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(National) April 23, 2004 - A good dry cleaner can get creases just right and make a suit look crisp and new, but dry cleaning can be expensive. Consumer Reports just tested suits from J. C. Penney designed to be washed at home.
The polyester, wool and Lycra suit can be purchased on J. C. Penney's Web site for around $200. Penney's calls it a "classic, everyday suit."
To wash you put it in a mesh bag that comes with the suit. Then it goes right in the washing machine. To dry, you hang it on a hanger.
Once the suits had been washed five times, Li Wang and Geoff Martin inspected them, "No puckering in the seams here, and no pilling."
But, Consumer Reports staffers who tried the suits found washing didn't get out all the wrinkles, "There's just a very slight wrinkle the pants. The crease is very sharp, and the fabric is smooth."
It's a good idea to do what the label recommends and give the suits a light touch-up with a steam iron. As for styling, Chris Bucsko says, "It's not a top-of-the-line tailored suit, but it is a pretty good suit for everyday use."
Werner Freitag agrees, "I'd be comfortable wearing it to business meetings."
So, Penney's suit really is a classic everyday suit, and one you can just wash and wear. Consumer Reports says if you decide to get one of Penney's wash-and-wear suits, it's probably a good idea to have it professionally pressed once in a while to keep the suit looking sharp and crisp.