January 16, 2012

Hunting for really good clothes hangers

Did you know that in the US alone, since the late 1800s, clothes hangers have been awarded over 200 different patents? Neither did I until I started researching this everyday workhorse of the wardrobe world, but it turns out they have - and many more designs have existed around the world for ages (some sources cite Thomas Jefferson as having invented a forerunner of the modern wooden hanger).

For as long as humans have worn clothing (unless everything they had was carried on their person at all times), we've needed places in which to store our duds. From chests of draws to towering wardrobes, footlockers to suitcases, clothing - which gives us so much and asks so little in return - always needs someplace to live when not being worn.

At some point (I suspect fairly early on), modern man (or woman!) came up with the idea of a closet, and the rest, as they say, is history. Few of us these days are without at least one closet in our homes, and most have several. Some closets are designed solely for shelves, but most intended for clothing have a bar (or multiple bars) on which we lovingly dangle our wardrobes.

The closet that I have at present is, to say the least, on the pocket sized side of things! From the bar to the shelve to the space on the floor, I've carefully crammed as much into that itsy-bitsy bit of space as I can - which is all the more reason why I'm thrilled about the fact that our new house is going to have a larger (slightly walk-in!) closet.

While I won't be giving a Hollywood starlet a run for her money in the closet department anytime soon, I'll joyfully take any increase in clothes storage space I can get - especially because I've already got more clothes, shoes, and accessories than my current closet can house.

One thing I picked up on ages ago is that, generally speaking, the less bulky your hangers, the more you're able to comfortably fit onto one closet bar. At the moment we're using a mixture of wood and plastic hangers, most of which were picked up from Walmart, Zellers or Canadian Tire. They're perfectly fine hangers, but most of them could be a little thinner, if you ask me.

{While I don't want to contradict myself, if I could find a stash of super cute 1950s plastic hangers like these darling children's ones, I might just be willing to give up some closet bar space for them Smile Image via galessa's plastics on Flickr.}


I've also grown rather fond of the idea of all of my hangers looking unified and completely matchy-matchy (in a nod to said starlet's closet, which - at least the ones I've seen in magazines - often tend to have rows of perfectly matching hangers). As such I thought it was high time I started testing the waters in terms of what's out there on the hanger front.

Unfortunately, living in Canada, we don't have the abundance or array or organizational, department, or big box stores that the fine folks in the States do from which to shop for hangers, but there are still some options. That said, on top of the three chains mentioned above, there are handful of spots at which to find hangers including (but not limited to) Winners, Ikea, Home Sense, and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Based on my online research last week, the latter has the largest selection, hands down.

As much as I love frilly, girly, padded hangers (think back to those floral print ones that were all the rage in the 80s and 90s), if you’re aiming to save closet bar space, they are not the best choice for your primary hanger (though it's a good idea to usually have a few padded ones on hand for particularly delicate or otherwise special garments that you might not want to rest on plastic, flocked, or wood hangers).

Instead, when space is at a premium, you'll probably want to go with slim line or ultra hangers, which are generally made from plastic (that's often covered in a soft flocking to help hold garments in place). It's these svelte little sweeties that I'm thinking may very well be what my closet (in both it's current and future state) is longing for.

Before plunking down any cold, hard cash on new hangers though, I'm thoroughly curious to know what kind all of you use (and/or love the most) in your closet.

As I know many of yours are too, the bulk of my wardrobe is comprised of vintage pieces, so I'd never opt for metal or anything with the potential to harm my clothes. I need to keep my budget in mind, but am ok with paying a little more if the quality is really top top-notch.

So, my lovelies, please let me know what sort hangers you adore most. I’ll be here, hanger-ing out for your replies Smile, and will let you know which ones I decide to go with in a future post .


  1. i have a mixture, like you, of plastic, wood and (sad, i know) wire dry cleaning hangers. for skirts i have this odd collection of clippy hangers culled from purchases at target (where they tend to just throw it in w/the item) and kohl's (where they'll release it if you ask nicely!)so, all that to say, i am NOT the hanger aficionado to advise you!!! i need to follow along to get set straight as well...
    xo, k

  2. Having never, ever had enough space for all my clothes in any closet I've ever used, I've usually had a couple of these in my closet:


    (You definitely need metal ones. Plastic ones will buckle under the weight.)

    You need fairly thin hangers if you want to be able to stack enough garments onto one of these things for it to be a net positive gain in the space department, so I've usually used ones with wire hooks and velvet bodies (i.e., http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Rhodes-Anti-Slip-Velvet-Hangers/dp/B001NGP6SG) which grip clothes so they don't fall out as you hook and unhook the big multi-hanger contraption.

    Good luck! :D

  3. I went through a hanger upgrade about a year ago. As I gain more clothes, I need more hangers. I changed all of my plastic tubed hangers to the slim velvet ones. I have gotten them at just about every place you can imagine, but the best ones I have gotten were on Amazon. I also got a similar slim hanger, without the velvet, at Bed Bath and Beyond, which are equally as good as the ones at Amazon. The cheaper ones I have gotten (Big Lots, The Dollar Store, Walgreens, and Nordstrom Rack) are easily broken (especially the ones at Big Lots). But, I have yet to break the ones I got from Amazon.

    I went through a tiered hanger phase, but I found this this proved more bulky than the generic plastic tubed hangers. I like the velvet hangers, but not sure how much difference they make in space - though they are great for keeping things from slipping off the hanger. I started with black ones, but noticed that I had black markings on my lighter colored clothes. I do not know if the hangers caused it, but to be safe I buy off white slim hangers when I can.

    What I am looking for is a good skirt hanger. I have a few skirts that do not stay clipped, and I've tried every sort of hanger.

    Oh, and I also have a handful of vintage wooden hangers that I won't throw away despite the fact that they are kind of pointy at the ends, and I'm afraid they will ruin my garments. :)

  4. Too funny, after another broken plastic hanger episode last week I finally upgraded all my hangers. I went to Winners in Pitt Meadows because they have a huge Home Sense department with two isles of hangers. I chose metal hangers in flocked black. I really wanted the navy blue flocked ones, but they didn't have the assortment like in black and I wanted all to match. What I got: regular hangers (for folding over dresses or pants and for coats), hangers with clips (clipping pants on and they're strong enough for large crinolines!), tie hanger (for belts - works awesome!), pant hangers comes in a package of 3 (OMG you can fit so many slips on these! This hanger is the width of a regular hanger, but is longer as it has 4 tiers. I also use these for skirts rather than pants. I find it's hard to slip pants onto them), Blouse hanger (again is the width of a regular hanger, but hangs 5 blouses down it - amazing!!! I need to go back and get a few more of these), and the sweater hanger (this is also tiered and the arm swivels out so its easy to get bulky sweaters on and off of it. It hangs 4 sweaters. You can use this for pants as well).
    Together everything looks so sleek and pulled together. It does make a huge difference on space.
    My only con is that the metal hooks at the top of the hangers don't swivel. I like that. Sometimes I hang things from a door or closet when I'm drying clothes or prepping to go out or traveling. I'm going to have to figure something out for that!

  5. Ooh I love these baby clothes hangers, remind me of when I was a babe myself . Had lots of these in my tallboy....