Many men are willing to spend a considerable amount of money on their wardrobe. Often times, the high initial cost is at least partly justified by the superior quality and longevity of the product. In order to get many years worth of wear out of your clothes, you have to take care of them properly. Brushing, steaming, and leaving enough time between wearing the garment are a few simple care tools that will increase the lifetime considerably. One item that is often overlooked, however, is the hanger.
Low quality plastic or wire hangers, relics from dry cleaners and college dorm rooms, are certainly still in use in many a fashionable man’s closet. Not only do those hangers make your closet look rather cheap, but your jackets are likely much worse off for having suffered this kind of “treatment.” It’s time to put those old hangers where they belong: in the garbage bin.
In 2005, while working long days for an investment bank in New York City during the summer, Kirby Allison noticed that his quarter-inch hangers did not completely get out the wrinkles in his suit. Since he did not know any tailors in town, he consulted a number of internet clothing forums on the matter of high quality hangers with wide shoulder pads. To his surprise, many others were equally upset that there was no such product available anywhere. Either the hangers were made of plastic or they did not come in the right size. Realizing there was a demand for luxury wooden hangers, he decided to start producing his own high quality hangers, calling it the Hanger Project.
Today, Kirby Allison offers four different widths of suit hangers for men (15.5”, 17”, 18.5” & 20 “) but also a jacket hanger in the same widths, two kinds of trouser hangers, and designated shirt and sweater hangers.
Suit & Coat Hangers
Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project is the only dealer that offers four widths – chosen very wisely, in my opinion. All hangers I received had a Beverly Hangers imprint, a company which produces their hangers in China.
The 1.5″ steps ensure that a hanger is always within 0.25″ of the optimal width. This means everybody, from size 38”, all the way to size 46”, can get a perfect hanger and even if your size is slightly smaller or larger, you are within range. Ideally, a hanger should be slightly narrower than the actual point-to-point measurement of the (top)coat, otherwise it would reach into the sleeve head and increase the chances of the sleeve getting damaged.
Moreover, all suit / jacket / overcoat hangers feature 2.5-inch shoulder flares which imitate the natural shoulder and prevent deformations, which can sometimes be observed when using slim hangers. They are made of a solid maple wood, which results in a much heavier weight than a regular plastic hanger. The edges are rounded and soft so your garment will not catch on it and rip. The metal hook is embedded with a washer to prevent it from unscrewing or stripping… However, after a while, it seems like they become a little loose. In addition, the suit hangers have a cotton-velvet trouser bar which prevents slipping. The hanger is very thoughtfully designed and is well made. Considering the price of $74.85 for a set of three suit hangers made in China, ($24.95 per hanger) you should expect no less than an extraordinary hanger.
The Hanger Project also produces a cotton velvet trouser bar ($6.50 per piece; separate from the jacket hanger) as well as a clamping hanger ($8.50 per piece). Until a couple of years ago, I exclusively used clamping hanger bars. However, I was never really satisfied with them, since cuff less trousers, even when made out of heavy fabric, would occasionally fall off the hanger. Even thicker pants with a cuff would fall down when being moved little bit. Consequently, I switched to trouser bars.
With the Kirby Allison clamping hanger, I experienced the same issues as I just mentioned above: thin tuxedo pants slip out just on the hanger and even some thicker silk/linen pants with cuffs slid off after a week. However, the superb cotton velvet hangers prevented all slippage, regardless of the material. Moreover, they are quite wide, so even full cut trousers fit on them very easily.
Sweater & Shirt hangers
A sweater hanger ($15 per piece) as well as a shirt hanger ($5.50 per piece) is also available. Both were designed to keep the garment on the hanger while eliminating dimples and puckering at the shoulder They are available in three widths: 17.0 inches, 19.0 inches and 21.0 inches.
Personally, I prefer to store my sweaters folded. However, while experimenting, none of my sweaters or shirts fell off the Hanger Project hangers. In the past, I have never experienced dimples with my other hangers, however, these were about an inch wide. The wire and narrow plastic kinds previously mentioned do always leave dimples. So, while the new sweater hangers are not providing any functional improvement to me, they certainly look very nice and match the suit hangers. My shoulders are an average width. A person with wide or narrow shoulders, or someone who previously used thin hangers, or someone with no room to fold will certainly derive a greater benefit from the sweater hangers.
Wooden Hanger evaluation
Since these hangers are a functional as well as a aesthetic investment, it is worth noting that between Hanger Project hangers, there is some variation in the finish. Some hangers have a thicker coat of varnish than others. The varnish is quite shiny and I prefer a more matte finish, since the shiny varnish reminds me of cheap 1990’s wood treatment, but this is simply a matter of taste. In any case, you should also take a look at the hand made hangers from Butler Luxury which are better in my opinion and similarly priced to the ones from Hanger Project.
Also, while packing for a vacation, I realized that the suit and jacket hangers were relatively heavy and way too bulky for a suitcase. So If you want to travel with them, forget it.
In conclusion, I can say that the hangers Kirby Allison gave to us are of overall good quality and well designed, despite the differences in the varnish and the slightly loose hooks. They used to be my favorite hangers until I received the Butler Luxury hangers, which are, hands down, much nicer and matte.