Are you damaging your suit every time you hang it?

This is a guest post by my friend Kirby Allison, founder of the Hanger Project.

Is your favorite suit being destroyed right now in your closet at home?

Think about it.

Your jackets spend more time in your closet than they do on your shoulders.

And what are they resting on – for days if not months & years?

Thin, cheap, wire hangers that are NOTHING like your shoulders?

The fact is wire hangers cause puckered shoulders, re-shape hand-padded expensive jacket shoulder negatively, and ultimately ruin your clothes right in your own closet. 

Don’t ruin great clothes with cheap hangers.

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to your clothes, and the same is true when it comes to your hangers.

This article provides detail guidance on the new standards for sizing the perfect wooden garment hanger.

“Alan Katzman of Alan Couture, a bespoke clothier in Manhattan whose suits range from $5,000 to $30,000… calls quality hangers a must. Unlike the dreaded wire versions, hangers with wide shoulders and a broader overall design prolong a garment’s life by preventing sagging or stretching.”

No Wire Hangers!
Nov 16, 2008, Wall Street Journal

Ordinary hangers just hang your clothes. They do nothing more. Examples are free wooden hangers, wire and cardboard hangers from dry cleaners, and plastic hangers, and they can be found in many ordinary closets.

Properly made wooden hangers, on the other hand, are deliberately crafted from premium woods to protect and extend the life of your clothing.

They provide opulent shoulder support, are correctly sized, and do not damage your clothes.

Over the life of your wardrobe, they can save you thousands of dollars in ruined garments (think about the number of times you’ve thrown away a shirt because of shoulder dimples or a suit because it became limp).

Let’s Talk Hanger Styles

The style of a hanger is the first thing to consider when selecting your hanger. Different hangers are designed for different purposes.

I make seven different styles designed just for men, plus another nine totally different styles for women. Men and women have dramatically different wardrobes, and the same is true for their hangers. A premium wooden hanger is, by design, gender specific.

The following is a list and brief description of different styles of men’s hangers and their use:

  • Suit Hangers – a proper suit hanger is used to hang matching jacket and trouser sets. The hanger should offer opulent support to protect the delicate, tailored shoulder construction and drape. They should be fully contoured and have a large shoulder flare to optimize shoulder support. The trouser bar should be flocked or felted in order to prevent the creasing that ordinary locking bars can cause. The width is also important; in order to offer optimal support, the suit hanger should extend up to but not beyond the point where the shoulder meets the sleeve. This is especially important for gentlemen with broad shoulders, as the weight of a large jacket distributed on a skinny hanger will almost immediately destroy its drape.
  • Jacket Hangers – A proper jacket hanger should contain all of the same characteristics of a suit hanger (detailed above) but without the trouser bar. Jacket hangers are used for sports coats that would not have matching trousers and guest coat closets.
  • Trouser HangersTrouser hangers are an essential part of any well-appointed closet and are only used for hanging trousers. Because of their specific application, they save room relative to using old suit hangers. The most important criteria for a wooden trouser hanger is whether it creases trousers. Locking bars, although very common, actually damage the fabric of most trousers over time and lead to creasing across the thigh, which can result in embarrassing creases across the trousers when pulled out of the closet. Trouser hangers are not contoured.
  • Locking Bars – A wooden bar locks the trousers between a metal wire. This mechanism is BAD, as they cause creasing across trousers and can damage premium wools (like Super 100’s). This is the most common and inexpensive type of trouser bar and can be found on most department store hangers.
  • Felted Trouser Bar – The trouser bar is flocked or felted with a material whose texture “grips” trousers. Trousers drape over the bar and no pressure is applied (as with a locking bar), thereby preventing creasing. This is the BEST style and can only be found on premium wooden suit hangers.
  • Clamping Trouser Bar – two planks of wood with felted interiors clamp trousers at their cuff and hang them vertically upside. This style is popular but demands a lot of vertical closet space. The weight of the trousers “pull” wrinkles out over time as the trousers hang. Can be found on premium wooden suit hangers, although they increase their cost significantly.
  • Clip Hangers – use two independent clips to secure the trouser. These are generally discouraged for finer wool, cotton, or linen trousers because the force of the clip can damage the fabric. However, they are totally acceptable for hanging denim jeans or shorts.
  • Shirt Hangers – a man’s shirt hanger should extend all the way to the edge of the shoulder. If a shirt hanger is too narrow (width), puckering or dimpling occurs. It should also be thick enough to offer support, but not so thick that closet space is unnecessarily consumed. Premium wooden shirt hangers are especially important for loosely-knit fabrics, such as cotton and cashmere shirts. Shirt hangers are not contoured.
  • Sweater Hanger – Most people fold their sweaters — not because folding is necessarily better, but because most ordinary hangers are very quick to destroy sweaters. This is why The Hanger Project developed a sweater specifically sweaters and soft knits. The moderate shoulder flare, which is flocked to help grip the garment, controls the sweater and prevents it from sliding down the hanger. This prevents both stretching and shoulder puckering.

Hanger Width – The Most Important Criteria

The width of a hanger is the most overlooked but critical characteristic of a proper hanger.

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to your clothing, and the same should be true when it comes to your hangers. Considering that your garments will spend more time in your closet over the lifetime than on your shoulders, it is easy to understand why this characteristic is so important.

The sizing principle is the same for both suits and shirts: the hanger should extend all the way to–but not beyond–the point where the shoulder meets the sleeve. The most accurate method of sizing your hanger is to measure directly across the back (the point-to-point measurement).

My company makes suit hangers in four widths: 15.5″, 17.0″, 18.5″, and 20.0″. A 20.0″ suit hanger is an exceptionally large suit hanger perfect for professional athletes and other gentlemen with particularly broad shoulders, while the smaller hanger is aimed for the smaller man who is tired of over sized hangers blowing out the shoulders on his expensive suit jackets.

As for wooden shirt hangers, you’ll often find them in lengths of 17.0″, 19.0″, and 21.0″.  Choose the size that is closest to the width of your shirt. It is okay for your shirt hanger to extend slightly beyond the shoulder. With the right luxury shirt hanger, you will be able to almost eliminate the annoying shirt puckering that often plagues closets.

Hanger Girth

The GIRTH of a hanger, or it’s thickness, is particularly important at its ends. I make a  suit hanger with a 2.5″ Shoulder Flares distributes the weight of a jacket over a surface area 5x larger than average. This, in turn, ensures that the drape of the jacket is protected.

I hope you found this article useful – if you have any wisdom or stories to share I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


This article was written by Kirby Allison, founder of the Hanger Project.  Make sure to visit his website to see what the best made hangers in the world look like before you buy anywhere else!

  • Justin McKinnis Frazier

    Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford yelled “I told you! No wire hangers, ever!” in Mommie Dearest. I never had dresses thrown all over the room, but I caught the wrong end of a wire hanger from time to time. I’m glad it wasn’t one of those Luxury Wooden Suit Hanger from Kirby’s, though!

  • Kimble

    Joan Crawford said that quote to her children in a fit of rage.
    I could really use some sweater hangers or suit hangers

  • markfab

    Mommie Dearest (aka Joan Crawford) didn’t care for metal hangers either. Wonder if she preferred Luxury Wooden Suit Hangers from Kirby’s, instead ?!

  • Andrew Kempter

    That was Joan Crawford who said that quote. I could really use a pack of the Luxury wooden suit hangers (17″). I would make a witty comment, but I’m not sure I have any that are PG-13.

  • Kimble

    BTW, I did not even have to Google for the answer to that question. Also I forgot to put the size hanger I would need which is a 17″ or Medium

  • Nathan Spiwak

    The Polo Hanger Set (aka Gold Winner) would never have caused Joan Crawford to yell at her daughter. Instead Christina would have won gold in the best daughter olympics!

  • Mike

    The title is from Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest.

    Suit hangers and shirt hangers are nice. But it’s hard to beat a set of ape hangers: (URL shortened to protect the slightly NSFW surprise).

  • Louis

    I would rather get beat with a kirby built 18.5″ luxury wooden suit hanger by Faye Dunnaway playing Joan Crawford than a wired hanger; because then my suit wouldn’t be ruined from a despicable wire hanger on top of getting a beating. Besides, anyone using wired hangers might as well be wearing the little dresses that come on them.

  • Austin McGarvey

    That kid should have had her favorite dress on a Runway Collection Dress Hanger and used that wire hanger to assist her in some auto theft. No one needs a crazy mom like Joan Crawford. Run away, run very far away!

  • Parker

    “Hey…Joan Crawford honey, calm down it’s only a metal hanger. It’s not like my favorite blazer was on it or anythin..ow OW! no,no stop! ow! Honey I was kidding! Seriously we’ll ditch the hangers! OW!!”

  • Edward Arcuri

    I guess I am a bit late, but what the heck:
    Joan Crawford yelled that at her daughter in Mommie Dearest.
    I could use a set of the Large “Big Kahuna” Luxury Wooden Hangers. Although the Extra-Large “Kilimanjaro” set could work too. The smaller “Hanger Envy” set is too small.

  • Nick P.

    What is all this talk about Faye Dunaway and Joan Crawford? Perhaps I shall watch this “Mommy Dearest” and figure it out. I will say that those Luxury Shirt Hangers look pretty nice, being a smaller framed guy, I bet a medium would be just fine, time for another addition to my Christmas List.

  • royalty303

    The quote is from Joan Crawford ! I really like the Luxury Wooden Suit Hangers from Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project. See that Youtube interpretation :

  • Matt Wolcott

    In perhaps one of the most terrifying scenes since The Excorcist, Faye Dunaway expresses her sincere feelings of underappreciation to her children. “Mommie Horrifyingest”

    I could totally use a set of Luxury Suit Hangers (natural finish looks great but both are lovely, really). But the sizing is confusing… I wear a 38 but my shoulders are about 19″, which is really the pertinent measurement isn’t it? That would mean I should look into the 18.5″ hanger but the site claims that those are suitable for a size 45 to 48.

  • Matt Tantillo

    As Joan Crawford, Faye Dunaway never wanted wire hangers, because not only are Kirby’s 17″ Wooden Shirt Hangers better for men’s shirts, but they also function phenomenally as boomerangs, backscratchers, dog toys, firewood, chiropractic tools, Halloween pirate hooks, sun dials, fishing gear, tuning forks, butter knives, and target hangers for rifle practice.

  • zachsdad1

    The Wall Street Journal titled the article about Alan Katzman’s disdain for wire hangers but it does not credit him with the quote, So he at least implied it and the Wall Street Journal said or they quoted him without giving him credit for it. (It is not in quotation marks.) The suit hanger might be called the “low hanger” since the pants rod makes it larger in length (from top to bottom) compared to the regular jacket hanger

  • Ken Tobin

    Joan Crawford. I could really use a nice set of suit hangers for my Army Service Uniform and my new suit !

  • Mark Wright

    The quote is a memorable line from a disturbing movie, Mommie Dearest, said by Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford.
    Another great quote from an old 50s detective movie, “Straight from the Cleaners”…..”Yeah sweetheart my name’s Woody – Woody Suitanger. It’s a luxury job I have shouldering all this responsibility for the suits I support. But they make me a good living, ya know. A good living. But someday I’m coming out of the closet and things will change forever.”

  • Ken Tobin

    Joan Crawford. I could really use a set of medium suit hangers. Theres no telling what she’d do if she saw my Army Service Uniforn hanging on anything but a Kirby!

  • Vinh

    Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest

    Luxury Wooden Shirt Hanger Se, Size M, Traditional Finish

  • Robert Cox

    Joan Crawford didn’t like wire hangers either. I sure could use some of those 17″ suit hangers, thanks for the heads up!!

  • Top

    Whip me, beat me (with the 20″ Lux Wooden Suit Hangers please), make me write bad checks…just don’t bore me. Oh…wrong movie. Can you imagine Gunny Highway and Joan Crawford’s Mommie Dearest going at it? I can see the mushroom cloud rising now…oohrah!

  • Nick Potocki

    Joan Crawford in “mommie dearest”
    As for my choice hanger, the Sweater hanger aka “The Nipple Remover”

  • Scott

    Ah, (Faye Dunaway as) Joan Crawford, pleading with her daughter to treat her clothing well. Doesn’t every mother want her child to take good care of her things? Of course, beating a child with a hanger probably sends a contradictory message. That, and the mid-night wakeup call over a bunch of wire hangers.

    I suppose Christina could have hung her $300+ dresses on a set of 18.5″ luxury suit hangers, but that don’t cure crazy.

  • Heath Lewis Naylor

    Joan Crawford outfitted all of my closets with proper utilities… and then she broke my leg. it’s called love. Luxury wooden suit hangers seem to be the best option.

  • Chris Hayes

    Joan Crawford/Mommi Dearest said that quote and I’m pretty sure if she woulda had wooden shirt hangers she’d been satisfied. Then again, she woke kids in the middle of the night to scream about a wire hanger when all she had to do is replace the wire hanger with a wooden one. Maybe she is allergic to rust and was just having a bad allergic reaction…
    Or, perhaps some good music would make her feel better :)

  • Joshua

    Joan Crawford and

    Luxury Wooden Travel Hanger (Set of 3) :) thank you

  • Angelae Le’Chastaignier

    It appears “Mommie Dearest” – the inimitable Joan Crawford – suffered a fate worse than the heartbreak of psoriasis in seeing her finest vestments on hangers fit for rags.
    Perhaps if she had invested in a “professional” hanger (or two) to hold up her sagging “couture”, the “chic” wouldn’t have hit the fan!,

  • Todd Kunz

    Faye Dunaway was
    physically beautiful playing Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, but her tirade
    concerning wire hangers showed just how quickly she could become ugly. Thankfully the Luxury
    Suit Hangers that Kirby manufactures will stay beautiful for many years to come. I need to put these on my “Soon to Purchase” list.

  • Kelly Marshall

    If Christina would have just used the right hangers they probably wouldn’t have been able to have been used as many times to reprimand her

    Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest”

    hangers would be my choice because who need those pesky dimples on
    thier shoulders like misplaced nipples. Just makes you look unkept.

  • Benjy Wolf

    The quote is from Faye Dunaway playing Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. I could really use a set of the Kirby’s Sweater and Polo Hangers. If you send me a set I will be able to say I’ve “Dunaway” with my wire hangers!

  • Michael

    Mommy Dearest and I could use the suit hanger!

  • William Wright

    Aw that brings back a lot of memories! Of course, it was Joan Crawford to her daughter Christine in “Mommy Dearest” in a very violent fit of rage! I wonder if that is where I thought I had to have a bad temper to succeed. Anyway, I know I can use at least 12 Luxury Suit Hangers from Kirby

  • kev

    Let’s see whether I understand these tasks…
    1 Faye Dunaway uttered the expression in Mommy Dearest.
    2 I’d name the
    trouser hanger “The Eagle”. It reminds me of the bald eagle holding the
    arrows. Okay– it’s Monday morning and I have $$$ on the brain.

  • me

    wow… i really blew that. had $$$ on the brain and little else ;-). Can’t wait for the next contest!!

  • Adil

    Very nice post Antonio. I came across your blog today and red 2,3 posts which were very interesting. I also downloaded EBook “7 deadly sins”, It sounds very well; I gona read it today. I think you are doing great great job. Love your work! Keep it up buddy

  • menstyle

    This was a great one – but unfortunately there can be only one winner. Thanks for playing Angelae!

  • menstyle

    Although strangely funny, you didn’t win Heath. Thanks for playing though!

  • menstyle

    Scott – you are the winner! Contact me via my contact form please sir!

  • menstyle

    This one made me laugh – and FYI, Gunny Highway would have realized this battle couldn’t be won and would have headed back to the bar:)

  • menstyle

    Good try Matt!

  • menstyle

    This was good Matt – you should have written more:) Email Kirby about the sizing issue as I’m sure he would like to know.

  • menstyle

    That video was scary!

  • menstyle

    You gotta be on the email list Nick – it was a top secret giveaway!

  • menstyle

    Good shot Edward…..

  • menstyle

    This was very close to winning sir – better luck next time!

  • menstyle

    Agreed Austin!

  • menstyle

    Great try Louis – you were close to winning but there can be on one……

  • menstyle

    Good shot Nathan……

  • menstyle

    That must have hurt Justin – who’s throwing them at you?