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September 2, 2013

Care and Maintenance x The Hanger Project


In my Care and Maintenance series, I talk a lot about how to care for certain fabrics and pieces to ensure that they have a long and stylish life, but proper storage is equally important. No matter how well I care for my clothes, I have always found a deficiency when it comes to storage – the lack of high-quality hangers. Sometimes things just fall into place and that is exactly how this post came about.

Alexander McQueen jacket on Luxury Wooden Suit Hanger in Natural
Finish.

I had been bemoaning the difficulty in finding a well-made wooden hanger for a new jacket I recently purchased when I was contacted by Kirby Allison of The Hanger Project who offered to send me some of his luxury hangers to try out. What stood out to me the most when I checked out their website was the way that the product was presented.

You invest money in your wardrobe because quality lasts. It’s not uncommon to spend over $2000 on a suit, only to store it on the plastic hanger that it came with. The ideal solution is not only a high-quality wooden hanger but also one that is available in multiple sizes. Your clothing comes in different sizes so why shouldn’t your hangers? It was really one of those light bulb moments because it is so simple and makes complete sense but no one has ever done it before.

Assortment of other suit hangers with The Hanger Project's
in Natural Finish on far right.

If your hanger is too big, it pushes out into the sleeves and misshapes your jacket. If your hanger is too small, it won’t reach and support the shoulders, which also creases and misshapes your jacket. Finding the right sized hanger will not only help keep your clothes in their proper shape but also indirectly extend their life. The less you have to press and steam a garment, the longer it will last you.

Ted Baker suit on Luxury Wooden Suit Hanger in Traditional Finish.

The Luxury Men’s Suit Hanger comes in 4 sizes (15.5”, 17”, 18.5”, and 20”) that you can choose from based on your jacket size. I wear a 40R, so the 15.5” works perfectly for me. What struck me immediately is that right out of the box, the superior quality is obvious. You can feel that these hangers are built to last and it doesn’t hurt that they look fantastic too.

Luxury Wooden Suit Hanger in (T to B) Traditional, Natural, and Alfred
Finishes c/o Kirby Allison's Hanger Project.

In addition to the multiple sizes, these hangers also come in three finishes. The Traditional finish is made from birch, which is a very hard wood with a fine grain that is often used for furniture, and given a high-gloss finish. The Natural finish (my personal favorite) is made from environmentally responsible and sustainably harvested American maple. Lastly, the Alfred is constructed from European Beech with a satin finish. Each has a felted trouser bar that keeps your pants in place without creasing them.

Luxury Wooden Suit Hanger in (L to R) Traditional, Natural, and Alfred
Finishes.

Other than the sizing, what sets these apart from your run-of-the-mill suit hanger is the 2.5” shoulder flare combined with a more conservative slope. Both of these are important features because while the slope maintains the shape and drape, the flare prevents the shoulders from getting crushed or flattening out.

The Hanger Project's Luxury Wooden Suit Hangers with 2.5" shoulder flare
in (L to R) Natural, Alfred, and Traditional Finishes.

Another of The Hanger Project’s offerings, and the one that most intrigued me, is the Sweater and Polo Hanger. You will remember from my post on Sweater Care that you should avoid hanging sweaters (and all knits for that matter) because it will stretch out the material and leave you with dimples in the shoulders. 

Luxury Wooden Sweater and Polo Hanger in
Natural (T) and Traditional (B) Finishes
c/o Kirby Allison's Hanger Project.

While I wouldn’t recommend these for long-term storage, they are fantastic for seasonal use, but again, size is key. It is important to make sure that the hanger width lines up with the shoulder width to make sure everything falls properly into place. The 1” width, curved ends, and flocked tips help keep your knit in place without damaging the shoulder. I’ve had this knit shirt hanging for a little over three weeks with none of the usual ill effects.

Marc by Marc Jacobs knit shirt on Luxury Wooden Sweater and Polo
Hanger in Natural Finish.

The last two hangers I wanted to talk about are the Shirt Hanger and the Trouser Clip Hanger. The nice thing about wooden shirt hangers is that they will last longer and, in the case of a properly sized one, keep the natural drape of the fabric during storage.

Top: Gant by Michael Bastian shirt on Luxury Wooden
Shirt Hanger. Bottom: Luxury Wooden Shirt Hangers
in Natural Finish from above c/o Kirby Allison's
Hanger Project.

While The Hanger Project also offers both bar and clamping trouser hangers, I prefer the clip variety for a few reasons. Unlike the bar version, hanging your slacks will help prevent wrinkles. So why the clip over the clamp? What I like about the clips are that they are adjustable so that you can get the perfect width regardless of how skinny or wide your cuffs are, and unlike most clip hangers, the metal on these is well designed to prevent the sharp corners that I so often find on other commercial offerings. I actually moved away from clip hangers in favor of trouser bars because I snagged some pants on the clip corners a few times, but after putting these hangers through their paces, I may have to reconsider.

Top: Burberry trousers on Luxury Wooden Trouser Clip
Hanger. Bottom: Luxury Wooden Trouser Clip Hanger
c/o Kirby Allison's Hanger Project.

The prices may seem a little high at first glance, but don’t balk at the sticker shock. The $74.85 price tag for the Traditional Finish Luxury Wooden Suit Hanger is for a set of 3, or about $25 per hanger. When you consider that you would spend about half that for a much cheaper product that isn’t sized to your garment and will likely need replacement, it just makes sense. The same goes for all of the other hangers that The Hanger Project offers. $30 for a set of 5 Traditional Finish Luxury Trouser Clip Hangers is only a few dollars more than its cheap counterpart for a far superior product.

Despite what the name may imply, The Hanger Project is more than just a luxury hanger destination. They are pretty close to a one-stop shop for all your garment care needs. Collar stays, garment bags, shaving accessories, belt and tie hangers, and so much more including some amazing Saphir shoe care products. They also offer a selection of women’s hangers with just as much thought in the design as the men’s options.

Saphir Pommadier Shoe Polish in Medium Brown (L) and Renovateur (R)
c/o Kirby Allison's Hanger Project.

I receive requests for reviews and endorsements fairly frequently but nothing makes it on the blog unless I can honestly recommend it to you. Some of the products I am contacted about just don’t interest me or fit into the blog. Some I like and try out but they don’t meet my standards and thus will not be endorsed on this site. Others, like the hangers from Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project meet and exceed my expectations.

Yes the hangers featured in this post were provided to me courtesy of The Hanger Project, but that does not in any way affect my opinion of them. It really only takes the first 20 seconds of holding one to realize how superior they are to anything else on the market. I encourage you to try them out for yourself and I’m sure you will agree that these are top of the line. If there is a better product on the market, I certainly haven’t found it (and trust me, I’ve been looking for years).

I view my wardrobe as an investment, so I spend money on pieces when I feel the quality warrants it. Now I plan to ditch the plastic tube and cheap wooden hangers that currently populate my closet and slowly replace them all with these incredible luxury hangers from Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project. Visit them online at www.hangerproject.com and see what they have to suit your garment care needs.

Have you heard about or tried any of The Hanger Project’s products? I’d love to hear what you think about them!

Stay stylish,
- JJ

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