One of the most overlooked items in most men’s wardrobes are suit hangers. It’s an understandable oversight, as the general thinking goes that as long as the suits are hanging up, then they’re getting all the care they need. But a well designed and made hanger, has a significant impact on the longevity of jackets and how well they wear.
A well crafted hanger is designed to imitate your shoulder and neckline. When buying hangers, the two key things to look for are the overall width and the profile of the hangers shoulders. Getting these two points right means that when a jacket is hung it keeps its shape, stopping the shoulders from deforming and extending the life of the jacket.
Overall width: Men come in numerous different sizes, meaning their jackets do too. A hanger which is too wide will extend beyond the jackets shoulder, pushing out the sleeve head, placing stress on the shoulder seam and stretching the cloth at the top of the sleeve. A narrow hanger will fall short of the edge of the shoulders, making them continue over the edge of the hanger, pulling the shoulder down, which risks damaging or creasing the padding and cloth.
Profile: Your shoulders are several centimetres wide, so your hangers should be, too. Using a “standard” thin hanger opens a jackets shoulders up to collapsing around the hangers narrow profile over time, which can cause permanent damage to the padding and cloth as the entire weight of the jacket is suspended across such a small area. A wider profile hanger, which mirrors the male physique, spreads the jackets weight across a much larger surface area, ensuring the jacket keeps its shape and isn’t exposed to any undue stress. As unpadded shoulders are becoming more commonplace now, it’s even more important to have the cloth properly supported, when there’s no padding in place to take some of the strain.
The best options which I’ve found to date, for well made, high quality hangers are Toscanini hangers, which are sold through Exquisite Trimmings, and Kirby Allison’s “The Hanger Project”. Both are made with sturdy, well rounded profiles, come in multiple sizes and will, in all likelihood, outlast the jackets which hang on them. The Toscanini hangers have the ability to be personalised with your initials, not something I’d go for personally, but it’s an option for those who want it.
Spending up to 35 Euro on a clothes hanger might seem like a bit much (you can spend less on both of those websites and still get one which will do the job perfectly, if you don’t want all the bells and whistles) but when you consider that many of us spend in excess of $6,000 for a bespoke jacket, the cost of a good hanger, which will have a significant impact on that jackets longevity, is a small price to pay. A good jacket on a bad hanger is like buying a Ferrari then leaving it outside every night. Ferrari’s go in garages, good jackets go on good hangers.
A final point, aim for a quality timber hanger wherever possible, the timber will allow the jacket to breathe a little more, wick away any excess moisture and leave your jacket and the wardrobe smelling a little nicer. If plastic hangers are all you can access, that’s still fine. Your jackets shoulders will still be properly held, and that’s the most important thing, in the end.