Tips From Jeeves

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jeeves-tipsAs regular readers will know, the search for truly old-fashioned craftsmen is one of the purposes of this blog. And while I would never recommend or compare services I had not personally experienced (an area where some of the style forums fall down), it is worth mentioning that Jeeves dry cleaners has a sterling reputation.

The services are apparently excellent, but then for the prices it charges they should be (£31 to dry clean a suit, £50 to replace half of a sole). The advice it gives clients is also worth highlighting. The more unique recommendations are:

- Hang your suits up in the wardrobe with just the shoulders covered, to prevent dust. Cut off the top of a dry-cleaning cover to do this. Do not hang fully covered. [I would prefer to use breathable, fabric suit bags I have to say.]
- Hang your suit outside of the wardrobe for two hours before putting away. [Probably effective but something I’m unlikely to remember.]

On the technical, stain-related side, the helpful tips are:

- Never rub a stain. Blot with a paper towel, one on each side. In particular, rubbing silk, wool or linen may result in the permanent removal of the dye. This may be accentuated by dry cleaning.
- Equally, adding any liquid usually makes things worse. Water-based stains are harder for the dry cleaner to deal with, so adding water creates this and helps the stain spread. It will also loosen the dye. The same applies to wine, soda water and salt.
- Heat helps create a ‘developed stain’, which can be more permanent. So do not press, iron or otherwise heat it.
- Watch out for clear liquids like lemonade or champagne, which might not appear to stain at first but will develop a yellow/brown stain over time from the sugar they contain.

The interesting point for me on these first two tips is that they reflect what is easiest for the dry cleaner. If you want to self-treat the stain, the old tips about white wine on red wine etc. apply. But the cleaner would always want to have an unadulterated stain to work with. So no water or rubbing, no matter how tempting it might be.

Two last tips for skin products (leather or suede):

- A small stain on suede may be removed with a hard Indian rubber using a gentle circular motion.
- If you are buying a skin garment, make sure all the panels inside and out are the same colour and texture. This is the key way to tell a quality garment.


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Simon Crompton is a journalist and a style enthusiast living in London, who blogs at permanentstyle.blogspot.com. He has too many suits.

Comments

  1. David says:

    Hello, this isn’t really related to the post above, but I didn’t know how else to ask you Simon. I have a formal evening party coming up, rather like the ‘prom’ but with an Irish twist, and I was wondering if it would be acceptable to wear a morning suit to it? It starts at around 8 and consists of a reception, meal and party.

  2. Chris says:

    Great article. I feel we don’t spend enough time on maintenance so this is very welcome.
    One question: I have to send a Burberry’s trenchcoat to a dry cleaner but I understand it needs to be one that can re-apply waterproofing afterwards. Any ideas about the best products for this? I would like to check which they use before leaving the raincoat.
    Congrats on the blog.
    Thanks!

  3. PT says:

    @David:
    A morning suit is not particularly Irish, and, although quite smart, should never be worn after 6. I suggest you simply wear black tie, with the addition of a white Irish linen pocket square.

  4. Simon Crompton says:

    Chris,
    I’m afraid I don’t have any experience with products to reapply waterproofing in this way.

    David,
    I agree with PT. A morning suit is not for evening (full fig would be the equivalent for evening) and unless stated dress, would probably be over the top. Black tie is a good fallback.
    Simon

  5. Michael says:

    @Chris: you can drop it off at a Burberry’s for dry cleaning. I’m not sure if all of them to it, but I bought my trench at the boutique on Regent Street in London, and they informed me that they offer dry cleaning services and it would be advisable to dry clean with them as they (1) know how to treat Burberry items, and (2) they can reapply the waterproofing. I will be getting it dry cleaned this week.

    About the article, I use(d) Jeeves for dry cleaning. I’ve never been satisfied with dry cleaned trousers for two reasons: 1, I’m practically always left with a shiny strip along the seams of the legs (and other raised places), which really ruins the trousers for me; 2, the waist always seems to expand, at least the first time they’re dry cleaned.

    Some time ago I had to dry clean a relatively new pair of trousers due to mud stains. These were £200 trousers, so I wanted to use a good dry cleaner. I initially chose a different cleaner, but couldn’t find them so opted for Jeeves of Belgravia instead. These particular trousers, last season’s Etro, had a strip/tube of what I’ll describe as velvet down the outside of each leg. Anyway when I got them back from Jeeves, the stains were gone. However, there were some shiny patches. Nothing too noticeable. The velvet strips (or, the little fibres that stick out and give it volume) were completely flattened. I expected Jeeves to pay more attention to trousers with details. Not a huge deal, but another disappointment. But the real disappointment was waiting for me when I got back home: they were too big for me. The dry cleaning must have stretched the waist out about an inch, and I currently have to use a belt (which I hate) with them (I’ll bring them somewhere to get the waist taken in soon). Now I can understand if a pair of trousers get ever so slightly wider during their first wash, but this was really unacceptable.

    I also brought a new, unfinished legs pair of trousers in to have the legs hemmed. I told them explicitly how long to make the legs. When I picked them up, they were between .5 and 1 inch too long. So I had to bring them back and have them do it again. This time they were too short. So the trousers are still in my closet, and I will bring them to another place I saw recently that does alterations, and hopefully they can get it right.

    Also – at least at Jeeves of Belgravia – they don’t actually do any of the work themselves, they have a third party d it. And I really don’t like that, I much prefer to talk to the person who will actually be doing the work, to make sure he understands precisely what I want.

    On the bright side, I also had a very delicate pair of Guccis re-heeled there – the new heels are good (I’d have preferred them to be of a harder rubber to make more of a clicking sound when I walk, but hey I didn’t specify that and they’re fine as they are), it was extremely cheap (£20 – wasn’t the entire heel though, just the bottom half centimetre or so, which had worn down), and they were in quite good condition, individually wrapped and then inside a dust bag, which you get to take home with you.

    Overall though, I will not be using them again if I can help it.

  6. Michael says:

    Oops sorry about the length of that comment, didn’t realise how long it was. Unfortunately, the whitespace I used was automatically removed which makes it seem more of a mouthful than it really is.

  7. Simon Crompton says:

    Thanks very much for the personal experience Michael, it is invaluable. At the least, if I ever use Jeeves I will mention this as a previous problem and see how they react/cope.

    Simon

  8. Chris says:

    Thanks so much, Simon and Michael, for your replies. I did contact Burberry’s a while ago and they even have a way of mailing the trenchcoat after dry cleaning it and reapplying the waterproof. I’ll be moving to Geneva in two months so I will do it from there. Right now I live in Bolivia so it’s not the best place to do this type of things…
    Thanks again.
    Chris