The Modern Man’s Guide to Wardrobe Maintenance

Neglect. It’s bad news for your wardrobe.

See, not that long ago you paid top price for quality clothing. But now, well before their time, you see members of your wardrobe fade, shrivel or disintegrate.

You toss jeans into the wash after every wear and one day they’re baptized, born again as painting gear. Instead of spending an extra minute or so to fold your sweaters, you bully them onto to hangers and seem surprised when their freedom reveals deformities. But you can avoid this scenario. All you need to do is give your wardrobe what Aretha Franklin wanted—a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

I asked personal stylist Patricia Trépanier of Les Effrontés to share advice she might tell her clients. None of it should cost you much, in time or money. If anything, it’ll save you both things. If you buy high quality clothing, basic maintenance promotes longevity. So get smart about your wardrobe.

Dress shirts

Chemical solvents are what make dry cleaning “dry.” The concoction is effective but repeated dry cleaning damages fabric. Consider running your shirts through the washing machine using soft detergent and cold water. Avoid the dryer. Go old-fashioned and hang them up to dry.


Maybe you wear a tie every day. Maybe choking yourself for style is something you avoid where possible. Either way, Patricia recommends hanging your ties. Another option is to roll them and place them in drawer. Using drawer dividers will make selecting the right one easier.

Sweaters & Cardis (You know them as Cardigans)

Steer clear of clothes hangers if want to preserve these commodities. Always fold. Patricia says hand washing is a good move, provided you check the label for instructions. Place the items on a mesh rack to dry.


Deny your desire to dry clean your blazers if you arrived home after the office, restaurant and bar without stains. If you must dry clean your blazers, move them from the metal hangers to wooden ones when you get home.

Dress trousers & Jeans

Patricia’s next piece of advice should soothe the dry-cleaning lobby, at least somewhat. Take your trousers to the dry cleaners, but not after every wear. And hang them up. Wage war with wrinkles using an industrial steamer. Or go low budget and hang them in the bathroom while you shower.

Your raw selvedge denim from that trendy Japanese designer—that’s still a thing right?—will last longer if you don’t wash them after every wear. Ditto for those of us flaunting Levis or, you know, regular-ass jeans. When you need to wash any pair of jeans, this tip should extend their longevity. Flip your denim inside out before laundering in cold water. That simple step can reduce abrasion, which keeps the colours sharper. Fold or hang.

Fending off the moths

Mothballs remind me of my parents’ house. And they stink. But I’ve also extracted underemployed clothing from my closet only to discover holes that look chewed. Patricia confirmed that my current approach is the right one: cedar sticks or sachets full of lavender. Stick with cedar. It’s woodsy.

Follow Patricia Trépanier on Twitter.

Pierre Hamilton is a freelance writer from Toronto, where some of his best friends describe him as an acquired taste. He enjoys bourbon and scotch, but craves craft beer, overproof Jamaican rum and great non-fiction. He has a very limited style knowledge but knows what he likes. He also produces a monthly music podcast called Sound Considerations. Follow him, but not too closely, on Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Mazzali.

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