High Maintenance

It does a man absolutely no good to curate a flattering wardrobe if it doesn’t look good on him because he has failed to maintain the cleanliness and quality of his clothing. Like I talk about in my philosophy and have addressed in countless other conversations and articles – the purpose of a man dressing well is to communicate his self-respect and command the respect of others. Women dress well for beauty, men dress well for respect.

A man cannot command that respect if he proves he is sloppy in his habits. In fact, as outlined in the Way of Men, Mastery is one of the four primary masculine virtues; and mastery over the world begins with mastery of oneself.

It’s not good contrast Game to have a well-made suit that’s wrinkled and covered in food crumbs. So, as part of buying your clothing, you also need to purchase the tools to maintain it. There’s too much information for me to put it all in one post, so I’ll break it down over the next few weeks by each article of clothing. Today we’re going to start with suits.

Cedar Chest

Having cedar in your closet or storage chest is the most important thing you can do to take care of your suits. It has a faint smell that isn’t just pleasing to people, it masks the scent of wool and helps deter moths from eating your suit. There’s nothing more frustrating than dropping more than $500 on a suit, having it tailored to fit you perfectly, and then pulling it out of storage the next year to find a hole in the shoulder from a month munching on it all winter long.

If you buy suits in seasonal weights and fabrics then you will obviously only be wearing them during a certain time of year. A tropical-weight wool suit in a nice tan color will look silly during the winter so you’ll want to keep it in storage. The best way to do that is with a cedar chest.

A cedar chest will keep your clothing dry and free up some closet space along with deterring moths from trying to going at it for six months. These come in almost any style and color you want and should set you back anywhere between $150 and $300. Your need will depend on a lot of things like climate and the number of suits that you have, but if you do any storage of wool clothing, one of these is a must.

Cedar Blocks

Pretty basic here. You keep these in your closet to help protect your clothing that’s in regular rotation.

If you have a chest and keep it anywhere besides your closet, moths are still going to try to eat the wool you have hanging up. So grab a few slabs of cedar from either a department store or the home improvement store to help keep the bugs at bay.

Hangers

That wire hanger you get from the dry cleaners just isn’t going to cut it when it comes to hanging your suits. There is too little surface area in relation to the extra weight of a jacket so it will alter the shape of the coat and even cut into the foam of your shoulder pads. A better option is to upgrade to wooden hangers.

 

The material is obviously a lot more forgiving than the metal of wire hangers and they’re made wider than your average plastic hanger, thereby giving you more surface area to spread the weight of the jacket over – helping it keep its shape. They also will look a lot more refined and masculine hanging in your closet. The type and color of the wood will vary and you can even get these in cedar to help further deter moths from attacking your clothing that isn’t in storage.

Suit Brush

On top of storage concerns, your suit is going to need some daily maintenance. Obviously you can’t just throw one of these in the washer if it gets dirty and having a suit regularly dry cleaned is going to end up doing some serious damage to the color of the suit, the integrity of the fibers, and its overall shape as well. Just like your health, prevention is the best cure when it comes to a suit. Buy a suit brush that has a lint patch on one side and regular brush fibers on the other.

Use the brush side every morning before you put your suit on and every night after it’s back on its hanger but before you put it away. It’s a quick, simple process that will keep your suit looking its best. If you have dandruff or dry skin, or tend to get smaller crumbs on your suit that the brush won’t pick up, just turn it over and use the lint patch. I have an extra one of these that I keep in my desk at work so I can keep on top of any extra lint that attaches itself to my lapels.

Your last-ditch effort for things like stains is to take your suit to the dry cleaner but you want to do this as rarely as possible.

Any other tips you guys have used to keep your suits clean?

PS. The month is more than halfway over so take advantage of the reduced price on Basic Consultations before they go back up.

Meet The Author


Tanner is the founder and primary author of Masculine Style. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife and two kids, and helps run Beckett & Robb - a men's clothing company built around custom suits and shirts.