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Thread: Lifespan of half-canvassed suit

  1. #1
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    Lifespan of half-canvassed suit

    Gentlemen,

    Iíve searched online and canít seem to find a straight answer to this question:

    I wear a suit or blazer/shirt/tie combo to work every day. Outside of shoes and watches, I rarely wear the same piece of clothing more than once a week. Given this rotation, how long can I expect a properly cared-for (steamed, brushed, rarely dry-cleaned) half-canvassed suit to last?

    Is five years unrealistic? Too low/high?


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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TR_strums98 View Post
    Gentlemen,

    Iíve searched online and canít seem to find a straight answer to this question:

    I wear a suit or blazer/shirt/tie combo to work every day. Outside of shoes and watches, I rarely wear the same piece of clothing more than once a week. Given this rotation, how long can I expect a properly cared-for (steamed, brushed, rarely dry-cleaned) half-canvassed suit to last?

    Is five years unrealistic? Too low/high?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I wore my first Hickey Freeman suit for about twenty years before it started showing its age, but I didn't wear it more than once a week. It was fully canvassed but I would expect the life span to be comparable. I still miss that suit...

    Sent from my MHA-L29 using Tapatalk

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    So many variables involved: wool comes in different sizes, shapes, and durability; are you james bond or a security mall, etc.

    In general, it will last at least 5 years.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3piece View Post
    So many variables involved: wool comes in different sizes, shapes, and durability; are you james bond or a security mall, etc.

    In general, it will last at least 5 years.
    As a general rule it's the outer wool layer or the lining that wears out, rather than the inner structure. Your weight, how much time you spend sitting, whether you fidget in your chair, or if you rest your elbows on the desk/chair arms will typically be the determining factors in a suit's longevity.

    My oldest half-canvas suit, worn once or twice a week since 2011, needed replacing last year due to the shiny spots it's developed on the seat and forearms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Galcobar View Post
    My oldest half-canvas suit, worn once or twice a week since 2011, needed replacing last year due to the shiny spots it's developed on the seat and forearms.
    I've had good luck with sponge and press to return the nap to normal.

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    My suit bought in 2011 started getting weekly wear (twice weekly actually for about six months until I bought more suits) in spring 2013. I just recently retired it as it became threadbare in a spot on one side of the behind of the pants. Not sure why frankly. I hardly ever had a wallet in there. The jacket still looks fine, just a few replacement buttons put on over the years.

    A 2012 suit, that was alternated with that first one during the early days of my "suit" job, is also pretty much retired now. The back of the bottom of the trousers are pretty frayed, and cheap dry cleaning (learned my lesson there) took a toll on how the fabric looks.

    As 2013 suit is suffering from fraying on the back of the pants, and also from the cheap dry cleaning for a couple years, is probably near the end as well.

    First two are BB 1818 in Saxxon wool. Third is a BB 1818 with Loro Piana wool.

    All things considered, those suits got a lot of wears as I realized I was going to stay in that job environment for a while. I also dry cleaned the pants too much, at a cheap dry cleaner. In hindsight, that dry cleaner was beating up the fabric pretty bad. Today, I dry clean less and brush more, and use a higher quality dry cleaner when I do send them in.

    I'd love to know how to avoid the pants fraying. I usually have about 1/2 a break in them, so they aren't dragging on the ground or anything. Not cuffed.
    Last edited by VicVinegar; March 10th, 2018 at 07:58 PM.

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    Thanks guys, that certainly gives some perspective!


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    As others said, it's often about the exterior of the suit, at least from my experience.

    One of my first suits, it was a fused wool suit from Macy's, and lasted about 5 years with at least once a week's worth of wear and tear. I have a terrible habit of resting my elbow on the desk, and gained a bit of weight during that time(I lost them later, luckily) which probably added more than usual amount of wear and tear during that time.

    With better quality wool, construction, etc, less wear, and better care, I suspect it will last much longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VicVinegar View Post
    I'd love to know how to avoid the pants fraying. I usually have about 1/2 a break in them, so they aren't dragging on the ground or anything. Not cuffed.
    On some of my suits I have my tailor add a reinforcement to the inside bottom hem. A thicker polyester or nylon tape gives extra weight, which helps keep the pant leg straight. Or you can have your tailor use excess fabric from hemming to add another layer.

    Done properly these additions are invisible, but save the pant leg from wearing on your shoes.

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    If it's at all possible, buy a second pair of trousers with a quality suit as they are what wears out the quickest. The crotch, knees, seat all take a lot more wear than a jacket in most situations unless you have some bad habit that causes unusual wear. If you alternate the pants each wear and only dry clean when necessary it should last a long time. The quality of the cloth is the most important. A 150s from a good mill can outlast a 100s from a second rate mill, a 100s from a good mill will wear like iron. S numbers are just a marketing term nowadays, the quality of the mill is the important thing. The quality of your dry cleaner is probably the second when it comes to longevity. I had to get rid of a suit that they shined a big patch on the front of the thigh a couple years ago. The cleaner I use now has done fine clothing for more than 50 years.

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