Why You Shouldn’t Hang Your Suit in the Bathroom
There’s a “trick” that often gets passed around on blogs and through magazines for how to get the wrinkles out of your suit. The trick is: hang your jacket in the bathroom while you take a hot shower. The steam supposedly helps the fibers relax, which in turn will let the wrinkles fall out.
The idea sounds plausible, but in practice, doing something like this can be ineffective at best and damaging at worst. Depending on how big your bathroom is, you’re unlikely to even generate enough steam to make a difference. If you do generate enough steam, you can ruin your jacket by taking all the shape out.
Why Steam Can be Bad
A long time ago, I wrote a post about the problem with steamers in general. The danger with these things is that you can “blow out” the seams and cause them to pucker if you’re not careful with how much steam you apply. What you really need is something that both pushes the steam through and sucks the moisture out, but those kinds of machines can be expensive (if not also cumbersome to use at home).
With a suit jacket or sport coat, there’s other damage that can be done. Remember, a tailored jacket is not like a shirt. It’s not something that simply “hangs” from your shoulders. Rather, it’s shaped through careful ironing and pressing, which results in the jacket having a certain three dimensional form. In fact, the reason why people recommend half- or fully-canvassed jackets is because that canvas gives the jacket some shape.
It’s true, when you run steam through your tailored jackets, you’re making the fibers relax. This does take out the wrinkling, but also takes out all the shaping as well. The result? A potentially limp jacket that no longer hangs on you the way it should. If you’ve put enough steam through, you may also make certain areas pucker, which will look even worse than wrinkling.
How To Get Wrinkles Out
To get wrinkles out, there are really only three things you can do. One, let your clothes hang on their hangers for a few days. Wool naturally relaxes anyway, and should return to its original form (more or less) if you let it sit. For trousers, you can use clamp hangers like the ones our advertiser The Hanger Project sells. Those will help get the wrinkles out by letting the trousers hang by their own weight.
The other ways include either learning how to press clothes yourself (which can be difficult on jackets) or sending it to someone who can do it for you (I use RAVE FabriCARE, as they’re one of the few places I know of that does it properly).
Barring that, you can use a steamer in spot areas, but very conservatively. Avoid areas where shaping is perhaps most important, such as along where the lapel folds over, and around the chest.
The worst method is hanging your jacket in a steamy bathroom, where you have no control over where the steam goes.
In the end, it’s worth noting that suits and sport coats don’t have to be completely wrinkle free in order to look good. In fact, wrinkles can make a jacket look a bit more lived in. How good a tailored jacket looks on you is more about its silhouette, which is determined by its cut and shaping, not the presence or absence of a little wrinkling.
The Joys of a Well-Organized Closet
I love organizing stuff. I wouldn’t go as far as to call my behavior OCD, but I do have an affection for things in their right place, whether it’s a tidy desk drawer, a well-organized suitcase, or a collection of largely unused neckties. To me, the appearance of well-thought out organization is greater than the some of the parts, and this is especially true with closets. Closets and clothing storage have the potential to become a centerpiece in the room if you let them, but they can also become a nightmarish mess if ignored. I’m nowhere near Vox-status when it comes to clothing storage, but I do make an honest effort with the limited space (and funds) I have. Here are some of my strategies for keeping the small amount of closet space I have as tidy and effective as possible.
1. Upgrade your hangers and other storage tools. There is no place for wire and plastic hangers in a well-organized closet. Wooden hangers don’t have to be expensive, and they’re much better than wire and better looking than plastic. Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project makes the best ones out there; his suit and jacket hangers are especially great (although they are expensive and do take up quite a bit of room). Wooden Hangers USA is also a good source, but their hangers don’t come in different sizes like Kirby’s. For shirt hangers I just bought a pack of these from Amazon a few years ago and haven’t looked back.
2. Cull the herd. As much as I like to pride myself on being selective and particular with my purchases, I still seem to accumulate more than I need. Unused items need to be removed; it’s that simple. If an item just needs a week at the tailor to join your regular rotation, go ahead and make the investment. If it’s damaged, get rid of it. Otherwise, donate or sell. If you have some high-quality items and are looking for a consignment service, get it over to Luxeswap for a painless and profitable experience. And moving forward, consider utilizing a one-in, one-out policy to keep your purchases in check.
3. Utilize shelves and drawers for non-hanger clothes. Whether it’s making a few shelves for your shoes or having wicker baskets for your sweater collection, these tools will help keep things organized and reduce clutter. I still have a ways to go on this front, but I’m making progress.
4. Find a separate home for seasonal clothes. Many of us living in big cities don’t have this luxury, but if you can move your seasonal items into a different closet you will reduce overcrowding and make it easier to find what you’re looking for. If you don’t have a spare closet in the hallway, consider getting an airtight container for under your bed. This will get seasonal clothes out of the way and help protect them from dust and pests.
5. Put that thing back where it came from (or so help me). Having an organized closet only works if you take the time to put things back on their hangers when they’re ready for storage. I can’t help you if you just throw your clean clothes on the floor.
Those are my thoughts on the matter. Do you guys have any tips for keeping your closet in check? Let me know in the comments below.
Arrived from England last Thursday.
This shot? First try-on at 5:00 PM-ish last Saturday, just before heading out to a gala.
What did it look like in January?
This with opera pumps (which I’m sure are Vox’s choice) or flat lace black Oxfords and you’re looking at faultless Black Tie.