during the creation of a bespoke suit. In the old days, tailors worked wonders with a 14lb iron and a wet rag, but today’s technology has improved things amazingly. It is the steam that relaxes the fibres of the cloth which is then shaped accordingly but the trick is then to remove the steam as if the cloth is left damp, it will easily crease. Today’s steam presses are very clever and incorporate a heating element and a pedal-operated vacuum to pull air through the board and dry the garments but the finished job is only as good as the person using it – if a press was a piano, then Brian is the Mozart of the North.
So that’s about it for now – all that remains is to wish you all a wonderful Christmas break- I will be spending mine in the Lake District – log fires, warm beer and fresh air. Perfect.