Storing Your Suits And Shirts At Home
November 5th, 2006
Every closet should be lined with cedar. Cedar protects against moths that will attack garments, particularly those with a residue of sweet spills. Cedar also absorbs other body odors; consequently clothes just come out of a cedar closet smelling better. Why construct an Inner Sanctum any other way?
Every man has a different way of organizing his closet, but what’s important is that it’s organized. In an extremely detailed fashion, with Excel spread sheets if the size of one’s wardrobe warrants. You’ve invested a lot of money (haven’t you?) into your clothing, and you should protect your investment by keeping it neat and storing it properly. Doing so will prolong its life and maximize your return on investment. Suggestions for organization follow with other helpful hints on how to make an Inner Sanctum out of an ordinary closet.
Begin with organizing by season. Even if you live in a warm climate, certain colors just don’t work in fall and winter, and need to be segregated into a spring and summer section. Men who live in warm weather year round may also do business in colder climates. A special area should be reserved for these items.
Keep all your winter tailored clothing together- suits, sport coats, and trousers. Trousers on hangars, but not clipped either at the knees or on the cuffs. Hanging them otherwise encourages unsightly wrinkles, and will force you to press them each time before wearing. Hang your coats on wooden hangers with a larger shoulder area to hold their shape. Each hanger should have a bar for trousers as well. Obviously, hang matching suit pants with suit coats, and matching trousers with sport coats. This minimizes space requirements. Arrange coats by color, lightest to darkest, or vice versa depending on your preference. Dress winter clothing should be made of wool or cashmere. Flannels and heavier cashmeres go with winter, twills fall and early spring,
Organize your remaining tailored clothing into a spring and summer section. Lighter color palettes should dominate this area of the Sanctum. Separate this clothing in the same way, lightest to darkest (or vice versa), coats on hangers with wide shoulders and trousers hung on accompanying bars. Dress fabrics for spring can be lighter wools, linens, or even silks, depending on the climate and formality required in one’s business dealings.
Casual clothing should also be sorted by season and hung separately from dress items. The inexperienced dresser, or someone dressing in the uncertain light of early morning could easily confuse the two. Casual fabrics here may change- perhaps some heavier cotton or corduroy for fall and winter trousers. More silks, linens, and lighter cottons for spring and summer.
There are two schools of thought about dress shirt storage and organization. If you travel a lot, have your dry cleaners fold your shirts, and store them on a shelf or in a drawer. They’ll be easier to pack, and if used promptly, will wrinkle less than if you tried to fold and pack them yourself. Whether or nor you hang them or have them folded may also be determined by how much hanging space you have in your closet. If possible, move your top hanging bar up, and install a second bar halfway below it to accommodate additional shirts and tailored clothing. Or add an extra row of shelves on either side if you need the space for folded shirts.
Organize dress shirts either by color or by season, or if you have a lot of them, by both. Everyone has favorites, but develop a system to rotate them to ensure even wear. Again, grouping them by color from lightest to darkest works best; a well-dressed gentleman should have darker shirts only for sport or casual wear, unless you’re Tony Soprano.
Sweaters should ALWAYS be folded. Hanging them stretches out the fibers and decreases the life of the garment. Separate between warm weather silk, cotton, and blends, and winter wools and cashmeres. Again, organize them by color, lightest to darkest or the reverse. Sweaters are best stored on shelves so they can breathe.
Ties can be rolled and stored in a pullout drawer, but are best hung on a motorized tie rack fitted to one of the hanging bars. Alternatively, they can be hung on a wooden strip with metal pegs anchored to one of the closet walls. Arrange them by color- this will automatically separate seasons.
Belts should be hung on a similar wooden rack affixed preferably to the back of the closet door. If you don’t have a door, you can either anchor the rack to the wall, or hang them on a circular rotating rack hanging on one of the closet bars. Use the same procedure with braces if you have them. Braces can also be stored on a rotating tie rack, but will need longer length for floor clearance, and tend to fall off. Belts and braces should also both be arranged by color.
Ideally pocket squares should be clipped to a rotating fixture resembling those seen in finer men’s stores. If you cannot acquire a fixture, drawer storage is best. Fold them along their natural lines and arrange by season and color.
Cuff links, watches, and other jewelry should all be stored in a jewelry box, either in or out of the Inner Sanctum depending on the size of the closet and the size of the box.
Shoes should be arranged on racks to keep them off the floor and you from tripping over them in the middle of the night. Each should have a set of cedar shoe trees to preserve the shape of the shoe and absorb moisture from the leather. Each shoe should also be in a flannel shoe bag to protect the finish.
It’s also a good idea to own a wooden valet. It can be placed in or out of the closet, and made of quality wood. The valet should be used either to set out the next day’s ensemble, or to let clothes breathe before putting them back in the closet. Many gentlemen use them for both purposes.
In this article we’ve frequently discussed spring/summer vs., fall/winter seasons. What determines the changing of sartorial seasons? Historically the spring and summer season begins at Easter, and ends with Labor Day. Today common sense and weather patterns rule the day. It’s always nice to throw on some spring clothing in the midst of a winter warm spell. Likewise, it is a foolhardy not to add an extra layer during a summer cold snap.
From - Suit Your Self