The proper way to store a suit is as essential as buying the suit itself.
Most men don’t realize it and end up in the agony of losing the suit earlier than expected.
I’ll save you from trouble with this ultimate suit storage guide.
Day-to-Day Suit Storage
If you stay dressed and wear suits to work, day-to-day suit storage is essential for you.
A light cleaning every other day, using suit covers, and caring about hangers; are all part of the right way to store a suit.
However, over time the tedium of storing too many suits overcomes the passion for the suit.
As a result, the suit gets neglected and does not get the storage or care it deserves.
But with these upcoming practical tips in mind, suit storage can become a ritual for you.
Remove Dirt and Dust
Dirt and dust are among the biggest rivals of your suit. These absorb sweat, nourish bacteria, and can cause damage to the suit fabric.
The best way to get rid of this dirt and dust is to use a suit brush.
And gently brush it whenever you take off your suit to hang in the closet.
Some gentlemen take one step ahead and brush the suit before wearing it, myself amongst them. However, it’s a personal preference.
How often should you do this process? For regular suit wearers, once a week is enough.
I think this is the most critical part of day-to-day suit storage. Therefore, I suggest being a little proactive here.
I recommend doing it as a habit because 10-second brush cleaning can add probably a decade to your suit’s life.
Use a Suit Hanger & Breathable Suit Cover
Most tailors and manufacturers are generous enough to provide good-quality suit hangers.
If you have one of those, you’re good to go. Make sure the hanger has thick side support for the jacket’s shoulders.
However, you can purchase an even better wooden suit hanger.
In addition to providing good support to your suit, this absorbs unnecessary moisture and aroma. Plus, the wood hangers give a feeling of luxury.
For a suit cover, go with a breathable one in fabric and not with the cheapest plastic.
Most men, however, don’t keep the cover on the suit if they wear it often.
You can do it if the closet is clean or if you brush the suit regularly. But to stay on the safe side, keep the suit in a cover.
Hang in Dry & Clean Wardrobe
A suit spends more time in the wardrobe than on the body. And if the suit’s natural habitat is not clean, it will not last long.
So, what you can do is maintain a clean wardrobe. This means keeping things in the closet with care and not squishing and pushing clothes.
It’s also important that your wardrobe should be moisture and dust free.
Lastly, if you have an open wardrobe, pay special attention to dust and always hang the suit with a cover.
Long-Term Suit Storage
Whether you own a single suit or a collection based on fabrics and colors, long-term suit storage is everyone’s need.
It’s because, without proper long-term storage, the suit’s life quickly shortens.
However, the good news is that you don’t have to be very proactive about things here.
Instead, follow a schema that will bring good outcomes. You will also notice some similar things between the day-to-day and long-term storage.
However, the order might be different.
Dry-Clean Your Suit
In long-term storage, you’ll need to remove all stains, dust, and germs before you store a suit.
Drying-cleaning your suit is the way to go here.
But note that dry cleaning is not always as lucrative as it sounds.
In fact, the chemicals in the drying cleaning process are not very good for your suit fabric.
Therefore, avoid excessive dry cleaning. Some may recommend dry cleaning the suit after four or five wears.
However, a safe limit for suit storage would be once per season.
The alternative to dry cleaning is to “sponge and press” before you store a suit.
First, the damp cloth brush goes down the suit jacket, 90-degree to the fibers. This makes the fibers of the suit ready for steaming.
Press the suit jacket and trousers with an iron afterward. Also, a garment steamer can replace the iron.
However, only use this method if the suit is visibly clean for storage. Otherwise, dry-clean and then store it.
Use High-Quality Wooden Hangers
It’s time for the plastic and wire hangers to be out of the picture. Instead, replace these with well-built and durable wooden hangers.
As we are talking about long-term storage, the smell-soaking feature of wooden hangers would be helpful.
In addition, these will help the suit stay natural without putting tension on the fabric.
For heavier suits like wool, wooden hangers are inevitable, as they never yield or bend.
Lastly, you will have insect-resistant effects of wood hangers, which help store suits for a very long time.
Alternative: Fold the Suit
For some reason, if you can’t hang the suit in your closet, fold it.
Some are concerned that folding might damage the suit, cause wrinkles, etc. But nothing much happens.
In fact, if done right, folding the suit is equally useful for storage as a hanging, if not better.
Folding also provides additional benefits, like occupying less space in your closet. Also, the suit is less susceptible to dust and moisture.
Also, if you’re storing a suit for a long time, let’s say six months, folding is always a superior choice.
However, hanging the suit is probably better if you need it in a month or two.
Use a Breathable Garment Bag to Store a Suit
Unlike day-to-day suit storage, a garment bag is no longer a choice. Instead, it’s a necessity.
Therefore, go with a high-quality breathable garment bag.
Avoid plastic garment bags because the surrounding moisture would stay in the suit jacket. This can affect the jacket quality.
In addition, any garment left in a plastic bag for a long time can cause yellowing of the garment.
Multi-suit garment bags are available. However, I am not a big fan of those.
Unless you’re traveling or short on storage, you should prefer a single garment bag per suit.
Use Repellent to Protect the Suit From Moths
Moths are usually present in moist areas and old closets. But you can use repellents to get rid of moths and other insects.
Products from natural plants like Cedrus (aka cedar), for example, are excellent moth repellers.
However, leaving suits with cedar in direct contact for months at a time can dry out the fabric. So, be careful with its use.
Lavender is another natural repellent and will keep insects away from your suit. Plus, it doesn’t have any side effects.
Mothball repellents are available, too. But these might damage the suit jacket in the long run.
Store the Suit in a Closet
Ideally, you should store a suit in a closet, cedar chest, or the back of the wardrobe.
A dark, dry, clean, and moisture-free closet is best for suit storage. It’s best if the temperature is somewhat cool (65-70°F or 18-20°C)
Things contracting these factors will affect the quality of the suit.
For example, the bright light causes the fabric to fade. Similarly, a damped environment will cause mold to grow.
A good closet to store a suit is vital to keep moths and insects away, again emphasizing the previous concept.
Other Items that Need Storing
The suits are the most obvious item to be stored. Similarly, you should also store items that are either seasonal or need extra care.
These include year-round garments like dress shirts or the ones that will require special storage (dress shoes, for example).
Dress shirts are a relatively easy storage item. The first thing you’ll need is to get it washed.
Once you get a clean shirt, there are many ways to store it.
First is that you iron the shirt and let it hang on a wooden collar. Also, you can cover the shirt with a garment bag.
The problem is that over time, gravity impacts, and the shirt will not remain in its original shape.
The second method is to iron the shirt and fold it nicely. Then, place this shirt in a nice garment or closet.
Finally, the third is you circularly fold the cleaned shirt without ironing it. It’s a good practice when storing for a long time.
Dress shoes need a little extra care for storage. To start, clean the shoe with a damp and dry cloth one by one.
Then, polish the shoe with saddle soap or leather conditioner. Also, clean the inside of the shoes.
If you can, allow the dress shoes to sit and deodorize for some time. However, don’t go with shoe trees here.
It’s because the cedar in these shoe trees can damage the leather. Alternatively, you can issue acid-free tissue paper.
Lastly, the best practice for actual storage is keeping the shoe in its original box. Or, you can place them in boot racks.
Before storage, you should have clean ties. Then, you can use a tie rack to store it.
And if you don’t have the rack, roll the tie and place it in one of the closet’s drawers.