From suit bags and seam rippers to good ol’ needle and thread, here are 10 tools and accessories you should own (and use!) to keep your wardrobe in tip-top shape and preserve your favorite pieces.
- Lint Roller
Alas, the tumble dryer doesn’t catch everything in its trap; rogue lint, an insidious scourge, can and will make it onto your clothes, especially cotton and cashmere. A lint roller quickly and easily removes stray fibers and fluff so you can step out looking fresh. Pro tip: Give your garment the once-over with a lint roller before you put it on; it’s hard to roll your back when you’re already wearing a linty top.
- Seam Ripper
This may seem like an odd item to own if you’re not a tailor, but it will come in handy. When you buy a suit, the pockets are usually stitched closed, and the seam ripper is the perfect tool to use to separate the fabric; using your hands to remove that thread could tear the jacket’s pockets.
Other uses for the seam ripper include removing sewn-in tags from t-shirts. If they’re bothersome, you can take them out with the seam ripper without damaging the neck of the tee.
- Needle and Thread
If you don’t sew, learn the basics — even if your skills are rudimentary. You can still take big projects to the tailor, but if it’s a simple issue like reattaching a button or closing a hole in a pair of pants, you’ll save time and money if you can do it yourself.
- Collar Stays
To prevent the collars on your button-up shirts from curling up (your button-ups that aren’t also button-downs), invest in collar stays. Prepackaged dress shirts often come with plastic stays — and those get the job done — but for the shirts that don’t have stays there are better versions that you can buy, like fancy monogrammed stainless steel.
- Suit Bags
It’s perfectly fine to leave the suits you wear on a regular basis unbagged in a closet — the air is good for them. But if there’s a suit that doesn’t get much wear, store it in a suit bag to prevent it from getting dusty; it’ll save you trips to the dry cleaner. When you’re traveling, of course, you always want to bag your suit to keep it clean and together.
- Steam Iron
There are some items on this list that could be considered optional; an iron is not one of them. Every man, whether he works as “a professional” or not, should own an iron — and use it! — to eliminate the wrinkles caused by washing, drying, and improper folding of clothes. “Hot mess” is not a look you should be striving for.
- T-shirt Folding Board
To help reduce the wrinkles in your tees — so you don’t have to break out the iron as often — pick up a t-shirt folding board like the ones used in retail stores to make all the displays look nice and neat. You can find one for cheap on eBay, or, if you’re handy, you can make your own T-shirt folding board out of cardboard. A small-but-sturdy plastic cutting board for the kitchen will work just as well, too.
- Clothes Shaver
Fuzz balls are different than lint. Lint can be removed with a roller — or tape, even. But fuzz balls (known as pilling) cling to clothing because they’re physically attached to the fabric. They’re usually on the underside of your sweaters and jackets because your arms rub against the fabric, resulting in pilling. A battery-powered shaver uses rotating blades (just like an electric shaver for your face) to trim off the pills, and then deposits them into an attached compartment that can be removed and emptied.
- Shoe Stuffers
In order to maintain the shape of your shoes, stuff them while you’re not wearing them. You can buy wooden shoetrees, but you’ll need several pair to stuff all your nice shoes — and that can get expensive. Instead, take old newspaper, crumple it up, and stuff it in the shoes. It’s a quick, easy, and cheap fix that’ll help make your best footwear last.
- Wooden Hangers
If your closet is a hodgepodge of plastic and wire hangers, it’s time for an upgrade. Wooden hangers are expensive compared to their plastic cousins, but the benefits outweigh the cons of lesser-quality hangers.
The biggest benefit of wooden hangers is their sturdy structure. While flimsy hangers bend, bow, and break, wooden versions stay firm and give your clothing the support it needs to keep its shape. Wooden hangers are also appropriate for all clothing, while wire hangers can only handle lighter items.
Plus, they make your closet look like a man keeps his clothes in it, and that’s worth the price right there.