Aftercare Linen – How to clean and care for linen suits

Linen is the fabric of choice when it comes to hot and humid weather. Favoured by gentlemen visiting the far reaching tropics of the world, the linen suit is a unique piece of clothing allowing them to stay comfortable and protected. Your linen suit will always be there to keep you cool as long as you treat it right.

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Characteristics
Linen is one of the oldest cloths man has created. Made out of the woven strands of the Flax plant, linen is both strong and durable. Flax is also the plant that early bowstrings were made out of. Linen makes some small sacrifice in softness to achieve great strength and breathability. This is because the weave of linen fabric is very loose. This loose weave also allows dyes to take hold in Linen easily, making it available in a wide array of different colours. Interestingly, linen is also the only fabric that will actually get stronger when wet, this is due to the water smoothing out the microscopic imperfections in the fabrics, allowing the weave to seamlessly move against each other when stretched, instead of snagging on each other and tearing.

Storage
Linen creases easily, and worse yet, it is notoriously difficult to iron flat. Linen is not affected too drastically by heat and humidity, however is still a natural material and a target for things like pests and mold. Best to still keep your linen garments in a cool and dry storage area. Much like other suits, keep it hung up and fully supported by the shoulders with enough space that it comes out freely when traveling to and from the wardrobe.

Cleaning
Linen is a very strong fabric and can withstand the pummel of the dry cleaners quite readily. That being said, still try to avoid taking your linen suit to the dry cleaners as much as possible. Shirts and trousers can be readily machine washed, the fabric is strong and will not run. Keep your washing machines settings to below 60 °C (140 °F) as an extra precaution. Your Clothing will shrink a little bit due to the fabric’s loose weave. While in the machine, the tumbling plus the heat will cause the strands to tighten up. Simply let your garments hang dry and they will return to near normal size. Do not use a dryer as the shrinking will be far more extreme. Once hung dry, if worn immediately, may still feel a bit tight, however a couple minutes of use will return it to normal size. When ironing your linen garments, patience is key. Turn up your iron to high heat and keep trying until those wrinkles disappear. Linen is a woven fabric so iron in different directions to make sure you are straightening out every single fiber!

Stains
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 effect. Linen Is tough, so thankfully you will not do too much damage to it. If the stain persists send it off to the drycleaners.

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Daily Use
Linen is very durable and can be worn as much as desired. Like the jungle explorers of old, simply dunk your linen into a cool stream and dry it by the camp fire and it will be fit to be worn another day. The only fault that wearing linen daily has is that linen has a very particular look and texture. It’s always best to mix up your wardrobe.

Travel
Your next trip to South East Asia or the Middle East would be incomplete without a linen suit. No need for special carrying cases, just gently place in the middle of your luggage, trying to avoid as few folds as possible. Wrinkling is inevitable but easily resolved. Once you are at your destination, send it to be ironed for a fresh look.

Cotton aftercare – suits and shirts

Cotton suits are perfect for those in hot and humid environments. It’s strong natural fibers offers a light fabric that is durable and versatile. Through its ease of cultivation and widespread appeal, cotton suits range from the ultra-economic to the highest of quality. Knowing proper cotton aftercare for your shirts and suits will prolong the life of your investments. Read on for what makes cotton unique and the dos and don’t of caring for your cotton suits or shirts.

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Characteristics
The cotton we know is processed from the flowers of the cotton plant. These buds are harvested from a field and fed through a machine which removes the seeds and other impurities to create the raw material for cloth. As cotton is so readily available, many apparel items are made from cotton, from jeans to suits, to shirts. This does not mean that all these items are equal, the cloth used to make cotton suits are finer and of higher quality, losing some of its durability in the process.

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This fine cloth however, is what makes a cotton suit breathable and airy, perfect for summer weathers. Cotton cloth at a microscopic level is much more chaotic than the rigid lines you would see in linen, for example. This means that the fabric easily creases and is highly absorbent of moisture.

Storage
Cotton suits and shirts need to be stored in a cool and dry environment. It is a natural fiber so in extremely unfavorable conditions, it will start to grow moldy and rot. When hanging your jackets in the closet, there is little you can do for them to avoid getting slightly wrinkled, especially around the sleeves. To do the best you can, make sure you have a full width shoulder on your hangar, and a thick dowel beam from which to hang your suit trousers upon. The full width shoulder hangar will help retain the shoulder shape and thus look better when worn again.

Shirts are fine on thin wire hangars as their shoulder seams line up nicely with the wire frame. During storage, it is likely that your trousers will lose its straight and clean edges, once again due to the characteristics of the fabric. If in a pinch, this will be hardly noticeable, but for special occasions a quick ironing or pressing of your trousers before wearing will return them to their former glory.

Cleaning
Treating your suit well will always increase its longevity, but thankfully cotton is one of the few fabrics that can really take a beating. Once again after daily use, a simple brush down with a suit brush will help get rid of any grime that has collected during everyday wear. Dry cleaning uses harsh chemicals, try to limit this to only about once or twice a year. Cotton suits tend to get very wrinkly, but respond very well to heat. Even a pair of cotton suit trousers left at the bottom of a hamper can be restored with a quick steaming. Steaming is a much more gentle and easier process than ironing, but ironing can be done until you buy yourself a steamer. Pressing is also viable for those in a rush, but constant use may damage areas around zippers and buttons. If you have a cheaper cotton suit, you could even machine wash the pants, just be sure to use the proper settings on your washer and hang it to dry. A drying machine may cause shrinkage. Once dry, steam to get rid of the wrinkles.

Stains
Stains are the easiest to banish when you act fast. First add water to the stained area to dilute the stain. Then with a tissue or paper towel, softly dab the stain to draw out the water and stain mixture. Be sure to be gentle, if you push too hard, you will just force the stain deeper into the fabric. Keep repeating this process until the stain is removed or it no longer has an effect. If you have any laundry detergent on hand, you can also add a small amount to the water.

Cotton is thankfully very absorbent, this will mean that water can seep into every inch of the fabric to tackle stains. Keep persisting and almost all stains can be removed through this process. If the stain is proving stubborn, or if covering a large part of your suit, send it to the dry cleaners as soon as you can. If the stain is just on the trousers, you could also consider machine washing.

Daily Use
Cotton is perfect for hot weather as it is light and breathable. It is also a very durable fabric, so you can wear with ease during your everyday wear. The only thing you should worry about is creasing. Try not to leave your suit jacket slack on top of a surface, keep it hung and if you can, supported at the shoulders. Of course, all these problems could be easily solved if you keep a portable fabric steamer in your office or car, to quick fix any wrinkles. A cotton suit is so durable in fact, that besides unsightly wrinkles, you could foreseeably wear a cotton suit everyday as long as weather allows and you are unafraid of fashion faux pas.

Travel
When travelling to a hot destination, the cotton suit is your best friend. As it is so easy to iron/steam and is such a light fabric, you can really squash it in your luggage with no major problems. Just be careful you aren’t snagging anything on the zippers or buttons and you are good to go. No need for any fancy suit carrying travel devices. Once you get to your hotel, a quick iron/steam and it will be good as new.

With proper care, your cotton suit and shirts will clad you during many summers to come. Cotton suits are a necessity in our home town of Hong Kong. With such hot and humid weather most of the year, cotton is the fabric of choice. At Senszio our master craftsmen apply their 3 generations of experience into making the finest cotton suits for the discerning gentleman. Book your next appointment and check our touring schedule here.

Aftercare silk – how to clean and care for silk suits

Nothing will be more prized in a wardrobe than a silk suit. It will never lose its luster, staying soft and shiny for generations, allowing it to be passed from father to son as an heirloom. The silk in your suit is akin to spider silk and retains some of its legendary durability and strength, making it straight-forward to care for. Silk suits are best for luxurious events and dinner jackets and is blended in many ways to achieve various effects.

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Characteristics of Silk
Silk is laboriously extracted from the silk worm. It takes 2500 worms to make enough silk for one suit, which lends to its expensive price tag. Silk has great absorbency, keeping you dry and cool in warm weather. Silk also does not conduct heat well, making it also a lightweight insulating layer that can be worn in the winter. This is due to the fibers being made from protein, different to that of other natural fibers like wool and cotton. The proteins lend it great strength and durability, able to stretch up to 30% of its original size with no lasting damage. However, this strength does make it difficult for colours to stay in the silk. Something as simple as exposure to light is enough to fade the colour in the fabric.

Silk Blends
Silk/Cotton and Silk/Wool blends should be treated as silk. These blends are usually done for cosmetic purposes, and do not add any physical strength. It could be argued that blends make the cloth less durable, since silk is far stronger than the fabrics blended with them. Some more intricate blends may also create points of weakness along the seams in which the cloth has been weaved together. When taking your silk blend garment to the silk cleaners, be sure to inform them exactly what blend it is.

Storage
Silk thankfully is resistant to the elements. It is unaffected by mildew, so humidity in low levels should not be a concern. Silk is also naturally resistant to creasing, but do keep it on a proper hangar with enough width to properly support the shoulders. Keep silk suits covered with a suit bag to keep insects at bay. Insect repellents will emit odors that could taint your clothing. When taking your silk suit out of storage, it should be ready to wear immediately. This versatility has made it the clothing of kings for centuries, but if you do need to iron out the smallest of creases, be sure the fabric is damp as it will deteriorate at heats over 160°C / 320°F. When in doubt, use a steamer.

Cleaning Silk
You probably won’t be wearing silk suits often, so thankfully cleaning can be kept to a minimum. After use, give your suit a gentle brush down to rid any small particles of dust. Dry cleaning uses harsh chemicals, on such a treasured garment, this should be avoided at all costs. Be sure to research your silk cleaners thoroughly and spare no expense if you really need a deep cleaning. Do not use just any commercial dry cleaner. Ask around or read some reviews online to find a trustworthy and skilled dry cleaner. When it comes to ironing be sure to use low heat on damp cloth. The protein that makes up strands of silk will deform with high heat (imagine cooking a steak). Steamers will not prove very effective as silk retains too much moisture leading to soggy clothing.

Stains
The reason for silk’s public image of fragility is its susceptibility to stains. Not that stains are impossible to remove, but spot treating on silk clothing will only make things worse. Silk is very poor at retaining its colour, any spot treating will fade the surrounding area, causing an unsightly patch in your clothing. Use a dry cloth to very softly soak up any remaining moisture. Do not press into the fabric. Once home, take your stained silk and gently bathe it in a cold bucket with a few drops of liquid detergent. Use only a product formulated for silk. Agitate the garment in the tub for a few minutes, be sure not to rub the fabric to vigorously in any one area. Hang your garment to dry until it is just damp enough to iron. If the stain persists, send it to your silk cleaners.

Daily Use
Silk is great at absorbing sweat in the summer, and as a thin insulating layer in winter. Using silk as an underlayer for these purposes are fine for everyday use. They won’t get stained if under your clothing. For Silk suits save them for special occasions. The sheen of silk is eye catching and exotic, best saved for limelight moments. You wouldn’t drive your classic sports car to dinner, nor would you wear a silk suit. When wearing your silk suit, be careful of stains. That being said, don’t let your silk suit hide in the closet out of fear of damaging it. Wear it and make sure people see it!

Travel
It is important to pack your silk suit correctly to avoid abrasive damage. Use a polyester suit bag with a smooth finish, and be sure to fit the suit inside properly. If you got your suit from Senszio, the suit bag that it came with is sufficient until you switch to a travel specific suit bag. Make sure that you do not fold the suit more than once and the hangar is uniform in width throughout. Thankfully Silk does not wrinkle easily, once you reach your destination, take it out and hang it properly.

At Senszio we craft suits that emit a timeless sheen, even when not made from silk. Our tailors honed their skills over 3 generations to offer top quality garments to you, the discerning gentleman. Come visit us and book an appointment for the next time we are in your city.

Wool aftercare – prolonging the life of your suit

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.

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Understanding the characteristics of wool
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.

Storage
Let’s start here assuming you have a new suit or have cleaned yours since your last outing. Make sure to 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 for safety. Wrap a cloth garment bag around it and you’re really doing it right. 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.

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Daily Use
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.

Cleaning
If you wear suits to work frequently, you’ll want to pay close attention here. Keeping your suit clean by following a few best practices will help to increase its longevity. A wool 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 with a fabric brush is recommended to get this detritus off your suit. The brushing process is gentle and does not use any harsh chemicals. These brushes are relatively small and can easily be thrown in your suit case on a long business trip. Pay special attention to higher contact areas like the sleeves and trouser legs.

For deep cleans, never stuff it in your washing machine! 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. Wool is self-cleaning to a certain degree with the keratin of the wool helping to break down sweat, for instance. If you are religious in brushing down your suit and storing it properly to let it breathe, this should be enough.

In short, regular care with brushing and quickly addressing any spill or smudge then Dry clean once or twice a year for that deep clean.

Stains
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.

Travel
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. Keeping it safely inside your Senszio suit bag, fold it once from top to bottom, and place it into your suitcase. If space is tight, pop the shoulders inside-out, fold the suit in half making sure both lapels line up with each other. Then either fold it in half from bottom to top or do a loose roll from the bottom up. Finally, fold the trouser legs together and wrap the trousers around the folded or rolled suit to finish it off. This will help prevent creases and wrinkles on the suit surface, especially in the shoulders. Once you arrive at your destination, hang it up as soon as you can on a proper hanger. Also, most hotel concierges should be happy to help you steam and de-wrinkle your suit.

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Pressing
If possible, use steam. Investing in a steamer can go a long way if you’re serious about prolonging the life of your suits. Using a dry iron will burn the fibers and add an unnatural sheen to the material. If your steamer isn’t cutting it, take the suit to the cleaners and have them press it. If you store your suit properly and give it time to bounce back to it’s unwrinkled self, steaming and pressing may not be necessary.

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.

Proper Suit Care

Caring for your suit and garments is easy, and something that every aspiring gentleman should know how to do. With proper upkeep, everything from your bespoke Senszio suit to your trusty off-the-rack blazer will be looking sharp and trim.

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Storage

    • Suits:

    • Make sure that your suit is hung upright.
    • The hanger should be thick enough to fully support the shoulders, and long enough that the shoulder crease does not hang off the side. The Senszio hanger that comes with your suit will maintain your bespoke fit best.
    • There should be nothing in the pockets as the extra weight can damage the seams.
    • For long term keeping, a suit bag will keep your garments fresh.
    • Your wardrobe itself should not be cramped, and tall enough that the bottom of your suits are allowed to hang free. If you can take one suit out of your wardrobe without disturbing the others, you have enough space.
    • Shirts:

    • If storing in a wardrobe, use a hanger that is respectfully thick. A wire frame hanger will leave an unsightly crease in your shoulder.
    • If storing in a drawer, make sure that they are not packed too tightly that the collars will be squashed.
    • Drawer liners will also keep your shirts fresh.
    • Trousers:

    • Draping off the cross bar on a hanger is fine. Keep matching trousers with corresponding suits on the same hanger for ease. Just make sure the hanger is strong enough to support both.
    • When on the cross bar, make sure the weight is distributed evenly to avoid your trousers falling off, and creating stress along the fabric. Generally, the belt looped side should be slightly shorter than the pant legs.
    • If storing in a drawer, overpacking will cause a crease along the folds. Leave space.
    • Much like the suit jacket, make sure there is nothing in the pockets.

With proper storage, your vintage pinstripe suit will be in top form for this season’s fall/winter fashion.

 

Cleaning

    • Suits:

    • Dry cleaning uses heavy chemicals that can cause lasting damage to your suit. Of course, the cost is worth it if you are trying to get rid of unsightly stains.
    • After a day’s work, use a brush to gently clean dirt that has accumulated. Pay special attention to the collars and cuffs, these areas tend to trap debris
    • Waiting too long for a deep clean is also detrimental, if it has seen constant use for 6 months, send it to the dry cleaners.
    • Shirts:

    • If unavoidable, ask your launderer to take it easy during the pressing, they might come out a little less crisp, but the delicate care will extend the life of your shirts.
    • Unbutton your shirt and pre-treat any deep stains with detergent or a stain removing pen.
    • Place in the washer on delicate, if dealing with a particularly filthy shirt, use normal.
    • After the spin cycle, take the shirt out to dry immediately before the deep-set wrinkles become too troublesome for an iron.
    • Dry by placing them flat out or on a hanger. Avoid a drying machine, the heat will cause colors to fade and damaged fabric.
    • Once relatively dry, iron them and fold/hang for storage.
    • Trousers:

    • Much like suits, take them to the dry cleaners if used heavily.
    • A brushing down otherwise will be fine.
    • Inspect the bottoms of the pant legs, mud and dirt stains may be hiding out of sight. Use a damp toothbrush to rub away any caked mud. Don’t use too much water as the mud will dissolve into the fabric.
    • For that slick crease down the front; and if you don’t have your own trouser press, use an iron to gently create the fold in your trousers. Patience is key, not a hot iron.

Choosing a good dry cleaner is important, they are taking care of your treasured garments after all. Avoid dry cleaners that outsource their cleaning to a larger facility, try to find somewhere that does everything in-house. If they only do dry cleaning and no laundry services, even better. The owner should be trustworthy and upfront with their costs; you don’t want them holding your suits hostage!

Once you have a freshly cleaned suit, you could do nothing worse than put it into a dirty closet. A dirty home will mean a dirty suit, so try to keep your wardrobe free from dust and dirt.

 

Travel

How to shine your shoes

How To Shine Your Shoes

If you’re in the army, chances are you’ll get punished if you can’t see your face in your shoes. If you work in a London, Paris or New York bank or legal practice, you probably won’t face a court martial, but freshly shined shoes set off a bespoke suit nicely and extend the life of the shoes.

There’s no right or wrong way to go about a good shoe shine. Some people swear by a bit of simple spit and polish; some even use a cigar lighter to burn the top coat of polish. But you’ll probably want to take the middle ground. Here are the six steps you’ll need to follow.

Step 1: Spread out some newspaper on your table top. Shoe polish tends to travel and this will minimize the collateral damage.

Step 2: Remove any loose dirt with a special horsehair brush. If you find you need water to do this effectively, give your shoes time to dry before moving to the next stage.

Step 3: Smear all of your shoes with lots of polish. Use a shoe-polish brush and try to ensure the polish you choose matches your shoe color closely. Get the polish in the seams and in all the nooks and crannies of your shoes. Wait a quarter of an hour for your polish to dry.

Step 4: Using a different brush – your horsehair shine brush – brush the shoes with enthusiasm. This will remove any excess polish, leaving only a small film.

Step 5: For maximum impact with that bespoke suit, it’s important that the toe and heel have a bit of extra shine. Dampen a cotton ball and add a bit of polish. Smear this on the toe and heel in a circular motion.

Step 6: Repeat step five till you get the shine you want, using a new cotton ball and removing excess polish each time. But if you’re in New York City (NYC), there’s no shortage of street shoe-shiners. In fact, the respected blog The Fine Young Gentleman recently sang the praises of New York City shoe-shine outfit A Shine & Co., which recently opened up in New York’s Chelsea Market.

11 stains: How to remove them from your business suit

Stains How To Remove From Suit

You’re due in a meeting with a new client in an hour. You’ve just sloshed coffee onto your business suit. It’s inconvenient and just what you don’t need when you’re trying to make a good impression. Luckily, there’s a quick-fix for most stains. Here’s what to do:

  1. Coffee. Never use soap. Drop some glycerin on the stain. Leave for a few minutes. Wash in lukewarm water. For older stains, mix the glycerin with egg yolk.
  2. Pen ink. Rub with alcohol-soaked cotton.
  3. Fruit. Use lemon juice.
  4. Fat. Rub gently with salt.
  5. Blood. Cold water will move fresh stains. If it’s dried, a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution will work.
  6. Chocolate. Gentle rubbing with glycerin followed by rinsing with warm water.
  7. Grass. Create a solution from two parts alcohol, three parts hot water and one part ammonia. Rub gently.
  8. Make-up. Apply a pure-alcohol-soaked cloth.
  9. Paint and shoe polish. For oil-based paint: apply turpentine gently, then rub with soapy cloth.
  10. Lipstick. Rub sugared water on stain. Take off with a damp cloth.
  11. Wine. Sprinkle salt on fresh stains, then rub with lemon juice and soap. Rinse and repeat.

We hope you find our advice useful. Elsewhere on our website, you can find information on caring for your business suit, selecting fabrics for business suits and on how to spot exceptional tailoring.