How to care for your formalwear

How to care for your formalwear

A morning suit is a significant sartorial investment and something that you’ll wear on only the most special of occasions, so although it won’t be subject to much wear and tear, it will be in storage for the best proportion of its lifetime. There’s nothing a clothes moth likes more than a big chunk of soft wool hanging untouched for months or even years at a time so one needs to be mindful about how to look after a morning suit.

CHESHAM BLACK MORNING COAT

CHESHAM BLACK
MORNING COAT

ROYAL ASCOT STRIPE TROUSER

ROYAL ASCOT
STRIPE TROUSER

RUST IKAT SILK DOUBLE BREASTED 8 BUTTON SHAWL LAPEL WAISTCOAT

RUST IKAT SILK
DOUBLE BREASTED SHAWL
LAPEL WAISTCOAT

When it’s hanging, you should always use a suit bag (we'd be delighted to provide you one if you're short - just get in touch!). This is your first line of defence against bugs and dust and will ensure the structure of the jacket remains tidy and uncreased. We would also recommend using cedar balls or lavender sachets in the bag just as a precaution. Try to avoid using moth balls as you’ll have a mighty job trying to rid your suit of the smell when you eventually come to wearing it again and the last thing you want at a wedding or smart occasion is for people screwing up their noses wondering what on earth the pong is. Morning suit trousers can be hung on the horizontal bar of the same hanger, beneath the jacket.

If you are planning on storing the morning suit away for months at a time, when you do come back to wearing it, it’s always a good idea to give it a steam first. This is because the heat of the water vapour will get into the fibres and lift them, bringing your suit back to life from the hibernation it was just in.

Once steamed, the final task is to remove any lint. A sticky lint roller might seem like the easiest method but it can leave a glue residue on the fabric so we would instead suggest you use a clothes brush.

CHARCOAL SHAFTESBURY CASHMERE WOOL MORNING COAT

CHARCOAL SHAFTESBURY
CASHMERE WOOL
MORNING COAT

GREY WESTMINSTER STRIPE WOOL HIGH WAISTED FLAT FRONT TROUSER

GREY WESTMINSTER
STRIPE WOOL HIGH-WAISTED
FLAT FRONT TROUSER

DUKES DOVE GREY DOUBLE BREASTED WAISTCOAT

DUKES DOVE GREY
DOUBLE BREASTED
WAISTCOAT

When it comes to dry cleaning, the most important consideration here is your choice of dry cleaners. You must go out of your way to find a dry cleaners who has experience with morning suits and formalwear. The actual dry cleaning is rarely a problem, but it's in the pressing of the garments where dry cleaners often get it wrong. Being over-zealous with a hot steam iron can create unwanted patches of shiny fabric so be adamant that your morning suit is pressed with a gentle heat and always inside out!

Looking after silk waistcoats and ties

In most cases, dry cleaning silks is the best course of action, but pay close attention to the garment's cleaning instructions as treated silks can require specialist cleaning methods. Good dry cleaners will use specific made-for-silk solvents which will lift most stains. Should dry cleaning fail, the next best option is handwashing, but here you must be very careful. Up to 20% of silk's natural strength is lost when it’s saturated and because it has poor elasticity, it can easily become misshapen if it is stretched. Use a dedicated silk wash in cool water and then let the garment soak for up to 30 minutes to release the stain. Swish it around gently but certainly don't wring the item or scrub it. To dry it, simply lay the item flat between two towels and then roll it up from one end to the other so that the pressure causes more of the moisture to be released.

Storage for silk waistcoats couldn't be easier - simply hang in your garment bags along with your morning suit or other suit. The addition of cedar balls or lavender sachets will give you some added protection, but prevention is the most important step. Silk ties would be better served by rolling up loosely and storing in a drawer in an ideal wardrobe, so if you have the space do that. Otherwise hanging in a suit bag is the next best option.

Spot cleaning

For woollen items such as your morning coat, the method of spot cleaning largely depends on the stain itself. Rather than go into each and every type of stain, we highly recommend this article by Woolmark, the wool organisation. It's one of the most comprehensive we've seen and if Woolmark don't know the best solution then we're all doomed!

When it comes to silks, first remove any excess offending item form the fabric by either gently scraping or blotting if it's a liquid. Plain water can ruin a silk tie, but club soda can help lift a water-based stain so gently dab the spot with a cotton ball dipped in club soda until the stain has disappeared. If it's an oil or grease stain, cover the offending area in a small pile of talcum powder and leave at least overnight. Finally dust it off and repeat if necessary. 

Don't forget, if you require a suit bag for any of your garments, do swing by the store and ask for one!

Click here to shop Favourbrook’s collection of morning coats.

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