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. 

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. 

Why Pay for Canvas?

As many readers know, suit jackets and sport coats mainly come in three types of construction: fused, half-canvassed, and fully-canvassed. A fused jacket will have a lightweight fusible interlining sandwiched in-between the two outer shell fabrics, and a canvassed one will have a canvas made from animal hair (usually horse or camel) mixed with either cotton or wool. Generally speaking, canvassed jackets will cost considerably more than fused ones. So why pay for them?

Well, one of the reasons is that a canvassed jacket will have a lot more three-dimensional shape. Animal hair can be molded using steam, heat, and pressure, much like how a woman’s hair can be shaped using a hot curling iron. With that shape, you get a much more beautiful garment. 

Take a look above. The top most photo is of Alan See with his lovely wife at the menswear trade show Pitti Uomo. He’s seen here wearing a three-piece suit by Liverano & Liverano, a bespoke tailoring house in Florence, Italy. Notice how his lapel line “blooms” as it moves from the buttoning point to his shoulders? It has a “roll” to it, rather than being pressed flat against his chest. Similarly, just below him are JefferyD and MostExerent, both of which also have nice, shapely lapels that “roll” near their buttoning points.

To understand how this is achieved, look at the bottommost photo above (also taken from JefferyD). Moving from left to right, the first material is haircloth, which is made from wiry horsetail strands. This is used to add shape to the chest and shoulders (ever put on a Tom Ford suit and feel like you’re wearing a prosthetic chest? This is because he puts in a ton of haircloth into his suits). The second material is wrapped haircloth, which is a softer, more affordable alternative. Next, we have a wool canvas (the brown material) and a fusible (the black material). These are added on top of the haircloth and extend from the shoulders to the hem (the haircloth is only in the chest). Notice that the brown wool canvas has a natural roll to it while the black fusible is limp. This natural roll is what gives those lapels their “bloom.” 

Of course, this isn’t to say that fused garments aren’t worth buying. They’re considerably more affordable, which is nice if you’re on a budget or if your tastes are still developing. It can take a long, long time for your tastes to settle and for you to develop an eye for what truly fits and flatters you the most. It would be a shame if you had to make your mistakes on much more expensive garments. 

If you have the money, however, and you feel confident in your choices, canvassed garments can be much more handsome. And once you own some, know how to best preserve their shape (after all, that’s what you paid for). Make sure your jackets aren’t smashed against each other in your closet and use hangers with wide, flared out shoulders. Our advertiser The Hanger Project sells some really nice ones, but if you want something more affordable, check out Wooden Hangers USA. Also, stay away from bad dry cleaners, as they can really press the life out of your jackets’ lapels, shoulders, and chests. I ship my stuff to RAVE FabriCare, but you can look for someone more local. Finally, be careful with garment steamers, and don’t hang your jackets in the bathroom while taking a shower. Steam will take out the wrinkles, it’s true, but it’ll also take out the shape. If that ever happens, you can send your jacket to a place that gives a good handpressing. That should be done every once in a while anyway, just so your jackets can maintain their form. 

(Photos via NY Mag, JefferyD, and MostExerent)

Beware of Steamers
A garment steamer, like the one you see above, can be useful to take out wrinkles. If you use one, however, you should be aware: what seems to be a rather simple and innocuous device is actually something that can ruin your clothes.
This has been something of a crusade for tailors such as Jeffery Diduch (though he’s certainly not alone in the opinion). The logic here is straightforward: for high-quality garments, a fully canvassed jacket will have been carefully molded and shaped through a lot of hand pressing. As I’ve written before, a well-tailored jacket has a certain three-dimensional shape. You may notice a convex curve at the chest, concave curve at the waist, and maybe even a well-shaped, cylindrical sleeve. These aren’t formed by just cutting pieces of cloth to a certain pattern, but also by shaping the wool with a heavy iron.
A garment steamer can destroy a lot of this work. To understand how, imagine what would happen if you blew hot steam through a woman’s hair after it’s been carefully done up through curlers and ironing. It would go limp – her hair would relax and the shape would fall out. Wool is the same way. Which is why, given how much handwork goes into a well-tailored jacket, and how much value that work imparts, one should reconsider garment steamers.
Another, arguably larger, danger looms for fused jackets. There, hot steam can delaminate the fusible interlining inside, which then can result in bubbling. If you don’t believe this can happen, know that in order to delaminate jackets, factories do exactly this: blow hot steam through a jacket. The only way to prevent delamination is to apply both hot steam and pressure. Without the second ingredient, you risk a separation of the layers.
So then what to do about wrinkles? Jeffery has often recommended that men learn how to press their own jackets, but this isn’t the same as ironing your shirts. In fact, the key here is to not iron, but press, and to learn how to do that properly, you should read Jeffery’s tutorial.
Jeffery’s write is well done and detailed, but I admit I’ll never try doing such a thing. I just don’t have any confidence I’d do it right. So, if you’re in the same boat, I’d recommend sending it to someone who can do it professionally. Note, most dry cleaners will say they offer this service, but what they’re actually doing is putting your jacket over a form and blowing hot steam through it. Not what you want. Make sure you’re getting a true hand press. If you can’t find someone local for this, I recommend RAVE FabriCARE.
But what if you just need something quickly done? Sending your garments in for a professional press after every wear seems excessive. If you have small areas with wrinkles – say at the back of your trousers’ knees or behind the elbows – I think it’s reasonable to carefully and judiciously apply a very light amount of steam for a short period of time. Note, many tailors I know will still wince at this suggestion, but I think it’s the most reasonable “middle road.” Certainly don’t go crazy with your steamer, and don’t steam areas that have been heavily shaped (such as the chest). Try to avoid areas with canvassing, and even sections with seams (as you can blow them out). Just light, gentle, and careful steaming. This, in my opinion, is certainly better than the often passed-around advice of putting your tailored jackets in the bathroom with you while you take a shower. There, the steam won’t be targeted at all, and you can end up wearing the man’s clothing version of a woman’s limp hairdo.
(Photo from Overstock)

Beware of Steamers

A garment steamer, like the one you see above, can be useful to take out wrinkles. If you use one, however, you should be aware: what seems to be a rather simple and innocuous device is actually something that can ruin your clothes.

This has been something of a crusade for tailors such as Jeffery Diduch (though he’s certainly not alone in the opinion). The logic here is straightforward: for high-quality garments, a fully canvassed jacket will have been carefully molded and shaped through a lot of hand pressing. As I’ve written before, a well-tailored jacket has a certain three-dimensional shape. You may notice a convex curve at the chest, concave curve at the waist, and maybe even a well-shaped, cylindrical sleeve. These aren’t formed by just cutting pieces of cloth to a certain pattern, but also by shaping the wool with a heavy iron.

A garment steamer can destroy a lot of this work. To understand how, imagine what would happen if you blew hot steam through a woman’s hair after it’s been carefully done up through curlers and ironing. It would go limp – her hair would relax and the shape would fall out. Wool is the same way. Which is why, given how much handwork goes into a well-tailored jacket, and how much value that work imparts, one should reconsider garment steamers.

Another, arguably larger, danger looms for fused jackets. There, hot steam can delaminate the fusible interlining inside, which then can result in bubbling. If you don’t believe this can happen, know that in order to delaminate jackets, factories do exactly this: blow hot steam through a jacket. The only way to prevent delamination is to apply both hot steam and pressure. Without the second ingredient, you risk a separation of the layers.

So then what to do about wrinkles? Jeffery has often recommended that men learn how to press their own jackets, but this isn’t the same as ironing your shirts. In fact, the key here is to not iron, but press, and to learn how to do that properly, you should read Jeffery’s tutorial.

Jeffery’s write is well done and detailed, but I admit I’ll never try doing such a thing. I just don’t have any confidence I’d do it right. So, if you’re in the same boat, I’d recommend sending it to someone who can do it professionally. Note, most dry cleaners will say they offer this service, but what they’re actually doing is putting your jacket over a form and blowing hot steam through it. Not what you want. Make sure you’re getting a true hand press. If you can’t find someone local for this, I recommend RAVE FabriCARE.

But what if you just need something quickly done? Sending your garments in for a professional press after every wear seems excessive. If you have small areas with wrinkles – say at the back of your trousers’ knees or behind the elbows – I think it’s reasonable to carefully and judiciously apply a very light amount of steam for a short period of time. Note, many tailors I know will still wince at this suggestion, but I think it’s the most reasonable “middle road.” Certainly don’t go crazy with your steamer, and don’t steam areas that have been heavily shaped (such as the chest). Try to avoid areas with canvassing, and even sections with seams (as you can blow them out). Just light, gentle, and careful steaming. This, in my opinion, is certainly better than the often passed-around advice of putting your tailored jackets in the bathroom with you while you take a shower. There, the steam won’t be targeted at all, and you can end up wearing the man’s clothing version of a woman’s limp hairdo.

(Photo from Overstock)

The Power of the Jiffy Steamer: Jiffy J-2000 Review
For years I’d been hearing and reading about the power of steamers, but I never quite believed what I heard. “What’s wrong with an iron?” was my usual response.
Then we moved my office into what had been the master bedroom of our place - a room with its own little bathroom. I figured since I had the space, I might as well give steamers a try.
All my research indicated that when it comes to steamers, Jiffy is king. It’s the only brand I’ve ever seen people in the know - like costumers and vintage clothing dealers - use. I read on the style fora that other steamers might get a B-, but the Jiffy was an A.
Luckily, I live in LA, the world capital of showbiz, so there are decommissioned stylist and costumer steamers freely available on Craigslist. I drove out to Mid-City Los Angeles, plunked down eighty bucks cash to a man whose wife was leaving the business, and drove home with a Jiffy J-2000. Jiffy makes a few sizes - there’s a travel version, a commercial version (the J-4000) and this one, which is for residential use.
This thing was absolutely worth the hype. I just bought a lot of 15 or 20 ties on eBay that came in one huge ball, inside a Five Guys burger box. I thought they were ruined - dry cleaning or pressing ties flattens and destroys them. Then I remembered my steamer. Ten minutes later, they were as smooth as the day I bought them.
It’s also helped me avoid the dry cleaner with other clothes. I’ve got some cotton dry-clean-only trousers that I’d much rather clean once every two or three wearings that steam beautifully in between cleanings. My wool jackets and trousers I’d prefer to subject to dry cleaning no more than once a year - now a quick brushing and steaming and they’re good as new. I even used it to help re-size a hat.
The J-2000 is big and industrial-looking. If you haven’t got a broom closet to keep it in, you might want to consider the hand-held travel version. Either way, a steamer is a remarkably useful tool, and Jiffy is the way to go.

The Power of the Jiffy Steamer: Jiffy J-2000 Review

For years I’d been hearing and reading about the power of steamers, but I never quite believed what I heard. “What’s wrong with an iron?” was my usual response.

Then we moved my office into what had been the master bedroom of our place - a room with its own little bathroom. I figured since I had the space, I might as well give steamers a try.

All my research indicated that when it comes to steamers, Jiffy is king. It’s the only brand I’ve ever seen people in the know - like costumers and vintage clothing dealers - use. I read on the style fora that other steamers might get a B-, but the Jiffy was an A.

Luckily, I live in LA, the world capital of showbiz, so there are decommissioned stylist and costumer steamers freely available on Craigslist. I drove out to Mid-City Los Angeles, plunked down eighty bucks cash to a man whose wife was leaving the business, and drove home with a Jiffy J-2000. Jiffy makes a few sizes - there’s a travel version, a commercial version (the J-4000) and this one, which is for residential use.

This thing was absolutely worth the hype. I just bought a lot of 15 or 20 ties on eBay that came in one huge ball, inside a Five Guys burger box. I thought they were ruined - dry cleaning or pressing ties flattens and destroys them. Then I remembered my steamer. Ten minutes later, they were as smooth as the day I bought them.

It’s also helped me avoid the dry cleaner with other clothes. I’ve got some cotton dry-clean-only trousers that I’d much rather clean once every two or three wearings that steam beautifully in between cleanings. My wool jackets and trousers I’d prefer to subject to dry cleaning no more than once a year - now a quick brushing and steaming and they’re good as new. I even used it to help re-size a hat.

The J-2000 is big and industrial-looking. If you haven’t got a broom closet to keep it in, you might want to consider the hand-held travel version. Either way, a steamer is a remarkably useful tool, and Jiffy is the way to go.