Everyone’s guilty of leaving their clothes on those flimsy dry-cleaner hangers for longer than they really should. But in addition to the fact that they can make your closet look like a hot mess, keeping your clothes on the flimsy metal for too long can actually lead to long-term damage of your favorite pieces.
“Hangers are designed to mimic the shape of our shoulders,” says Maeve Richmond, a home organization expert and founder of Maeve’s Method. “This way, when they’re not on our bodies they can help clothes to maintain that natural, just-off-the-model look.” She explains that because the ideal hanger should be the shape of the body, it should have a thick base and gentle slopes on each side. I don’t know about you, but personally, the wire triangles that my dry cleaning comes back on don’t really fit that bill.
“Wire hangers truly, are too thin,” she says. “Not only can they cause awkward stretch marks on clothes, but they will bend over time, causing unsightly bunch-ups in our closets, and our clothing to hang at funny angles.”
Instead, she suggests opting for the chunky wooden hangers that you usually see on department store floors, because they most closely mimic the slope of people’s shoulders. If you’re cramped on closet space (AKA you live in New York City), she suggests slim velvet ones or chic chrome ones which are slightly thicker than the dry cleaner variety.
But if you really, really can’t ditch your wire hanger habit, try wrapping the wire form in old fabric—like a torn up t-shirt—to protect your clothes from their sharp edges. Better yet? Reserve them for belts, accessories, and scarves, using your nicer, thicker options for your actual clothes.
After all, a good support system is the key to a beautiful closet (and happy clothes that live inside of it). “Invest in a set of any kind of matching hangers for that gorgeous, showroom-style wardrobe,” says Richmond. “Your clothes will hang evenly, won’t bunch up awkwardly or get wrinkles, and they’ll thank you for it.”