The Dress Shirt.
The uniform of the corporate world and countless other professions.
It's a style choice, valued wardrobe item and personal statement all in one.
But, dress shirts aren't perfect and how you go about caring for dress shirts in your closet will contribute greatly to the look and longevity of this most versatile of wardrobe pieces.
Dress shirts will not last a lifetime. Don't be surprised if after a year or so your favorite dress shirt begins to show signs of wearing our. And please, don't blame your dry cleaner when the seams of a shirt give way. The Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institure estimates an average shirt shirt will withstand 50 launderings before showing signs of wear. I've had plenty that lasted longer...and some even less.
Dress shirts all face the same common problems: basic wear and tear, stains and spills, and your own forgetfulness. Here's what you should know.
Basic Wear & Tear
Dress shirts, like any clothing item, experience wear and tear during their life span. You can greatly extend the life span of your shirts by doing a few simple things:
- Wear a T-shirt underneath to limit the transfer of perspiration, deodorant and cologne. These elements can weaken a shirt's fabric more quickly and can cause discoloration.
- Watch the size and placement of your wrist watch to protect your cuffs. The more your watch rubs against the cuff, the more likely you'll experience fraying.
- Buying the right size of shirt particularly in the neck and torso will limit the stress on the collar and seams.
- Caring for dress shirts includes having them laundering regularly. While laundering or dry cleaning any garment causes some stress on the garment, allowing it to get soiled and not cleaning is regularly causes more stress. Launder your dress shirts regularly to keep them looking their best.
The Stain Solution
You can't prevent all stains and spills. It's just not possible. But, you can limit and treat stains as soon as possible to keep them from becoming permanent. Talk with your dry cleaner about the best way to pre-treat a variety of stains and spots. Then, when spills and stains happen, treat them and get your shirt to the dry cleaner ASAP to be laundered. The longer the stain sits, the more likely it is to set.
Routine is the Spice of Life
No, actually variety is but not when caring for dress shirts. Set up a weekly routine of dropping off and picking up your shirts. The longer they sit around in a crumpled ball in the corner of your room (you know it's over there), the more likely they are exposed to indoor pollutants and those elements like rain, perspiration and cologne that cause problems for dress shirts.
If your dry cleaner offers a once or twice-a-week dry cleaning pickup and delivery service, use the service regularly. Don't let your dress shirts (or any garment) sit around soiled for long.
Keep the most valued part of your wardrobe looking it's best. Know the common problems you face in caring for dress shirts and make sure you look your best each and every day.
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