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. 

Q & Answer: Fixing Holes or Tears in Tailored Clothing
Craig asks: I recently developed a small tear on the right side of my suit pants, and the place that made the suit no longer has the original fabric, so I can’t have another pair made (the suit was custom). Is there anything I can do besides throw these away? I’m open to anything, but would like to not throw good money after bad. 
One of the biggest myths about expensive clothes is that they’ll last you a lifetime. Some things last a while, to be sure, but no matter how well made, anything can develop a hole, snag, or tear. When these things happen with suits or sport coats, the best solution is usually to have the fabric “rewoven.”
That can mean one of two things. The first is what’s known as French reweaving or invisible reweaving, where individual strands of thread are woven into the original cloth. It’s sort of like what I recently had done on my sweater. In this way, the new threads are “filling in” the hole. 
The other technique is known as overweaving or inweaving. Here, a small patch is used to cover up the hole or tear, and then the frayed edges are woven into the suit in order to help conceal the patch. As you can guess, French reweaving tends to be good for small holes or tears, while inweaving is good for anything that’s too big to easily “fill.”
Note, any kind of repair can be seen if you look hard enough. The question is just how well it can be made to look “invisible.” Often times, such are repairs are very, very good and will be hard to detect, but a lot depends on the damage and fabric at hand. Generally speaking:
Darker colors are easier to work with, although for some reweavers, black is the hardest of all.
The finer the weave, the more difficult it is to repair (no surprise).
Solids are typically easier to work with than patterns, but a lot depends on the type of pattern that’s being compared.
Anything with synthetics will be hard to work with, if not impossible.
You mentioned that you had the suit custom made. In such cases, it’s sometimes a good to keep a little extra of the cloth, just for situations like this. Otherwise, the reweaver will have to take material from an inconspicuous place on your suit, or try to find a closely matching material somewhere on the market. Sometimes your tailor will keep a little extra of the original cloth (even if it’s not enough for a new pair of pants) and have a reweaver he or she can recommend. It’s best to check with them. Otherwise, search around for a reweaver. For what it’s worth, I’ve had good experiences sending sport coats to Best Weaving & Mending, and sending knitwear to The French American Reweaving Company.

Q & Answer: Fixing Holes or Tears in Tailored Clothing

Craig asks: I recently developed a small tear on the right side of my suit pants, and the place that made the suit no longer has the original fabric, so I can’t have another pair made (the suit was custom). Is there anything I can do besides throw these away? I’m open to anything, but would like to not throw good money after bad. 

One of the biggest myths about expensive clothes is that they’ll last you a lifetime. Some things last a while, to be sure, but no matter how well made, anything can develop a hole, snag, or tear. When these things happen with suits or sport coats, the best solution is usually to have the fabric “rewoven.”

That can mean one of two things. The first is what’s known as French reweaving or invisible reweaving, where individual strands of thread are woven into the original cloth. It’s sort of like what I recently had done on my sweater. In this way, the new threads are “filling in” the hole.

The other technique is known as overweaving or inweaving. Here, a small patch is used to cover up the hole or tear, and then the frayed edges are woven into the suit in order to help conceal the patch. As you can guess, French reweaving tends to be good for small holes or tears, while inweaving is good for anything that’s too big to easily “fill.”

Note, any kind of repair can be seen if you look hard enough. The question is just how well it can be made to look “invisible.” Often times, such are repairs are very, very good and will be hard to detect, but a lot depends on the damage and fabric at hand. Generally speaking:

  • Darker colors are easier to work with, although for some reweavers, black is the hardest of all.
  • The finer the weave, the more difficult it is to repair (no surprise).
  • Solids are typically easier to work with than patterns, but a lot depends on the type of pattern that’s being compared.
  • Anything with synthetics will be hard to work with, if not impossible.

You mentioned that you had the suit custom made. In such cases, it’s sometimes a good to keep a little extra of the cloth, just for situations like this. Otherwise, the reweaver will have to take material from an inconspicuous place on your suit, or try to find a closely matching material somewhere on the market. Sometimes your tailor will keep a little extra of the original cloth (even if it’s not enough for a new pair of pants) and have a reweaver he or she can recommend. It’s best to check with them. Otherwise, search around for a reweaver. For what it’s worth, I’ve had good experiences sending sport coats to Best Weaving & Mending, and sending knitwear to The French American Reweaving Company.

Prenuptial Prep Work

If you’re going to a wedding this summer—June is the most popular month for weddings—you probably already know. Etiquette says wedding invites go out six weeks or so before the wedding, but many couples send save-the-dates months ahead. Put This On gets questions pretty often asking where and how to get proper wedding attire (as a groom, groomsman, or guest) on very short notice. Don’t let it get to that point.

You’ll likely need some lead time if you want a proper ensemble like the Prince of Kent or Simon Crompton (pictured above). Think about what you might want to wear now, identify holes in your wardrobe, and then you can fill them at a leisurely pace via ebay and judicious purchases. Some updated tips from the PTO archives:

For Everyone

  • Morning coats, white tie formal, and black tie are traditional forms of dress. Wearing them appropriately keeps fading customs of men’s attire alive. Accordingly, if the wedding starts in the daytime, avoid black tie.
  • Tuxedos can be great, but for most modern weddings, lounge suits are a fine option for all men attending. Solid, dark suits are the best fit; stripes and black are best avoided.
  • Shirts should be white, preferably with a spread collar and french cuffs. Not a bad time to buy a nice new white shirt.
  • Stick with black shoes for all but the most casual ceremonies. Plain or captoe balmorals are more appropriate here than bluchers, brogues, or loafers.
  • A traditional wedding tie would be nice, but isn’t strictly necessary.

For the Groom

  • Congratulations, it’s your day! Haha, no it’s not. But it may well be the best excuse to wear a fantastic new suit and tie you’ll ever have. So do it up.
  • Details that border on flashy for business, like peak lapels, waistcoats, or one-button or double breasted suits, are great for weddings.
  • The bride, groom, and groomsmen need not all match, colorwise, but coordinating the level of formality is important or you’ll look like you’re going to different parties. If your bride is wearing a simple cotton dress and you’re getting married in a sunlit garden, it’s probably not a black tie occasion for you.

For the Groomsmen

  • As a groomsman, respect the couple’s wishes. If that means you have to rent a notch-lapel tux with a long tie and wear it before 6 p.m., just accept it and enjoy the open bar.
  • Get a haircut and shine your shoes.
  • If you’re a bride or groom and are deciding what to ask your groomsmen to wear, be considerate: new suits, especially specific, unusual new suits, can be expensive.
  • A good way to coordinate the groomsmen is to provide them with a boutonniere or tie, rather than forcing everyone into the same suit.

For the Guests

  • Again: solid suit, white shirt, black shoes.
  • Linen and cotton can be great in the summer. Seersucker, too, where regionally appropriate.
  • Add a swank wedding tie and/or a lapel flower for some personality.
  • It’s better to be a little overdressed than a little underdressed. But try not to outdress the wedding party. I know; it’s hard for Put This On readers.

For more on wedding attire, browse PTO’s archives or read probably the best single piece of writing on the subject: Nicholas Antongiovanni’s Wedding Attire in the Modern World.

—Pete

From The New Yorker's Photo Booth blog:

March 16, 1960. This suit built by the Republic Aviation Corporation solved the problem of what “the well-dressed man” would “wear for a stroll over the airless moonscape.” An article in the New York Times promised that the outfit would have its own oxygen supply and that its tripod legs would “enable its wearer to rest by sitting on a perch inside.” The wrench hands were presumably for securing loose screws.

From The New Yorker's Photo Booth blog:

March 16, 1960. This suit built by the Republic Aviation Corporation solved the problem of what “the well-dressed man” would “wear for a stroll over the airless moonscape.” An article in the New York Times promised that the outfit would have its own oxygen supply and that its tripod legs would “enable its wearer to rest by sitting on a perch inside.” The wrench hands were presumably for securing loose screws.

It’s on Sale: Luigi Bianchi Mantova

The Luigi Bianchi Mantova family of tailored brands (including, in order of formality and structure, Luigi Bianchi Mantova, L.B.M. 1911, and Luigi Bianchi ROUGH) didn’t make the cut in Derek’s recent suits-at-any-budget roundup, but it’s a good option in my opinion for guys who are looking less for a classic interview suit and more for a slim, Italianate cut or, in the L.B.M. line, an almost cardigan-like unstructured jacket.

Gilt has Luigi Bianchi Mantova on flash sale right now, with solid and patterned suits in the $600-$1000 range, plus outerwear and ties. The prices are good, but not amazing. The brand’s jackets are slimmer and shorter than most; Gilt’s measurements give a European 50R a chest measurement of 40 inches—that’s a couple of inches tighter than a typical U.S. 40R. You might consider buying one size larger than your American size (e.g., a US40 could consider an EU52).

-Pete

Q & Answer: Should My Double-Breasted Jacket Be Buttoned When I Sit?
Charles asks: I was curious about the etiquette of sitting down in a double-breasted suit jacket or sport coat.  Is one permitted to unbutton it, or is it customary to leave it buttoned?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule on this matter, but I can give you some guidelines.
Generally speaking, double-breasted coats look much better when closed. You just have to watch a couple of David Letterman monologues to confirm that. So while it’s not required that you stay buttoned, it probably looks best.
I wear a lot of double-breasted suits on stage, where I typically have to sit, and I find that mine settle best with the lower button open but the top and inside buttons buttoned. That’s what it looks like Cary Grant is doing above. Your mileage may vary of course - I know some folks who prefer to leave only their inside button closed, and some who leave them all done up.
When it comes down to brass tacks, balance a clean look with your own comfort, and make the call yourself.

Q & Answer: Should My Double-Breasted Jacket Be Buttoned When I Sit?

Charles asks: I was curious about the etiquette of sitting down in a double-breasted suit jacket or sport coat.  Is one permitted to unbutton it, or is it customary to leave it buttoned?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule on this matter, but I can give you some guidelines.

Generally speaking, double-breasted coats look much better when closed. You just have to watch a couple of David Letterman monologues to confirm that. So while it’s not required that you stay buttoned, it probably looks best.

I wear a lot of double-breasted suits on stage, where I typically have to sit, and I find that mine settle best with the lower button open but the top and inside buttons buttoned. That’s what it looks like Cary Grant is doing above. Your mileage may vary of course - I know some folks who prefer to leave only their inside button closed, and some who leave them all done up.

When it comes down to brass tacks, balance a clean look with your own comfort, and make the call yourself.

Q & Answer: Can I Wear A Suit Without A Tie?
John asks: I work for a large multinational company. I see a lot of management, including C-level execs, wearing jackets without ties. I know how PTO feels about ties without jackets, and I agree, but what about the opposite?  When is it OK to wear a jacket but not a tie with your shirt unbuttoned? What’s the point?
You’re right: we generally think the tie-without-coat look is goofy. Makes you look, at best, like a bank teller. But the reverse? A-OK.
Here are some ways to make it work and some things to remember:
A suit is the ultimate flattering garment for a man; subtracting the tie doesn’t change that (much).  As you can see on Tom Ford, above, it can be a clean look, especially for evening.
A button-down collar shirt goes great with a soft, American-style casual sportcoat or blazer. With or without tie. It’s a classic casual look. Throw a sweater underneath and you’ve gone Full Granduncle.
Is a suit with no tie appropriate for business? Well, that depends on the business. It’s certainly a better look than the aforementioned tie-no-coat thing. If the executives are wearing it, it’ll probably fly.
It’s easier for this look to become sloppy, so make sure you’re sharp, like Ford, and not a hot mess.
Not all shirts are created equal here. As we mentioned: with more casual coats, like tweed, hopsack and flannel, a button-down collar is great. With sharper, more formal clothes, like Ford’s solid navy suit, you want a shirt collar that’s on the stiffer and taller side, with longer points. You don’t want it slipping under your jacket.
Remember, as Ford did above, that no tie doesn’t have to mean no pocket square. In fact, a tie-less look benefits immensely from that extra bit of “I care.”

Q & Answer: Can I Wear A Suit Without A Tie?

John asks: I work for a large multinational company. I see a lot of management, including C-level execs, wearing jackets without ties. I know how PTO feels about ties without jackets, and I agree, but what about the opposite?  When is it OK to wear a jacket but not a tie with your shirt unbuttoned? What’s the point?

You’re right: we generally think the tie-without-coat look is goofy. Makes you look, at best, like a bank teller. But the reverse? A-OK.

Here are some ways to make it work and some things to remember:

  • A suit is the ultimate flattering garment for a man; subtracting the tie doesn’t change that (much).  As you can see on Tom Ford, above, it can be a clean look, especially for evening.
  • A button-down collar shirt goes great with a soft, American-style casual sportcoat or blazer. With or without tie. It’s a classic casual look. Throw a sweater underneath and you’ve gone Full Granduncle.
  • Is a suit with no tie appropriate for business? Well, that depends on the business. It’s certainly a better look than the aforementioned tie-no-coat thing. If the executives are wearing it, it’ll probably fly.
  • It’s easier for this look to become sloppy, so make sure you’re sharp, like Ford, and not a hot mess.
  • Not all shirts are created equal here. As we mentioned: with more casual coats, like tweed, hopsack and flannel, a button-down collar is great. With sharper, more formal clothes, like Ford’s solid navy suit, you want a shirt collar that’s on the stiffer and taller side, with longer points. You don’t want it slipping under your jacket.
  • Remember, as Ford did above, that no tie doesn’t have to mean no pocket square. In fact, a tie-less look benefits immensely from that extra bit of “I care.”
I had a live taping of my public radio show, Bullseye, Friday night in Pasadena. My wife gave birth that morning at 3:30, so I was pretty exhausted, but thanks to some great guests, things ended up going quite well. Joining me were the brilliant June Diane Raphael, Bill Hader, Jasper Redd and the superb band The Internet.
On stage is one of the rare opportunities I have to wear a suit, and I rarely miss the chance. This one’s a vintage number from Alan Flusser Custom. Not custom for me - it was a shop sample. You can see even in this seated picture that it has a classic silhouette - strong shoulders and a nipped waist. In classic Flusser fashion, it does have a dandy touch, though - take a look at the turn back cuffs. A plain white shirt, white linen pocket square (PTO’s own) and a black wool tie by E. Tautz completed the ensemble. Oh, and a silk flower. At night, I try to keep it clean.
The episode’ll air in about two weeks. If you’re not already subscribed to Bullseye, head over to iTunes and do it now. I think you’ll like it.

I had a live taping of my public radio show, Bullseye, Friday night in Pasadena. My wife gave birth that morning at 3:30, so I was pretty exhausted, but thanks to some great guests, things ended up going quite well. Joining me were the brilliant June Diane Raphael, Bill Hader, Jasper Redd and the superb band The Internet.

On stage is one of the rare opportunities I have to wear a suit, and I rarely miss the chance. This one’s a vintage number from Alan Flusser Custom. Not custom for me - it was a shop sample. You can see even in this seated picture that it has a classic silhouette - strong shoulders and a nipped waist. In classic Flusser fashion, it does have a dandy touch, though - take a look at the turn back cuffs. A plain white shirt, white linen pocket square (PTO’s own) and a black wool tie by E. Tautz completed the ensemble. Oh, and a silk flower. At night, I try to keep it clean.

The episode’ll air in about two weeks. If you’re not already subscribed to Bullseye, head over to iTunes and do it now. I think you’ll like it.

(Source: jessethorn)

“Let’s face it: I’m sixty-two years old, gray-haired and paunchy. Wearing a suit makes me look as good as I am ever going to look.” Baltimore Sun editor John McIntyre on why he still dresses up for work.
EFFECTIVE suit style via The New Yorker's Currency blog, which recently highlighted ads targeting the high earners of the 1920s. For reference, $55 in 1926 is roughly equivalent to $725 in 2013, and Finchley was a well-regarded men’s shop in the same league as Brooks Brothers.
-Pete

EFFECTIVE suit style via The New Yorker's Currency blog, which recently highlighted ads targeting the high earners of the 1920s. For reference, $55 in 1926 is roughly equivalent to $725 in 2013, and Finchley was a well-regarded men’s shop in the same league as Brooks Brothers.

-Pete