Storing your clothes: Hangers 101

What to hang, what not, and the four types of hangers you need.

Having a nice wardrobe won’t mean squat if you don’t take care of it.  Much of extending the life of your clothing is making sure they’re properly stored for that great swath of time you’re not actually wearing the things.  And hangers play a large role.  Here are four common types of hangers and suggestions on what should be hung on them.  

#1.  The Worthy Investment: Wide Shoulder Suit Hangers w/ non locking pant bar

All hail the King of the Closet.

What hangs on them: Suit jackets & their matching pants, blazers, sportcoats, overcoats, etc.

The dream/materialistic/totally wasteful scenario would be to hang everything on these things.  But, if wishes were trousers, the pantless would thrive.  (?)  As mentioned over here, they’re expensive.  But worth it.  The shoulders are about two inches wide.  Perfect for supporting your jackets against the cruel forces of gravity.  Find some with no-slip pant bars.  Those pincher-bar versions can leave creases.  And consider getting one for your topcoat or peacoat.

 

#2.  The Workhorse:  The Basic Plastic Hanger

Better than wire in every way.  Unless you’re locked out of your car.

What hangs on them: Dress shirts, polos if you’d like, jeans and chinos in a pinch, and anything that you might be tempted to hang on a wire hanger.  

Wire hangers + shirt shoulders = a bad situation.  Now, plastic hangers don’t have near as much surface area as the wide shouldered hangers at #1, but they’re easier on your shirts than wire.  And the cost is much, much lower than wood hangers at #1.  One drawback to plastic hangers is that these eat up space, both in your closet and garment bag.  Keep a few wire hooked-hangers with plastic shoulders on hand for traveling.

 

#3. The Cheap Pants Hanger:  Wire Hanger with a Cardboard cover

Cheap, bent, and listing to starboard. Still works great.

What they’re used for: Pants of all kinds.  Jeans, chinos, trousers, etc…  That and some drycleaners will fold your sweaters and drape them over these things.  

The punter of the hanger arsenal.  A little funny looking, inexpensive, & easily replaceable.  But when you need one you need one.  It’s basic physics.  Distribute that downward force of gravity over a larger surface area, and the effects on your pants (wrinlking + creasing at point of contact) will be greatly reduced.  You’ll always get creases if you hang your chinos and jeans over a wire hanger.  Back to the price… come to think of it, has anyone ever purchased these?  Where would you even do that?  Do Dry Cleaners have a monopoly on access to these?

 

#4. The Luxury Trouser Contraption:  Cedar clamp hanger / Hanger w/ clips

The steamer users friend.

What hangs on them:  Dress trousers, suit pants, pants and shirts you’re steaming

Got a steamer for your suits?  Awesome.  You’re going to want one of these.  They’re great at helping you avoid steam burns.  For these hangers, pants are either suspended from the waist, or some choose to hang them inverted from the cuffs (those same types are usually the one’s who hang the toilet paper roll with the sheet descending from the wall side instead of over the top).  Usually the inverted style crowd uses a more traditional, cedar clamp style hanger, and these hangers with clips are often used for shirts instead of pants.  Here’s a ringing endorsement.

What NOT to hang:

The benefits of avoiding wrinkling through hanging is far outweighed by the stretching and hanger-bumps (see below).  When a store hangs a sweater or heavy knit on display it might just make it less desirable in the eyes of a shopper.  They look terrible and droopy on hangers.  Fold those knits up and store them in a drawer or closed closet w/cedar blocks.  Take sand paper to the blocks once or twice a year to refresh their smell.

An otherwise great-looking, decently trim, casual sweatshirt-like crew from jcp.  90% cotton & 10% cashmere.