Photograph courtesy of Gladson, Ltd., www.gladsonltd.com

Caring For Custom-Made
Shirts and Suits

Unlike most made-to-measure shirts and suits, we make all of our shirts and suits with high-quality imported fabrics, not imitations or “knock-offs.” It’s not difficult to imitate the elegant colors, patterns and weaves of premium Swiss, Italian and English cottons and wools, but the fabric itself is often of poor quality.

Two-ply, yarn-dyed high-count cotton shirts and Super 100s wool or wool blend suits will give you more value, however, if you care for them properly. Our customers frequently ask us for advice about laundering, dry-cleaning and storage and about wear.

Shirts

When tying your tie.

Instead of breaking the collar of a shirt upwards to slip a tie around your neck, we suggest slipping it under the collar. This will prolong the life of your shirt since the fold of the collar will show wear sooner than any other part of a shirt.

The undershirt controversy.

Wearing an undershirt will prolong the life a shirt but many of our customers say that the typical cotton lisle undershirt is too warm. We have a solution to that problem. Sunspel, an English company, makes an undershirt called the Quality 14 from an open-weave cotton fabric. It is the perfect undershirt for California’s climate. Choose from vest ($42.50), crew neck or v-neck ($52.50). By special order; minimum of six. Of course, we also offer their Superfine 2-ply lisle undershirt, which is light and luxurious, at the same prices.

To launder or not to launder, that is the question.

We make all of our shirts with substantial unfused interlinings that are difficult to press using a standard steam iron. We always recommend that you launder our cotton, cotton-blend or linen shirts. (Dry-cleaning cotton, cotton-blend or linen shirts simply does not clean them thoroughly.) The “crush” that laundries use presses the collar, cuffs, pockets and plackets flat in one motion, with or without starch, but we also recommend starching our shirts. Light starch usually is sufficient, but many of our customers prefer medium or even heavy starch. Over many launderings, starch sometimes accumulates in the fabric. Simply by washing a shirt before having it laundered eliminates this excess starch. Very dark shirts don’t accept starch very well, so we recommend no starch or light starch, but that depends on your laundry’s practices. Very heavy starch will cause excessive wear of the collar and cuffs, but it does produce an exceptionally crisp appearance.

To fold or not to fold, that is the question.

Unless you are travelling, having your laundry fold your shirts is unnecessary. Folding also tends to break the fibers in a fabric, especially if it is starched.

Suits

Dry-cleaning.

Someone once said that the typical American man has his suits dry-cleaned too often and that the typical Englishman, not often enough. A balance is possible between these extremes, assuming that you want your suits to last for a while. Instead of dry-cleaning a wrinkled suit, give it a good brushing with a stiff natural-bristle brush and then have it pressed by your cleaner, or use a steam iron to remove the wrinkles.

Brushing.

All wool looks better and lasts longer if brushed before or after wearing. Brushing will also eliminate pilling. We recommend natural bristle fabric brushes such as those made by Kent.

Storage.

Always problematic, especially in humid climates, the main dangers are from moths and mold. Always launder or dry-clean clothes before storing them. Always store garments in a sealed garment bag in a well-ventilated closet. Cedar chests are also a time-tested method of storage. Mothballs are effective but toxic. There are herbal alternatives to mothballs but we have no recommendations about them. Cedar chips are also effective insecticides when placed in a garment bag.