Hailed as a modern day miracle by many modern businessmen, the non-iron business shirt brings some much needed joy and time saving to the morning rush. Like most innovations in their early stages, it also brings a fair share of controversy and strong opinions.
Live The Dream
Its early. The alarm has woken you an hour earlier than you’d prefer, as it does every morning. Ahead, it’s another day at the office, but you’ve got to get through the morning routine first.
Shower done. Shaved. Coffee on. Ironing board out. Iron on. Here we go again. If only your shirts would magically appear from your wardrobe, as pressed and crisp, ready to go. Just like in the movies.
Enter, The Non-Iron Shirt
The promise of a shirt that doesn’t need ironing is almost too good to be true, but that doesn’t stop the overwhelming need to try them out. I mean, seriously, if you can look just as good, but avoid the chore or ironing, why wouldn’t you. It just makes sense.
Sadly, many of the early entrants in the non-iron category used polyester blends. Even though they made the shirt somewhat resistant to wrinkles, unless you were very careful about the process of washing and drying, ironing was still needed. But worst of all, the shirts lost the luxury feel of pure cotton and could be quite hot and uncomfortable.
Thankfully, todays offerings from such reputed shirt makers as Charles Tyrwhitt, Van Heusen, and TM Lewin are all of much higher quality. The promise of wash the shirt, dry the shirt, wear the shirt, has been made a reality.
Currently, the process of making a shirt non-iron involves treating the shirt in a type of chemical mix, and it does contain formaldehyde which has been known to irritate some peoples skin. Early on, such shirts has a reputation for being hot and uncomfortable, and even losing their non-iron properties after a number of washes. As you would expect, cheaper shirt have had more problems with this, which could be from using cheaper or poorer quality chemicals in the treatment process.
Environmentalists have also criticised the treatment process and obviously the chemicals used, and the argument has gone back and forth as you might expect. Is it better or worse for the environment on balance? This argument is one that has no clear winner.
Today, the process continues to be refined, with the treatment becoming lighter, and the quality of cotton improving. Some manufacturers are even working with a new, softer and lighter cotton that will require no treatment at all (hopefully). Currently, they only promise wrinkle resistance, not ironing free, but we can live in hope.
Non-iron shirts have certainly risen above the sluggish beginnings, with the majority of some maker’s sales coming from their non-iron options, and the sales are only increasing.
Business men who find themselves travelling for work, have always been challenged with how to pack their business shirts to minimise creasing and limit the time and effort they are going to need to spend ironing while away. Non iron shirts have proved a blessing, to the point that some brands are even marketing them as “the Traveller”.
Non-iron shirts are here to stay, and as long as the process continues to made safer with less impact on the environment, that can only be a good thing.
What has your experience been with non-iron shirts? I’d be curious to know? Leave your feedback below. Thanks