Let me be clear: I like to wear freshly-pressed clothes, I like to iron a little and I love my iron: the German-made Rowenta DW 8080 from my previous post. However, what I don’t like having to do every week is iron the 4 or 5 dress shirts I need for my day job as a crime-fighting lawyer in a government office. It just takes more time than that particular chore should. The slightly easier alternative is to take them to the local dry cleaners, drop them off, pay $1.75 each and then go back and pick them up, wrapped in plastic to recycle or send to a landfill. That’s a little better, but it’s still time and expense that I’d rather do without.
Although “wash and wear” cotton dress shirts have been around since the Mad Men days in the 1960s, it seems that most of the emphasis was on polyester blends (much too much polyester in the 1970s), and I am most definitely a natural fiber kind of guy. So, starting in the early 1990s, cotton non-iron shirts were finally perfected.
Lots of stores have them now, but I’ve become partial to the ones Brooks Brothers has. They come in an astronomical number of varieties of color, pattern, collar style, cuff size and fit. I can narrow it down pretty easily for me (or Daisy, who enjoys shopping much more): 16 1/2 by 33, button-down collar, slim fit, white or blue. Take them home, wear them to work, stick them in the washer, run them through the dryer, take them out right away and hang them up. Repeat as needed and you’re good to go.
There are some reports out there that they don’t hold up as well as the untreated ones. That may be; as with most things, your mileage may vary. Mine have seemed at least as durable as any other dress shirts I’ve owned. In fact, my experience is usually that it is the dry cleaner who beats the crap out of all my dress shirts, with all the chemicals and stretching and wrapping in plastic that entails. A nice leisurely trip through the washing machine at home is much better. And it’s low stress: if you leave it in too long, just take it out, spray it a little and throw it back in for a few minutes.