The Louche

Super Member
What specific signs of wear indicate to you that a suit has seen its day? How badly worn does said suit need to be before it gets retired from regular use?

Personally, I stop wearing them when the elbows and seat get too shiny. I touch of shine is fine, but once it becomes very noticeable the suit is retired. I may pull it out to wear on a plane, or attend a party where I know there will be lots of drinking, but aside from these obvious heavy wear situations it will no longer see use.

You?
 

ZachGranstrom

Super Member
I personally throw out suits when they start to lose there shape, and get that sack look. And also, like you, I throw out suits when they get that shiny look too.
 

DownByTheRiverSide

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I have several suits and considering the lack of frequency of need, I dont have to deal with any one getting enough use to wear out.

The problem I run into is with sport coats. Even though I have quite a few (like 25-30 ... eeekk !!) there are 3-4 of them that I like so much that I wear them entirely too much, and while none have developed any shine, there are a couple that I can tell are getting thin-ish on the elbows, so I guess their time is about over.

Since I really like them, I cant make myself throw them out, and aside from those small spots, they otherwise still look rather fresh and presentable. I am not sure how long one can wear a jacket like that.

I think if my problem were suits I could do it more easily, since that standard is a good bit higher and with less flexibility, but with a sport coat, there is more latitude, and therein my ambivalence. If it were a problem of shine I could easily throw them out, that is one thing I really do not like.

On a couple of things that I bought a few years back before my taste sort of stabilized, I didnt have a problem getting rid of them. I got rid of a couple of them for the slightest little thing, usually by deciding they needed an alteration and that they didnt justify the expense, and zip they were gone !!

It will be interesting to see how others approach the question.

What specific signs of wear indicate to you that a suit has seen its day?
 
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Matt S

Connoisseur
The problem I run into is with sport coats. Even though I have quite a few (like 25-30 ... eeekk !!) there are 3-4 of them that I like so much that I wear them entirely too much, and while none have developed any shine, there are a couple that I can tell are getting thin-ish on the elbows, so I guess their time is about over.

Since I really like them, I cant make myself throw them out, and aside from those small spots, they otherwise still look rather fresh and presentable. I am not sure how long one can wear a jacket like that.
The great thing about sports coats is that you can put elbow patches on them. Elbow patches are perfectly fine to wear, as you as you earn them yourself.
 

Alexander Kabbaz

Tech and Business Advice Guru
If you order two pairs of trousers with each suit and rotate the trousers for equal wear, a suit can last decades. Although I must admit that the 3-piece black SB I got in 1970-71 might need a replacement somtime in the next few years.
 

RM Bantista

Senior Member
What specific signs of wear indicate to you that a suit has seen its day? How badly worn does said suit need to be before it gets retired from regular use?

Personally, I stop wearing them when the elbows and seat get too shiny. I touch of shine is fine, but once it becomes very noticeable the suit is retired. I may pull it out to wear on a plane, or attend a party where I know there will be lots of drinking, but aside from these obvious heavy wear situations it will no longer see use.

You?
The Louche,

I have not had this problem with shine, but moths! Man, I hate moths. So, far so good this go round, but I have lost thousands of dollars in suits jackets, and pants, not to mention sweaters, to moths. Some of those jackets were by designers who have since died and were never that widely available. Real finds at the time.

Only things after all. But moths...

I have lots of those cedar rings to hang over the hanger hooks and also plastic boxes for storage which are working well so far.

When jackets and suits no longer fit and are not able to be altered, I do tend to give them away to one that they will fit. I have not had any wear issues. One of my suits is a bespoke suit from Great Briton and the '60s, which was, of course, not made for me but fits very well, and that suit has no wear issue whatsoever and always elicits compliments when I wear it, which I do. I have, probably eleven suits and, likely thirty jackets for three seasons which has been a rebuilding effort since the last infestation.

And I have installed suede patches on elbows, on a tweed jacket as someone has recommended. That wasn't too great an expense. The result was very helpful and positive. I also have had pockets installed in a jacket (a Carhhart, actually) which did not have them which required the lining and padding to be removed and replaced with appropriate stitching to retain the padded lining, and that was also not too bad and improved the coat immensely (2 interior pockets--pistol and breast--rather than none).

I do brush my clothes with a horsehair or other natural bristle brush regularly. I hope that helps. And I do not dry clean unless it is truely necessary, such as with a spill or some other kind of staining soil.

If the item exibits damage such that I would no longer wear it, it goes into the garbage.

regards to all,

rudy
 

The Louche

Super Member
When shiny elbows or trousers frayed it will be retired to become a 'party suit'!
This. I still keep a couple that have shiny elbows and seats. I use these for events that I know will get wild, yet still require a suit (I'm 27 so many of my friends' weddings fit this category).

As for the shine thing, I know I post about it far too much. I have had a few garments go shiny in the past. In all fairness, however, most of these garments 1) were of only middle-road quality and 2) were "members" of a wardrobe much smaller than my current wardrobe - they got more wear.

I will be very curious to see how long I can make my much-better-quality canvassed MTM suits last. Somehow, I still think they will eventually get a shine on them. After all, it's pretty difficult (and uncomfortably dumb) to avoid resting your elbows on an armrest or two.

...at the very least, I feel the sort of shine that you need to close inspection under light to see will develop...
 

son of brummell

Super Member
It is interesting that one's favorite suits eventually wear-out. In comparison, one's mistakes and misfits look as fresh as the day that they were purchased.

I have had all sort of reasons to "retire" a suit or sportscoat:

1. Shine;

2. Worn-out nap on flannels;

3. Holes in crotch due to abrasion (used to have this problem years ago);

4. Hole in back pocket from wallet (since then I keep the wallet in the coat);

5. Weight swings, either way, where it is not worthwhile to pay alot of money for significant alterations or re-cutting;

6. Coats with a too low button stance which was the hallmark of a certain clothier that I used to patronize;

7. Oversized shoulders;

8. Undersized shoulders;

9. Coats cut with too much drape and which are too soft which tend to make one look heavier (also from the same clothier);

10. Suits that have been altered and re-altered and still do not look right; and

11. Being tired of the outfit.
 

The Louche

Super Member
It is interesting that one's favorite suits eventually wear-out. In comparison, one's mistakes and misfits look as fresh as the day that they were purchased.

I have had all sort of reasons to "retire" a suit or sportscoat:

1. Shine;

2. Worn-out nap on flannels;

3. Holes in crotch due to abrasion (used to have this problem years ago);

4. Hole in back pocket from wallet (since then I keep the wallet in the coat);

5. Weight swings, either way, where it is not worthwhile to pay alot of money for significant alterations or re-cutting;

6. Coats with a too low button stance which was the hallmark of a certain clothier that I used to patronize;

7. Oversized shoulders;

8. Undersized shoulders;

9. Coats cut with too much drape and which are too soft which tend to make one look heavier (also from the same clothier);

10. Suits that have been altered and re-altered and still do not look right; and

11. Being tired of the outfit.
1. What do you find is the cause for your shine, Mark? (I'm assuming you are judicious enough with dry cleaning that it isn't the cause)

3. I've heard of this before - what exactly causes it?

4. My father used to do this when he was young. One of the first sartorial lessons he taught me when I came of age was to get a wallet that will fit my coat's inner breast pocket and keep it there. Sage advice.

9. (and I'm guessing 6) Flusser?
 

CuffDaddy

Connoisseur
I can speak to the thigh wear question, which is how all my suits that have worn out (as opposed to simply becoming unacceptable to me as a result of rising standards or being rendered the wrong size through weight loss) perished:

Men with heavy/thick thighs experience a certain amount of friction between them in and near the area of the crotch. The fabric, not surprisingly, can get "sanded" into oblivion, become tissue-thin, and finally fail entirely. The problem becomes more accute if the trousers are worn in high heat and humidity, since sweat makes the fibers swell (thus, rotating suits and giving them a good rest period between wearings is even more important for the strong-thighed than for others). Smooth weaves suffer this problem less than textured cloths - large birdseyes can be especially fragile. Lining, or even double lining, of the crotch can help the longevity quite a bit, as can an easier fit in the thigh - anything that allows the fabric not to have to move as much as the legs.

Men with thin upper legs, or whose legs are naturally set far apart, just don't seem to face this issue at all.
 

DougNZ

Advanced Member
If you order two pairs of trousers with each suit and rotate the trousers for equal wear, a suit can last decades. Although I must admit that the 3-piece black SB I got in 1970-71 might need a replacement somtime in the next few years.
1. Agree on the two-trousers rotation.

2. See? Black suits do have precedent.

3. Take in the lower legs and use the surplus suiting for patching ... or for a second jacket.
 

Sean1982

Senior Member
This. I still keep a couple that have shiny elbows and seats. I use these for events that I know will get wild, yet still require a suit (I'm 27 so many of my friends' weddings fit this category).

As for the shine thing, I know I post about it far too much. I have had a few garments go shiny in the past. In all fairness, however, most of these garments 1) were of only middle-road quality and 2) were "members" of a wardrobe much smaller than my current wardrobe - they got more wear.

I will be very curious to see how long I can make my much-better-quality canvassed MTM suits last. Somehow, I still think they will eventually get a shine on them. After all, it's pretty difficult (and uncomfortably dumb) to avoid resting your elbows on an armrest or two.

...at the very least, I feel the sort of shine that you need to close inspection under light to see will develop...
I'm the same age as you, and my 'party suit' is a Gieves and Hawkes 1950s three piece in navy. Many people would wear it often, but the dlightly shiny elbows prevent me from doing so (but it gave good 2nd class service, before becoming 3rd class). Ok for clubbing, but not Governors' meetings!
 

phyrpowr

Honors Member
I've never actually worn one out before I "outgrew" it :eek:.
Comrade! Yeah, most of mine got "outgrown", but a couple put in lots of years before the fraying caused their demise. One got shiny fast, combo of the material and too much dry cleaning/too hot pressing before I knew better, and of course the "stain from Hell, cause unknown"
 
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