5 Terrific Tailored Tips for Storing Suits

5 Terrific Tailored Tips for Storing Suits

By: Eric Mees

 | 

June 8, 2022

The frequency with which someone may need to don a suit may be on the decline, which is why it’s important to feel confident that when you store a suit, it will come out of storage undamaged and ready to wear. 

Take a look at our recommendations below, so you can feel confident in storing suits for when the need arises. There might also be some humor along the way, so loosen that tie, unbutton your waistcoat and settle in.

“Every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man”

Sharp Dressed Man, ZZ Top

A Brief and Wildly Inaccurate History of the Suit

According to Vogue, the three-piece suit came into existence in 1666. This is significant in that “666” is largely regarded as the sign of Satan in some religions and wearing a wool suit in summer is akin to one of Dante’s rings of hell, at least in this writer’s opinion. Anyway, it was King Charles II who added the vest to the mix and started the fashion trend.

Jump ahead a few centuries. Chances are if you’ve ever seen a TV show from the 1950s or ‘60s (or any episode of Mad Men), it’s likely the main (male) character was wearing a suit for just about everything: church, work, airplane travel, yardwork, plumbing. Didn’t matter—there was always a suit involved, and not too infrequently a whiskey, but that’s another story. Maybe that wasn’t necessarily 100% true in real life, but it seemed like it.

As counterculture started to engrain itself across America during the late ‘60s, the suit in some ways even became a de facto symbol of what hippies were protesting against. Of course, the disco era did nothing to help the image of the suit, with polyester that matched the colors of appliances, and lapels as wide as four-lane highways.

It’s hard to say when the true rebellion against suits started, but one harbinger began when workplaces started adopting “casual Friday” as an incentive for employees. In a few short years, that “Friday” morphed into everyday business casual, which gave rise to everything from chinos and an oxford to a nice pair of denims with a company-branded T-shirt.

Even the unofficial Wall Street corporate uniform morphed into a button-down collared shirt, with a Patagonia vest (at least until recently).

Of course, the recent pandemic pretty much put the suit to rest. Well, at least the bottom part, because who, honestly, needed to wear pants on all those Zoom calls?

Who Even Wears Suits?

Even as cultural norms and tastes evolve before our eyes, suits are still going to have a place in our modern-day society.

Weddings. Funerals. Lawyers. Car salesmen. Need I say more? (Considering the word count of these types of blog posts should be around 1,200, I guess I should say more.)

So, it’s important to arm yourself with a few strategies for storing suits. Here goes:

“I love to be a stranger at a wedding | Cause tuxedos don’t discriminate”

Tuxedos, Cold War Kids

1) Clean it and repair it

Picture this: you were just invited to a wedding. You haven’t worn a suit since that time you tried to figure out what Milkshake was about, and why boys kept showing up in Kelis’ yard. Fortunately, there’s no video evidence of that night. There is, however, plenty of circumstantial evidence in the form of sweat stains and torn seams on your suit. Now the wedding’s in a week and your tailor says it’ll take that long to get your suit back to presentable.

If only you’d had the foresight to send your suit to the dry cleaners and get it mended before you stuffed it in the back of your closet behind that fast-food restaurant polo you once wore for eight straight shifts because you were protesting minimum wage.

Tip: Dry Clean Your Suit – wool can absorb odors (sweat, cologne, etc) over time, so take it to the dry cleaner every once in a while. Just not too often, as repeated dry cleaning can also damage the fabric.  

2) Don’t eat my suit

Probably worse than finding a simple rip or burst seam would be to discover a moth or other creepy-crawly decided to have its lunch break with your jacket as the main course.

Tip: Keep the bugs away – There are some natural bug repellents that can be used, such as cedar or lavender. These are usually available in sachets or even cedar blocks that can be distributed about the closet.

3) Give it a good home

Even if you shopped the sale rack at Men’s Wearhouse, your suit still probably cost a pretty penny. So, the best chance of longevity is to store it correctly. Not everyone has a cedar chest, but a closet will suffice.

Tip: The darker the better –  The way-back of the closet is really the best place for a suit that you’re only going to wear periodically, as it will prevent any UV damage from sunlight. Don’t fold your suit; instead, hang it on a high-quality hanger, and drape a breathable cloth garment bag over it (don’t leave it in that dry cleaner bag!). This will keep the dust off and prevent mold or mildew from attacking your suit.

Bonus tip: If you need to get your suit ready for wearing, make sure to take it out at least 24 hours to air out a bit. Ideally, you should check it periodically to make sure it still fits and it’s still in good shape.

“You gotta look sharp”

Look Sharp, Joe Jackson

4) The peripherals

Shirts

Dress shirts should also be hung in the closet, preferably close to your suits since you already have deployed lavender or cedar to keep the moths at bay. Clean, mend and iron shirts before storing, and don’t leave a dry-cleaning bag on them in the closet. Like suits, dress shirts should also be stored on wooden hangers to prevent puckering and allow for airflow.

Ties

Ties are the real bridge between casual and dressy. Don’t believe me? Think about the vibe that you get from an oxford. Now imagine that same shirt with a bolo or a bowtie. Or a paisley print versus a regiment stripe. Because there are such a wide variety of ties—and because the number of ties a person owns probably outnumbers the number of suits—we compiled a whole blog on How to Store Ties.

Shoes

The best dress shoes are going to be leather, which means they need some special attention from time to time. First, make sure to clean and condition the leather. Use cedar shoe trees, then store them inside a felt bag in a cool, well-ventilated place. 

5) Long-term storage and suits

Admittedly, not everyone has room in their closet for everything they own, much less a collection of suits. The temptation might be to move your unworn suits to the attic or a basement, but resist! According to this blog, both areas can experience unsteady temperatures and wide swings in humidity, which can be bad for natural fibers. We’re not even going to mention the bugs.

Tip: If you’re in need of self-storage, consider a climate-controlled storage unit. The temperature in these types of units is regulated, which reduces humidity and helps mitigate damage from weather extremes. Although you should still follow the other storage tips in this blog—don’t fold suits, use a breathable garment bag, store on wooden hangers, etc.

In Conclusion of Suit Storage

As with all fashion, the popularity of suits will come and go, just like the style of suits will vary from season to season. Who knows, maybe your uncle’s ‘70s vintage Angels Flight disco leisure suit will come back in style.

If you’re investing in a suit that may only get worn a couple of times a year or less, make sure to follow our suit storage tips so it will be safe and sound, even if it’s out of sight.

And if you’re considering long-term storage in a storage facility, keep Store Space in mind!

Eric Mees

Writer who also enjoys cars, guitars and Mars bars.

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