Garment Care & Damage Prevention

Even the sharpest of wardrobes requires some fine-tuning from time to time. Styles change, things wear out, and to keep you looking your best, a little maintenance is needed. Here are some general guidelines:

Suits and Sport Coats

Typically, a well-made suit with regular (once a week) wear should last around five years. This will depend on your line of work and dry cleaning intervals.

Shirts and ties

These are usually made of less durable fabrics - cotton, polyester, silk - and, at least in the case of shirts, are laundered more often. With regular wear, shirts usually last around two years; after that the fabric thins, collars fray, crispness fades, and perspiration erodes.

As for your ties, their "closet life" depends on their wear intervals. If you don't snag, wear, stain or dry clean them too often, ties can last a decade. Whether they sport a pattern that will stay fashionable for a decade is another story. Widths and pattern preferences change, so when in doubt, take a look at what's being sold in the stores and see if your old faves are somewhat similar.


Shoes also have a closet life that ranges from one to three years. The factors involved in wearing out a shoe include wear intervals, sizing, gait, whether or not you use cedar shoe trees, ground surface conditions, and weather - to name the most common.

The best way to increase the closet life of your shoes is to own several pairs and rotate them daily. When they're not on your feet, fill them with cedar shoetrees. Shoetrees will draw out the perspiration from the leather, keep the leather softer, and help to retain the shape of your shoe. The more shoes you own and the more care you give them, the longer they will last.