The wool suit is a common piece in everyone’s wardrobe. It is the everyday work horse being comfortable in both summer and winter. Due to its versatility it is usually the first suit we purchase. A good wool suit is a timeless piece of men’s fashion and will last you decades if proper aftercare is given.
Wool is a natural fiber that is tough and insulating. The fibers have millions of micro threads that create small pockets which air will naturally seep into. This creates a buffering layer of air that keeps you warm in the winter. These pockets also make the fabric very breathable, a gust of wind will also seep through cooling you in the summer. A lower thread count in a wool suit will usually mean it is thicker and better at insulating warmth. As the thread count increases, the fabric will be more orderly, and resulting in a sheen finish and a slimmer profile. These suits are more suitable for the summer, the thinness allowing for wind to easily go through the fabric. High thread counts will also be less durable and require extra care. If your suit has a high thread count, you will need to be extra careful and gentler than you would a thick wool coat.
Store wool in a cool, dry place. It is a natural fiber and like all natural things, heat and moisture do not equal longevity. Your wool suit should be hung in a wardrobe. Make sure that the hangar you use is wide enough to fully support the shoulders, a thin hangar will leave a crease line. Wool trousers can be hung over the hangar cross bar or placed folded as long as there is no considerable weight upon it. Wool is breathable so any scents or aromas in your wardrobe will transfer to your suit. If you are worried about moths, Cedar hangars are a natural way to deter pests, and dehumidifying packs will help keep away the moisture that pests enjoy.
Keeping your suit clean will help to increase its longevity. A wool suit tends to want to trap small particles of dust and grime between its fibers. Especially wool suits that have a smaller thread count. A good brushing is recommended to get this detritus off your suit. The brushing process is gentle and does not use any harsh chemicals. Pay special attention to higher contact areas like the sleeves and trouser legs. Dry cleaning is an option if your suit is very dirty, but try to avoid over doing it. Dry cleaning uses very intensive solutions to get your suit clean, and will wear out your garments over excessive cycles. Try to limit dry cleaning your suit to only once or twice a year. If you are religious in brushing down your suit and storing it properly, this should be enough.
When it comes to stains, you need to act fast. This is to prevent the stain from drying out and setting in. Your goal is to add water to the stain in controlled amounts using a tissue to gently mix with the stain. Then you will use another tissue to absorb the water along with the stain in a soft dabbing motion. Keep adding water and absorbing again until the stain is removed, or no longer has an affect. Wool is a very heat sensitive fabric, so do not use hot water, or any source of heat to dry it out. As the fibers carry lots of air pockets within them, using pressure will only push the stain further into the fabric. When dabbing with a tissue be sure to be very light and gentle. If you have any wool-safe washing detergents, you can also add that to the water. Do not use any bleach or acidic treatments. Once clean, be sure to let your garment dry flat. This is to ensure that your suit does not warp. Any stain that resist your efforts should be sent to the dry cleaners as soon as possible.
Try to keep your suit supported by the shoulders as much as you can. If taking off your jacket, the least you can do is hang it on the back of a chair, or better on a hangar or coat rack. If you are trying to get wrinkles out of your suit, the best way is using steam. Wool is very sensitive to heat and the gentle action of a steamer over an iron, will extend your suit’s life. Daily wear and tear is unavoidable, you will be walking, sitting, sweating in your suit after all. Wool’s fabric structure is slightly forgiving in this way, allowing for a degree of stretching and flexing. This is part of what makes it a good everyday wearer. When it comes to suit longevity however, there is one simple way to double the life of your suit. Don’t wear it every day. Try to rotate your suits in and out, its best to have more than one look, and more than one suit anyway.
When travelling there are many fantastic cases and contraptions to carry your suit safely, but in a squeeze, a regular suit case will do. When packing a suit, remember that the less folds the better. If you can fit the suit trousers in with only one fold, then do it. For your jacket, fold it inside out, with the suit fabric on the outside. This will help prevent creases and wrinkles on the suit surface, especially in the shoulders. Once you arrive at your hotel, the concierge should be happy to help you steam and de-wrinkle your suit.
With gentle aftercare, your wool suit will serve you for many years. But just in case you want another suit, you can always come to us at Senszio. Our 3 generation master tailors are artisans in their craft and produce suits favoured by the influential and wealthy. Check our tour schedule here.