Wool is a remarkable fiber. It’s all-natural, renewable, and biodegradable. It performs incredibly well across different seasons and climates. It’s a natural insulator, but its unique properties make it breathable as well, depending on the warmth and humidity surrounding it. Its resiliency makes it highly resistant to tearing and breaking. Its elasticity gives a natural stretch, but returns to its natural shape afterwards rather than deforming. Wool is colorfast even after getting wet. It is odor resistant, is not an allergen, has a high level of UV protection, and doesn’t promote bacteria growth. It’s also long-lasting and easy to care for.
A well-made and properly maintained suit will last for years. Most guys tend to dry clean their suits too often, which shortens their lifespan. Here are some tips to get the most out of your SA garment:
1.Rotate your suits. Wear a suit only once or twice a week at most and allow for a few days between uses. This allows it to recover its shape and release wrinkles accumulated throughout the day.
2.Get an extra pair of trousers whenever possible. Trousers get used the most and tend to wear out more quickly than the jacket, so rotating the trouser can extend the life of the suit significantly.
3.Brush your suit off with a suit brush after use. It removes any excess dust or dirt that could settle into the fibers.
4.Hang it well. Use a hanger with a wide shoulder and the proper curve to preserve the shape of the shoulders. Hang the trousers correctly to preserve creases.
5.Let it breathe after use on its hanger. Give it a good amount of space to air out before being put back into close quarters amongst its fellows.
6.Treat and spot clean any stains whenever possible.
7.To freshen a suit, bring it in to one of our shops for a hand press.
8.Avoid dry cleaning. The high temperatures and chemicals deteriorate the fibers, and the pressing machines flatten the chest and lapels. Twice a year is usually sufficient if it must be done. Be sure to find a cleaner that will take good care with your suit.
9.Don’t steam the suit or put it into a steamy bathroom to release wrinkles. It might successfully get rid of a few wrinkles, but it could also make the rest of the suit lose the shape that’s been expertly pressed into the cloth with heat and pressure. Wool fiber has a memory, and steam can cause the fibers to lose it. We recommend you use this CREASE RELEASE solution instead.
10.Alter when necessary. Clothing that is too small can wear out more quickly at the seams and could stress the cloth.
11.For storage, ensure the above steps of brushing and hanging are completed, and place your suit in a garment bag or suit cover to keep it free from dust and away from moths.
Treating, washing and ironing your shirts at home is an ideal scenario for giving your shirts the longest life possible. There are several steps and some time required, but the results can be great if you know the basics of doing laundry and how to iron a shirt (and you should, even if you send your shirts out to be laundered).
Begin by pre-treating the collars and cuffs, as well as hitting any stains with oxiclean or a stain remover. Use the delicate cycle on the washing machine, and allow to dry on a hanger. Avoid using a dryer as they could increase shrinkage and the overall lifespan of the shirt.
Iron the shirt using steam and a spray bottle of water, and avoid using any starch. If you would like to stiffen up any part of your shirt, this fabric solution by The Laundress Stiffen Up will do the trick.
If you prefer to take your shirts to the cleaners, have them do a wash and press, if this isn’t already their default method. It’s similar to the process you’d use at home, but the pressing is done with a large machine that can break buttons and do damage to collars. For a lot of guys, having shirts laundered is a reasonable cost for the time savings, even if it does shorten the life of the shirt a bit or sometimes even cause some damage. Have them skip the starch.
TOPCOATS & OVERCOATS
Care for your topcoats and overcoats exactly as you would for a suit. See above.
Every man should be proficient in caring for his shoes. Here's a quick overview:
1.Prepare an area. Shoe polish stains clothes and upholstery, so make sure you're working someplace where you've laid down some newspaper or something to cover anything you don't want to get possibly damaged. Wear an apron, or change clothes you'd not like to see stained, just in case. Also, latex gloves can be useful to prevent polish from staining your fingertips.
2.Have your kit ready. We recommend Saphir Medaille d’Or products. Your kit should include:
Saphir Renovateur- Prepares the leather by cleaning, nourishing, and moisturizing.
Saphir Cream Polish- An all-natural cream made with animal oil and beeswax, for nourishing, recoloring and waterproofing. It provides a nice, soft shine as well.
Saphir Pate De Luxe Wax Polish- This wax polish contains 7 different types of waxes and natural turpentine oil to shine, color, and protect shoes.
Polishing Brush- Usually horsehair, the brush is used to buff conditioners and cream polishes off the shoe after they’ve dried.
Soft cotton cloth- Used to apply polish. You can also use a dauber for polish application, but we find that a cotton cloth from an old, soft shirt cut into 6” wide strips do the trick nicely.
Cotton Chamois- Used for buffing a high gloss shine.
1.Begin by using a rag or brush to remove any dirt or dust.
2.Using a soft cotton cloth, apply a small amount of Saphir Renovateur in small circular motions. For shoes with built up wax (you can tell if there is excess wax polish built up because it looks cracked, dry, and irregular to the rest of the color of the shoe) it may be necessary to put some energy and force into the motion to remove the buildup. Allow to dry for 4-5 minutes. The surface of the shoe should appear hazy. Use the polishing brush to remove the excess renovator.
3.Using a different section of the cotton cloth, apply cream polish to the entire shoe in small amounts, applied in circular motions. Be sure the color of the cream is a good match for the leather, when in doubt apply to a small section first to be sure. The pigments in the cream polish restore color to the leather. If the cream is darker than the leather, it could cause it to darken over time. To preserve the color of the shoe, especially lighter shoes, use a cream that is lighter than the leather of the shoes. Allow the cream polish to dry for 4-5 minutes, then remove the excess polish using the polishing brush.
4.Repeat step 5 a few more times, allowing the polish to dry each time, and removing excess polish with the polishing brush. At this stage the shoe should have a nice, matte polish, which may be sufficient for some men who don’t want a glossy shine.
5.Use Saphir Pate de Luxe wax polish to enhance the shine further. Apply using the cotton cloth, in small circular motions. The wax polish provides a high gloss shine and can further waterproof your shoes. One or two applications over the shoe is sufficient. Allow to dry and remove excess polish with the polishing brush.
6.For a mirror-like shine, focus on the toe box and heel of the shoe only (the excess wax polish will crack in areas where the shoe bends). Apply more wax polish in small circular motions, this time add a drop or two of water to the leather and work it into the leather along with the wax. Allow to dry, and buff with the cotton chamois using fast side to side motion. The heat from the friction produces the high gloss shine. Repeat this step several more times until your desired finish is achieved but remember to only apply a small amount of wax each time to avoid build up.
/ STAIN REMOVAL
The best stain remover solution we use is Stain Solution, by The Laundress. If you don't have a bottle, use the following tips and tricks to get a stain out, or at least to prevent it from setting until a dry cleaner can finish the job. Many of these methods use soaking or saturating with something that will eventually be washed out in a washing machine and apply mostly to shirts. For suits or other unwashables, try blotting with the substance, then use a sponge to absorb any residual moisture. For tough stains on clothes you can't wash, a trustworthy dry cleaner will be the best recourse.
Ketchup: Scrape off any excess, then apply a mixture of cool water and liquid dish soap (or hand soap if dish soap isn't readily available). For tougher stains, blot with white vinegar.
Ink: Spray heavily with hair spray or douse with rubbing alcohol and blot. Apply laundry detergent directly to the spot before putting into the wash.
Blood: Hold the fabric under cool, running water while rubbing it against itself. Avoid hot water, because it sets the stain permanently.
Oils: Blot excess from fabric with a cloth or napkin. Work baking soda or cornstarch into the stain to draw it out. Wash with detergent. Or, blot with a sponge with a few drops of dish soap on it, as demonstrated previously.
Perspiration: Saturate the area with shampoo -preferably one for normal hair, as shampoos for dry hair contain extra conditioners- and then launder as usual.
Red Wine: Blot with club soda. The salt helps prevent permanent staining while the bubbles in the soda help lift the stain.
Coffee/Tea: Rinse with white vinegar or commercial stain remover. Blot.
Grass: Soak the area with white vinegar for an hour, then wash.
Chocolate: Scrape off excess with a dull knife or spoon. Saturate the spot with a solution made from a tablespoon of an enzyme detergent (like Wisk) and two cups of water. Let stand for 20 minutes, then rinse well.
Lipstick: Remove as much as possible with a credit card or dull knife. Dab with baby wipes, then rinse with hot water to dissolve the oils.
Chewing Gum: Freeze the gum with a wrapped ice cube, then peel it off the garment.
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Baste: Garment roughly assembled for first fitting.
Basting: Tacking with long stitches to hold garment parts together.
Bespoke: A bespoke suit is cut by an individual and made by highly skilled individual craftsmen. The pattern is made specifically for the customer and the finished suit will take a minimum of 50 hours of hand work and require a series of fittings.
Barchetta: Italian for small boat, it’s a type of pocket design that originated in Italy. The pocket curves up at an angle (like the bow of a boat) opposed to being cut straight across. All Beckett & Robb breast pockets are cut using the barchetta style.
Besom Pockets: Flapless pockets set into the jacket or trouser.
Break: Refers to how much of the bottom of the trousers fold where they meet the shoes. A full break is a lot of folding, no break is no folding at all.
Cashmere: Very fine goat hair that originates from the region surrounding Kashmir.
Donegal: Originating in Donegal county, Ireland, this type of tweed is characterized by bright flecks of color (sometimes called "slubs") that are randomly woven throughout a cloth.
Double Twist: When two threads of yarn are twisted together, effectively doubling its density. Typically referred to as "2-ply" or "double twist."
Flap Pockets: Besom pockets covered by a flap.
Full Break: Covers almost the whole top of the shoe and leaves a deep horizontal crease at the front of the pant leg.
Full Canvas: The gold standard of jacket construction in which an interlining of canvas, made up of wool and horsehair, is sewn in between the inner suit lining and outer fabric and extends the full length of the jacket. A full canvas adds structure and padding through the chest, creating a clean drape that subtly takes the shape of the chest of the wearer over time.
Full Windsor Knot: A large, symmetrical knot created by wrapping both sides of the necktie.
Fused: A method for constructing a suit jacket using glues and adhesives. A non-woven paper or plastic product saturated with glue bonds the cloth you see to the interlining you don’t see. It gives the cloth more rigidity and form, but does not mold to the body due to its stiffness. Fusing is the most common method used today for lower-end ready-to-wear and “custom” suits.
Gorge: Where the collar is attached.
Glenplaid: A checked pattern. Visually it appears as a combination of a prince-of-wales and windowpane.
Goodyear Welting: A method of shoe construction in which the insole, upper, and welt are sewn together. The welt is then stitched to the outsole as to leave the upper surface of the insole free of tacks and stitches. This method allows for resoling and is virtually waterproof.
Grenadine: A woven pattern for ties, made up of a repeating, open-weave construction.
Half Canvas: A form of jacket construction in which the canvas extends over the chest to around the top of the rib cage. This differs than Full Canvas construction in that the canvas extends the full length of the jacket.
Half-Windsor Knot: Not as large as the full-windsor and a touch more formal than the four-in-hand, its goes well with any occasion.
Hand Basted: A method for attaching cloth to the interlining using temporary stitches that will be removed after the parts of the garment are sewn together. This method uses canvas and other materials that can be molded to the shape of a person’s body. Basting is the traditional method and is more time consuming.
Herringbone: A pattern consisting of parallel lines that slant in opposite directions forming V shapes.
Houndstooth: A repeating duotone pattern characterized by small (sometimes large for jackets), abstract four-pointed shapes.
Hopsack: A rough-surfaced, loosely-woven clothing fabric. Commonly used in summer-weight suits, especially unlined ones.
Lining: The inside of the jacket. Usually linings coordinate subtly with the color of the jacket, or sometimes are bold colors and patterns. The best linings are made from cupro, oftentimes seen under the brand name Bemberg.
Mohair: A silk-like hair that comes from the Angora Goat and is notable for its high luster and sheen. A wiry fiber that is virtually wrinkle resistant and is often blended with other fibers, such as wool and silk, to soften its springiness.
Notched Lapels: Lapels with a triangle "notch" cut out of the upper edge near the collarbone. They are the most conservative choice and are less formal than a peaked or shawl lapel.
One Button Jacket: Traditionally was reserved for tuxedos, in recent years the one button jacket has become more popular in less formal wear. It looks great in peaked lapel suits with a modern silhouette.
Peaked Lapels: Lapels with little "peaks" that point upward. A slightly less conservative choice that is considered more formal than a notched lapel. Peaked lapels are usually found on double breasted jackets, though in recent years it has become common to find them on single breasted jackets. A peaked lapel is also a common choice for a tuxedo lapel.
Pick Stitching: Visible stitches around the lapels and edge of the jacket. Pick stitching conveys craftsmanship and touch of old-fashioned tailoring.
Pocket Square: A small piece of fabric worn in the jacket pocket. Oftentimes nothing more than a handkerchief folded neatly into straight lines, a pocket square can also be much more colorful and decorative. It’s a great finishing touch that needn’t be overdone to lend distinction, modernity, and luxury to your look. The pocket square should not match your tie.
Prince of Wales: A twill weave of broken checks in a large pattern form. Very similar to glen plaid but without the intersecting windowpane pattern.
Rise: Refers to the length of the crotch to the waistband. The rise on a pair of suit trousers should fit as high and close as possible, as it makes moving easier and decreases the stress on the fabric.
Sharkskin: A smooth worsted fabric, used for suits, with a soft texture and a two-toned woven appearance.
Shawl Lapel: A continuous lapel without a notch or a peak breaking the outer line. It is a simple, elegant choice and is rarely seen on anything other than a tuxedo.
Short Break: Covers just the top quarter inch of the shoe. Currently a fashion-forward choice, it can give the appearance of the pants being a bit too short.
Show buttons: Cuff buttons that don’t have any functionality, they are just for show. See "Working Buttons" below.
Slanted Pockets: Pockets set diagonally instead of horizontally. Also known as "hacking" pockets in England.
Spalla Camicia: Meaning "shirt shoulder" in Italian, this type of Italian shoulder construction is crafted without padding as to create a soft and natural transition from shoulder to arm.
Suede: A soft leather that has been rubbed on one side to make a surface that has the appearance and feel of velvet. A versatile material that can be continually reconditioned back to like-new.
Three Button Jacket: A classic look that has fallen out of favor over the past decade or so, the lapel is pressed so that all 3 buttons on the front are visible.
Three-Rolls-Two: Also called a three-two or a false three. A hybrid of a two-button and a three-button jacket. A three-rolls-two has three buttons, but the lapel is shaped to roll as above the second button but below the third button, which hides the top (third) button under the roll. A classic choice preferred by many suit aficionados for both sport coats and suits, the third button is not used.
Ticket Pocket: A narrow, single pocket set above a flap pocket on the right side of the jacket. Uncommon on ready-to-wear suits, the ticket pocket has been around for many decades and continues to be a good choice both for slanted or straight pockets.
Tweed: A rough woolen fabric made usually in twill weaves, commonly associated with Ireland and Scotland.
Twill: A pattern that is made in a way as to produce a sequence of diagonal lines. The diagonal direction, unlike the way clothing is stressed when worn, makes twill very strong and durable.
Two-Button Jacket: The most common jacket, it’s timeless and flattering on most body types because its V points the eye to the slimmest point of a man’s waist (the area near the top button).
Vents: A vent allows for both a tailored fit and easy movement. A center vent is traditional; two side vents are more modern and give the jacket a more fitted silhouette.
Vicuña: A very expensive and exotic wool material harvested from a rare llama-like animal only found in a small area of the Andes mountains in Peru, South America. Due to the protected status of the animal and the limited number of them, vicuña is extremely rare. As a result, vicuña is the most expensive cloth on earth. The lustrous wool is prized for its ability to trap air inside itself which makes the cloth extremely warm.
Warp: The sequence of threading yarn over and under vertically on a loom.
Weft: The sequence of threading yarn horizontally through the warp while on the loom.
Windowpane: A large square or rectangular pattern that resembles the pattern of panes on a window.
Working Buttons: Also called “Surgeon’s Cuffs”, working buttons are functional and can be unbuttoned to allow the sleeves to be rolled up. Working buttons on a suit are indicative of a custom-made suit.