Video: Maintaining and caring for your suit

Friday, November 9th 2018
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The Campaign for Wool recently asked me to help them with a series of videos educating people on caring for wool products.

Chaired by HRH Prince Charles, the Campaign is a charity that communicates how environmentally friendly and sustainable wool is (particularly compared to plastics).

Wool Week took place last month, with a stand in Covent Garden showing how wool can be washed and deal with stains. I spoke for a while on stage, as well as Patrick Grant, Jeremy Hackett and others.

You can read about the Campaign and wool's attributes here.

 

 

Our plan in the series is to cover different aspects of caring, cleaning and repairing - of both tailoring and knitwear.

The first, above, was filmed at Henry Poole a few weeks ago. There is a fair amount of overlap with the video we did with Richard Anderson a few years ago, but beyond this the films will cover new territory.

As ever, comments and questions welcome below.

Thanks.

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Kirill Dashkovskiy

Is that the new Budd shirt? The collar looks great!

Anonymous

Great stuff! Moths are the bane of my life, all comments welcome on that front

P Lewis

Hi,

I like your tie Simon; where did you get it from please?

Thanks,

Paul

DE

Hi Simon, I enjoyed this! I’ve been a customer of Anthony’s since he ran the Turnbull & Asser concession in Harrods and he has a broad knowledge of the industry. My tailors have all told me that very little does more damage to the fabric in a suit (off the peg or bespoke) than dry cleaning. Excessive heat can shrink stitches and even alter the fit of a suit, hard pressing can crush fabric and give it an unpleasant shiny appearance and poor pressing technique will cause puckering and indentations around stitched areas. I look forward to the rest of this series of videos.

Bobby

I’d like to know more about dry cleaning. It’s something of a black box to most of us. Assuming one sends one’s suit to a high-end dry cleaner’s, what solvents would they use? Is the suit soaked, sprayed all over, or sprayed only in specific spots? Wouldn’t the solvents dissolve the natural oils in the wool fibres? That can’t be good for the suit, can it? And what about the viscose lining? Surely if you can’t wash silk ties, you shouldn’t wash viscose either?

Given my abysmal ignorance, I choose not use dry cleaning. I’ve had excellent results with a sponge and a little vinegar (mostly on the armpits and such, to get rid of sweat stains). The odd stain, if of a biological nature (I mean food, wine, or, ahem, the results of the latter), I spot-clean with soapy water.

Mud, I just brush off when dry.

The biggest enemy, as I see it, are oil stains and chewing gum from sitting on Tube seats etc. And candle wax is a tough one.

Michael Norman

Response to Bobby & readers. Dry cleaning is a process where the garment is put into a dry cleaning machine (think big washing machine) the solvent/solution mostly used is Perchloroethylene/ Hydrocarbon. The solution does not damage or strip fabrics of there oils, as a retuxurising agent is used. Its only operator or the hand finisher that can damage the item not the actual process. Dry cleaning does not shrink, removes all diesel pollutants and everyday soiling, chewing gum, oil, grease, wax etc. Hope this clears up the mystery of dry cleaning. it goes in dry, it comes out dry hence dry cleaned

Anon

“Wool Week took place last month, with a stand in Covent Garden….”

Thats strange. I work at the end of Neal St and walk through Covent Garden to and from work every day and never saw it.

hugh

Is everyone who’s into menswear also into smooth jazz? Would like to see one of these with an 80s punk soundtrack.

Anonymous

Wholly inspired by this.

Suggestions for future videos would be;

How to tie shoelaces optimally
Getting the right amount of shirtsleeve showing under your sweater cuff
Matching shoe and sock color

Thanks!

Richard T

No, real punk was gone by the 80s. How about the real stuff from the 70s – some Johnny Thunders, perhaps, or Subway Sect? I mean, if Iggy Pop can sell insurance….

Now who would be the best tailor for bespoke bondage trousers and a “God Save the Queen” t-shirt….? And would Simon model them?

Nicholas

As a particular fan of wool, most especially flannel and milano knitwear, I’m excited to see this. Why had I never heard of the Campaign for Wool?

Jose

Any recommendations on where to pick up a quality brush without blowing the budget to much? Preferably for someone in the States.

Tony Lupton

Kent also makes some good clothes brushes. Some expensive, some not so.

Anonymous

Rundown on the outfit Simon (please)?

Andrey

Hi Simon, many thanks for a useful video, as always.
On the suit bags point, given that the suit needs to dry after a wear, does it mean that one should avoid putting it into a suit bag right after one takes it off and puts it on a hanger? I.e. should it stay in the closet without the suit bag on for a couple of days?

Dario

Frequent rotation would be once a week?
By the way, great video!!!

Jay

Simon, or anyone from Melbourne out here. Could someone point me to a trustable dry clean and/or sponge and press place in Melbourne? Thank you.

Tung

Hi Simon,

Do you think brushes for cashmere also work for suede? I’ve been looking for a brush for my suede jacket and I’m not sure regular brushes for suede shoes do the job, given the jacket needs more delicate care?

Ale Vog

Great work, thank you from Italy!

Sandoval

Thank you for posting this video dear Simon.

After many years and many suits in the bespoke experience, I shall maybe add some advices.

– I never dry clean suits. I only did it once, on a seersucker jacket, for a really poor result. In case of non oily stain, I use perchlo by myself, carefully. In case of oil or grease stain, I use an italian product, in powder, named “saponaria”. Talcum is also very effective, as well as terre de Sommières. Apply generously, let the powder suck the stain, after 24 hours brush strongly.

– Don’t neglect the steam ! Very important as anti-crease, renew and revigorate the fiber of the fabric, and gives back the tri dimensional aspect that you mentionned. Ideal when travelling.

– At the end of the day, hang the suit in your balcony to let it passed the night outside. Fresh air and morning dew will repump the cloth.

Those little manipulations always gave me good results, and i still wear my first suit made more than 20 years ago. Looks and feels like out of the tailor.

P. S. Wonderful glen DB Simon. One of my favorite of yours. Not THE favorite because of the 4 (and not 6) buttons.

😉

AG

This is an excellent video, Simon. You covered a variety of points. Some feedback, in case it’s helpful: it’d be great knowing which products in the video are being used, potentially via superimposing info on the video (additionally or alternatively, a few recommendations of those products would be helpful).

Finally, it’d be nice to get clarification if the recommendations in this video are only for wool or for all natural fibers. For example, should I only try to wear my cotton trousers 1x a week as well?

Thanks!

JBD

Absolutely fantastic video. Every time that I said to myself “what about this?”, you covered it next. I battle with moths as my closet has a window and I think the little buggers find their way in. I think the brushing etc can help keep the dirt etc off that they love to eat. Thanks!

Michael Norman

Moths only eat and make holes where food or drink has been spilt, the best natural moth repellent is conkers/ horse chestnut, free and last the whole year. All the stately homes of England use this method deterrent

Anonymous

I have a question to the expected lifetime of a suit and I know this is probably a tough question that can’t be answered generally. Therefore I don’t expect a definitive answer from you Simon, just a personal guess.
In the video Simon Cundey said that Henry Poole expects their suits to last a decade and a second pair of trousers doubles the lifetime of a suit.
Assuming I care correctly for my suits, have two pairs of trousers for each suit, have a decent rotation so that a suit is worn not more than once a week and most suits are around 11/12oz (only some high-twist suits for really hot days), can I expect a suit to last at least 20 years?

My second question is an even tougher question and maybe impossible to answer but perhabs you have an idea. What is the minimum number of suits one needs for his daily business routine to ensure that the suits last for the rest of one’s life (such as the suits form Giovanni Agnelli etc.)?

Anonymous

In another post you said, “unless there are particular emergencies with stains, I tend to have my suits cleaned every two years, but pressed every year.” I would like to know how many suits (minimum number) should be in rotation for such a cleaning and pressing routine?

I wear a suit 5 days a week and have at the moment 7 (all season) and 2 high-twist suits in rotation for work. Is that sufficent for dry cleaning every two years? In contrast to pressing, I never really know when it’s time for cleaning unless it’s obvious.

Anonymous

Would you recommend pressing twice a year in my case as I don’t have really separated seasonal wardrobes?

After how many wears do you tend to have your flannel suits and trousers pressed? I’d like to add a flannel suit to my rotation.

Anonymous

Thanks a lot.

Do you have a recommendation for a trouser press?

How often do you press your flannel pants and how often do you press your worsted wool trousers?

Lindsay McKee

When hanging my suit or jacket in my wardrobe, I keep it buttoned. Is that correct or does it matter?

Lindsay McKee

Many thanks for that.
Lindsay

Anonymous

Ideally, a suit should only be worn once a week. I wonder if a suit’s lifespan is noticeably reduced if you wear it a second time a week? I assume that a suit can be worn “more often” twice a week with a second pair of trousers.

One theoretical question: Assuming that someone wears suits differently often each week, from none to four times, how many suits would you recommend to someone like that? Four to avoid wearing a suit twice or two worn twice a week from now and then?

Anonymous

Which Kent clothes brush would you recommend? I’m a little confused by the descriptions on the kent website and recommendations from others who suggest either CP6, CG1, CC20, or CS1B. So practically all of them.