How to get creases out of a suit


It amazes me just how much bad style or clothing advice is given out. Especially by the so-called 'experts' and 'tailors' who should know better.

The worse thing is, this advice gets repeated and quoted again and again until everyone just accepts it as true.

So what has got me so riled up today?

Yesterday I was reading a well respected magazine which gave out a bit of advice about suit care. A bit of advice I've read a hundred times before. A bit of advice I even once thought was true - until I tried it.

Today, I want to set the record straight.

So what is this advice that's upset me so much?

"Hang your suit in the bathroom when having a shower - the steam will make the creases drop out and by the morning your suit will look neat and ready to wear."  

And here's why it's a load of rubbish...

1. It doesn't really work - Yes it involves zero effort, but like most things that involve zero effort it produces crap results.

2. You don't get steam in a bathroom, you get water vapour - Yes there's a difference, steam is really hot, the vapour in your bathroom is low temperature, it will damp the fibres of your suit and the warm, moist conditions are perfect for promoting bacterial growth making your suit smell.

3. Steam is a valuable tool when pressing your suit, but it's only half of what is needed. - Wool is made from hair from sheep. Sheep hairs grow in tight curls or waves (depending on the type of sheep etc.) So picture this.

A lady with wavy hair straightens it with straightening irons in the morning and it looks beautiful and straight and sharp. Over the course of the day is gets a little messed up and doesn't quite look as good as it did at the start. She looks in the mirror before going out in the evening and sees it needs a bit of attention.

What does she do?

Hangs out in a steamy bathroom for 15mins to let the steam straighten it?

Or run the straightening irons over it quickly to touch it up where it needs it?

If she dived into that steamy bathroom, she would emerge 10 mins later looking a frizzy mess as her hair reacted to the humidity and curled back to it's pre-iron state.

10 seconds with the straightening irons and she would look perfect.

THE SAME APPLIES TO YOUR SUIT!

When a tailor presses a suit he uses steam to soften the fibres so they can be molded and shaped so they fit and work for your body. He then uses the heat of the iron dry to set that shape semi-permanently.

When you wear it, the cloth and the hairs get stretched and bent and folded with the warmth from your body causing the creases.

So what do you do?

Either - let the suit hang overnight - the wool will naturally recover given a bit of time back to the state it was when last pressed.

If it needs a bit of help - Just use a dry iron in the areas that need it (place a handkerchief in between the iron and the cloth to protect it). If it's a really stubborn crease, a small blast of steam to soften it and then dry heat to set the shape.

What happens when you hang it in the steamy bathroom is you undo all the work the tailor has put in when pressing it.

Yes the creases that you noticed may fall out, but what you may not notice at first it that the shape is slightly gone. The seams don't sit as sharply as they did before, they pucker slightly, the creases in the front of the trousers aren't quite as sharp, the top of the sleeves where they are sewn into the armholes aren't quite as elegant, all the edges aren't quite as crisp and there is slight bubbling of the fabric.

In short - you look like the girl with the frizzy hair.

Conclusion:

Never ever hang a suit in a steamy bathroom.

Let it hang over night on a hanger instead.

If it really needs some help - just touch it up where it needs it with an iron. It will only take a few minutes.

Don't believe everything you read - most 'experts' don't really know what they are talking about and most 'tailors' aren't even tailors.

If you have a tailoring or style question - I would love to answer it. Just email me William@williamwestmancott.com or see my main website.

2 comments:

jar said...

Good advice William. Thanks. Would that apply to shirts too?

Anonymous said...

Execellent! I tried to eliminate creases and my clothes jus got wet. Thank God you took the trouble to confirm that that "advice" is wrong!