Whether you shop on Savile Row or in thrift stores, you should treat your wardrobe like an investment. Upkeep requires more than aggressive stain management and careful laundering: Storage matters. If you want that spring suit to last, you've got to hang it properly on, you know, a hanger.
Start with the jacket. Mike Cregan, president of the premier hanger company (which is actually a thing) Butler Luxury, says the ideal shape of a hanger would technically be "the same shape and dimension as a person's actual neck and shoulders." Cregan admits that this doesn't make much sense for your home closet and urges a compromise. According to Cregan, you want a hanger that hits the most important points: "a forward-arching shape, similar to the actual shoulders of most people; a neck shape that allows the lapels to properly lie and hold their gentle curve; a wide shoulder that does not leave a 'peak' crease or extend beyond the shoulder seam into the sleeve."
A good jacket hanger should also be wider toward its extremes. "It keeps the shoulder shape as the tailor intended," says Cregan, "and makes it so that a jacket hung for some time between wearings will not need to be pressed to look great."
Shirts don't require that bulkier built-out shape, but that doesn't mean one of those metal numbers is going to cut it. "The shoulder width doesn't need to be wide like a jacket hanger, but it does need to be wide enough to not leave a mark."
And symmetry is key across your closet. Uniform shirt hangers not only keep all of your shirts in the same condition, they make them easier to find. "I didn't realize this myself until I did it when we added our shirt hangers, and I was amazed at the difference this makes," says Cregan. "On hangers of different sizes and [widths], shirts can get 'lost' behind one another. Having all shirts on the same hanger means you can easily see all of your shirts and decide which you want to wear that day."
Also, if you're wondering whether you should store pants and jacket separately, the choice is yours. "Any detriment to keeping the pants with the jacket, in my opinion, is a bit like 'how many angels can fit on the end of a pin?' With the correct pants bar, the two together do not interfere with each other in any significant, meaningful way," says Cregan. "Far more important is the correct bar for the pants to sit on. A thick diameter bar covered in velvet material both holds pants firmly and leaves no trace, even after weeks of hanging." [Suit hangers from $28; butlerluxury.com]