A reader asked about the maintenance of suits and the change of season means it's probably time to review those practices once again. So here goes.
The chemicals used in the dry cleaning process can significantly shorten the life of a suit, and I try to have mine cleaned only at the end of their active season. Before cleaning, send suits to an alterations tailor to tighten buttons and make any required repairs. When they come back, have the suits dry cleaned to remove any dirt that might be attractive to moths, and hand pressed. When you get the cleaned and repaired items home, remove the cleaners' poly bags and store them for the inactive season in cloth suit bags.
If you wear hand canvassed jackets and your dry cleaner won't hand press the jacket fronts, I urge you to find another dry cleaner. The photos are of my alterations tailor performing emergency service on one of my jackets after my (now former) cleaners ruined the press of the collar.
Minimizing dry cleaning frequency requires five minutes of home brushing and steaming before and after each wearing. A suit should be brushed to remove dust and dirt before it gets ground into the cloth. After brushing, empty the pockets, remove belts or braces and hang the suit on a shaped or padded hanger with the closures zipped or buttoned.
Suits should rest for at least 24 hours (flannels and tweeds should rest for at least two days) so the cloth has time to recover its shape. Many wrinkles that developed during the wear will fall out of their own accord overnight.
Before wearing a garment again, remove any remaining wrinkles, and any new ones that developed during storage, with a steamer. Steam relaxes the fibers and, unlike ironing, will not scorch them.
Some trousers may lose their crease during the season. When this happens, I prefer to have my trousers pressed but not cleaned (a jacket and trousers should always be cleaned at the same time to keep them looking like a matched set). This is only a good idea if they are brushed regularly. Pressing dusty cloth, even cloth that looks clean, grinds dirt into the fabric. And, because most people don't brush, many cleaners don't offer a separate pressing service.
Need help finding a competent dry cleaner? If there is a Four Seasons Hotel in your city, call and ask where they send their guests' clothing. Try the service they use -it'll usually be the best establishment in town.