There are multiple types of hangers for different clothing styles, materials, and customer demographics. Which type is right for your closet?
Each hanger uses specific materials and construction to care for your clothing without causing wrinkles, tears, or unwanted stretching. You need to choose the right type of hanger to keep your clothing looking fresh and new no matter how long it’s been in the closet. But it can be confusing to navigate the nuances of each type of clothes hanger.
In this post, we’ll look at all types, including which hangers you need for everything from belts to lingerie to suits. We’ll also explore the pros, cons, and features you should consider before buying new hangers.
Once you know the ins and outs of all the hanger types, you’ll be ready to organize the closet more effectively—without ruining your wardrobe.
Types of Clothes Hangers (By Material)
Wooden clothes hangers are more durable than alternative types of clothes hangers and tend to look appealing in your wardrobe, too. Different varieties of wood lend a unique look to your closet, but the benefits of wood hangers go beyond aesthetics.
Wood hangers are usually wide and hold their shape, meaning they won’t sag with the weight of your clothing. Plus, they last a long time—no snapping like plastic hangers or sagging like thin wire ones—and can potentially save you cash over the long term.
- Wooden hangers do not sag.
- Balanced and prevent clothes from being stretched.
- Last a long time.
- Are often more expensive than alternative hanger types.
Best for: Hanging heavy clothing or items that need to retain shape, and making your closet look aesthetically appealing.
Plastic clothing hangers are one of the most common types of hangers. People like them because they are relatively cheap and easy to find. Plastic hangers also come in many sizes, including smaller widths for infant and children’s clothing, and a large variety of colors.
Most plastic hangers are tubular, but there are different types of hangers which use plastic. For example, many retail stores use thick plastic hangers with a wire hook at the top. Denser plastic hangers with wire hooks are often more durable than tubular options, but they are also less visually appealing.
You can find plastic hangers in smooth or notched designs. Flat designs are ideal for shirts while notched options help keep thin straps in place while dresses and tank tops hang in the closet. The downside to plastic is that they can lose their shape over time, dragging your clothing down with them.
- Cheap and easy to find
- Various sizes and colors available
- Notched or smooth designs suit multiple types of clothing
- Tubular plastic hangers can lose their shape
- Thicker plastic hangers are not aesthetically appealing
Best for: Shoppers on a budget, those looking for different color options, or hangers that work with varied clothing sizes.
Velvet hangers are a gentle way to hang delicate clothing items without damaging them. The only consideration with velvet hangers is to ensure your clothing items are dry before hanging. If they remain wet, the color of the velvet can transfer to your clothes.
Velvet hangers come in a few varieties, some with clips to hang skirts and pants and others with notches to hang delicate dresses and thin-strap tops. Many colors are available, too, which allows you to customize the look of your closet.
- Aesthetically appealing
- Won’t damage delicate clothing
- Keeps slippery fabrics from sliding off
- Can transfer color to wet clothing
Best for: Delicate clothing items, aesthetically pleasing closets, silk, and other “slippery” materials.
Metal clothes hangers vary widely because they are often custom-made and serve as art pieces. Many wire hangers are iron or copper, and very thick. Wire hangers won’t warp or contort with heavy clothing items, and they won’t stretch out your clothes, either.
- Resist warping
- Artistic appeal
- Can be expensive
- Much heavier than other types of hangers
Best for: Heavier clothing items such as jackets and winter wear. Also perfect for “designer” closets.
Bamboo is an ideal material for hangers because it’s environmentally friendly and durable. Bamboo hangers may look a lot like wooden hangers, but you can typically tell the difference by checking the weight. Bamboo is lightweight and often very affordable, too.
For eco-conscious consumers, bamboo hangers are an excellent option. They may not have the colorful appeal of plastic or velvet options, but authentic bamboo can add to your neutral-toned or natural décor.
- Environmentally friendly/renewable
- Bamboo is biodegradable, so eventually, it will degrade
- More expensive than plastic or wire hangers
Best for: Creating a natural aesthetic and supporting lightweight clothing items.
You most often see wire hangers in dry cleaning shops because they are inexpensive and easy to find. Dry cleaning professionals typically send customers home with these hangers, and hotels often use them in room closets, too.
You may have some in your closet already, but you’ve likely noticed that wire hangers tend to lose their shape over time. If you have kids, you might have donated a few wire hangers for science and other craft projects.
- Easy to find/replace
- Other uses beyond hanging clothing
- Lose their shape causing clothing to stretch
- Can’t hold thin straps/wide tops
Best for: Ultra-lightweight clothing items and temporary hanging/transportation of clothes.
Satin hangers involve contoured padding to prevent damage and creases to clothing. These fabric-padded hangers are available in multiple colors and design options that are ideal for special outfits, delicate dresses, and materials prone to creasing.
Plus, satin hangers look elegant in your closet. Many types of satin hangers even have bows or other designs to enhance their visual appeal further.
- Prevent creasing and damage to delicate clothing items
- Multiple style and color options
- Not ideal for heavy clothing like suits or outerwear
Best for: Delicate clothing items, special occasion wear and aesthetic appeal.
Fabric hangers include custom types of clothes hangers with fabric wrapping and those which use canvas or other material for padding. Like satin hangers, fabric hangers usually add a layer of padding to prevent damage to clothing.
Fabric hangers can have fun prints, additional features like clips or covered hanging hooks. You can find canvas hangers, padded options in a variety of fabrics, and even plastic or wood hangers with fabric embellishments.
You can often take a do-it-yourself approach to fabric hangers, but they’re also available in matching or complementary sets to suit your wardrobe décor.
- A range of patterns and colors are available
- Multiple styles are available with fabric covering
- Can be expensive, especially if custom-ordered
Best for: Multiple types of clothing (different types of hangers with fabric coverings) available, and great for adding color to your closet.
Types of Hangers (By Clothing Item)
Whether you have multiple pairs of jeans or neatly pressed work slacks to hang up, pants hangers are ideal. Pant hangers typically involve sliding the folded pants over a flat or rounded hanger surface. Some types allow you to hang multiple pairs of pants vertically, preserving the extra space in your closet for other items.
Specialized pant hanger types are sturdy enough to handle the hanging weight of slacks without bending. Instead of hanging your pants over a plastic or wire hanger, for example, you should choose a sturdy wood or metal option.
Pants hangers can have a straight shape, a zigzag for sliding pants on but keeping them from sliding off, and fabric covering to prevent marks on your pants.
Pant hangers can also feature clips for securing the waistband of your pants to the hanger. These types of hangers are ideal for pants such as jeans or ones with a thick waistband which won’t crease under the pressure of the clips.
Preserving your expensive suit is easy when you use the right type of hanger. Suit hangers involve sturdy materials, crease-free features, and enough shape to hold the suit’s outline. To find the right suit hanger, you should focus on the material, shape, and overall sturdiness of each option.
Suit hangers come in a range of widths, finishes, and wood types. Sizing is crucial because the wrong size can cause your suit to look misshapen or even damage it as it hangs in your closet. Many suits have padding in the shoulder area, so you want a hanger which can support the padding without stretching or damaging it.
Also, avoid thin wire hangers as they will only sag over time. Even if your dry cleaner sends your suit home hanging on one, wire hangers are not ideal for heavier clothing like suits.
You can hang dresses and shirts on many types of hangers, but typically, a structured hanger with notches is ideal. Plastic and thin metal hangers can stretch out fabrics as they bend, so these aren’t ideal except for very lightweight fabrics.
For dresses which have wide necks or thin shoulder straps, you’ll need hangers with a notch to keep the garment from slipping off. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for dresses and shirts, including satin hangers for fragile fabrics. For skirts, choosing a skirt hanger with clips is ideal for storing garments without creases.
To truly organize your scarf collection, you need scarf hangers with individual loops to contain each item. Whether you have heavy-weight winter scarves or lightweight silk ones, there’s a scarf hanger option perfect for each one.
Most scarf hangers have velvet or silk covering the wood, metal, or plastic material of the hanger. With this fabric covering, you can preserve your scarves until you’re ready to wear them again. Untie your scarf, smooth it out, then hang on a scarf-specific hanger.
If you own multiple belts, you know how frustrating it is to never be able to find the one you want, when you want it. Belt hangers eliminate those struggles, keeping all your belts organized and easy to find when you need them.
Belt hangers vary in style, with some hanging the belts by their buckles and others using a rack to loop the belts over. Most belt hangers are metal or plastic, but some feature rubber coating or velvet non-slip fabric to keep belts in place.
Consider the style of belt you wear most often and choose the right hanger to suit your collection.
Storing ties can prove complicated, but there are two excellent ways to keep your closet tidy while ensuring your ties are ready for the next wear. First, you should untie them before storage to keep them wrinkle-free.
Rolling is one option for tie storage while using a tie hanger is another. Tie hangers are a helpful addition to your wardrobe, especially if you have more ties than you can wear during the workweek. Tie and belt hangers have a lot in common, with fabric-covered racks or hooks holding each item.
Many hangers allow you to store multiple ties (or belts) on one rack, eliminating the need for numerous bulky hangers in your closet. Instead of shoving your ties into a drawer, you can hang them freely and ensure they remain in pristine condition for your next formal event.
Hanging lingerie can be challenging due to the slippery nature of the fabric. At the same time, narrow straps can make it challenging to hang undergarments without them falling off the hanger.
The solution to hanging lingerie lies in hangers with silk, velvet, or fabric wrapping. With fabric coverings, you ensure your lingerie remains in good condition, but the friction maintains a grip on the clothing item so it can’t slip off the hanger.
Shoe hangers come in different varieties, with various types of clothing hangers catering to various storage scenarios. Many hangers are pocket options which attach to the back of your closet or bedroom door. Other racks for shoes use a rounded “hook” for each shoe to slide over.
You can store shoes in pairs, side by side, and even hang multiple pairs underneath one another. Still other shoe hanger options mount on the wall and hold your shoes in colorful bins, loops, or on hooks.
Though many hotels provide plain wire clothes hangers for guests, there are travel hanger options which provide sturdier support for your garments. Travel hangers typically fold or telescope for storage, so they fit neatly in your luggage or even in your carry-on bag.
If you often travel or have an important event to attend while on the go, travel hangers are a helpful addition to your kit. You can help avoid wrinkles, preserve your formal wear, and avoid using warped metal hangers by packing foldable clothes hangers for your trip.
Features to Consider for Each Type of Hanger
Depending on the type of hanger you’re shopping for, there are many features to choose from. Think about whether each type of hanger will satisfy your needs and whether the following features are necessary for organizing your closet.
Hangers with clips are beneficial for storing pants and skirts. You clip the waistband of the garment to hang it up without wrinkles. Clips are ideal for hard-to-hang items like long, flowy skirts and pants you don’t want to crease.
Any type of hanger can include clips—from wood to metal to plastic—and the clips often adjust in width to suit nearly any piece of clothing.
Strap notches are helpful for delicate garments and ones with thin straps. Dresses with narrow straps, for example, hang particularly well on notched hangers of all types. You can find notches on plastic, wood, and even metal hangers.
If you plan to hang dresses, thin-strap tank tops, or lingerie, strap notches are a must. These types of clothes hangers are also helpful for wider-neck tops which need a notch to keep them from sliding off the hanger entirely.
Many retail and other store hangers feature a swivel function, but you can buy these for home use, too. Swivel hangers have a hanging hook which rotates 360 degrees so you can hang your clothes either way.
Unlike plastic hangers with stationery hooks, swivel hangers let you turn the hook whichever way you want to organize the closet to your specifications. Many types of hangers—including wood, metal, and more—can have swivel function.
Some hangers can be bulky, and if you’re short on space, those won’t be a great fit for your wardrobe. Look at the profile of the hanger you’re considering to determine how well a set of them will fit in your closet.
Low profile hangers fit into narrow spaces, allowing you to hang more clothing items in a narrower area. Plastic, wood, and metal hangers can all be low profile, but checking the hangers’ measurements will give you the most accurate understanding of how thin they are.
Non-slip hangers help keep clothing in place. Many fabric hangers are non-slip, using velvet or other material to create the friction that keeps garments in place.
Plastic hangers can also carry the label if they have textured pads on a surface which clothes rest on. Plastic hangers with non-slip pads may not be the most visually appealing, but they do serve a purpose. Velvet or other fabric hangers, however, tend to look elegant in your closet while keeping clothes from sliding to the floor.
Travel hangers are great for long trips where you need to loosen the wrinkles out of your packed clothing. You can fold these hangers to fit into tight spaces and then unfold them when you arrive at your destination.
Most folding hangers come in plastic styles, which are usually ideal for basic clothing like shirts and dresses. Some are more robust, however, and can handle hanging a suit or even outerwear. Look at the construction of the folding hanger to determine if it can handle the garments you want to hang on it.
Some clothing items benefit from soft padding all over the hanger. Padded hangers avoid scrapes and scratches on delicate fabric. They also help garments maintain their shape.
Look for padding if you need to hang items like silk clothing of any kind, lingerie, and lace or satin tops and dresses. Padding prevents wrinkles, too, especially in lightweight dresses and sweaters.
Think about width when buying hangers for both your daily wear items and clothes like suits and special occasion garments. A hanger that is too wide will stretch out your clothing, while a hanger that is too narrow will let your clothes slide to the floor.
Ideally, you should look for hangers closely matching the shoulder width of your tops or dresses. If you’re looking for hangers with clips, make sure the clips adjust to the width you need without stretching your clothes or bunching them up.
While you may have appreciated hangers for their utility before, you probably didn’t realize how crucial they are for preserving your clothing. And with so many options and features, not to mention styles, you can find the perfect fit for your closet.
With the right type of hangers, you can not only organize your space but also keep your entire wardrobe looking fresh and wrinkle-free.