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Guest Blogger: Caring For Your Dress Shirts

men's shirtsWant to maximize the lifespan of your dress shirts? Off-the-shelf shirts have a two-year life expectancy. The average packaged shirt should have a wear life of 35 to 50 washings.

If you can invest in custom dress shirts, they will last 5 to 7 years with proper care.  This is because custom shirts have reinforced seams, higher quality fabrics, and extra fusing in the collar for increased durability.
Here’s what you need to know about shirt care:
Return that Wrinkle-Free Shirt. Adhesives and other materials in the armhole seams on wrinkle-free dress shirts can cause staining and stiffness when commercially pressed. This causes unsightly darkening or yellowing after repeated pressings, particularly in cotton/polyester blends. My advice is if you must buy wrinkle free garment, don’t have them pressed!
Perspiration and Antiperspirant Damage. Perspiration, if allowed to stay in a shirt, will eventually stain and weaken the fabric, causing damage during washing. Aluminum chlorides found in antiperspirants also will weaken the fibers under the arm. Controlled use of antiperspirants and washing immediately after wear may minimize this type of damage. There’s nothing more unsightly than permanent sweat stains on a shirt.
Buttons Beware! When buttons crack during pressing, it is due to an inherent problem in the button or the way it was applied to the shirt. Some manufacturers use lower quality buttons to save money, but this can result in breakage. The moral here is you get what you pay for- invest in shirts that feature high quality buttons that resist chips, cracks and breakage.
Holes and Tears in Oxfords. Oxford fabric consists of two thin warp yarns and a thicker filling yarn. The unbalanced construction causes the thin yarns to break, leaving tiny holes. High quality oxfords use heavier or higher twist in the warp yarn that may prolong the life of the shirt. If you wear oxfords, don’t scrimp on quality.
Oxfords can also tear in the direction of the colored yarns, which is more evident on shirts dyed with fiber-reactive dyes that have not been properly laundered or as they exceed their life expectancy. Follow care instructions on the label, and retire your shirts as soon as they start to look their age.
Finally, be sure to use a high quality dry cleaner.  Dress shirts are a staple in every professional man’s wardrobe- with a little care and attention, you can make your wardrobe last through proper care of your dress shirts.
David Eisele, Sr. is the Founder and CEO of Davelle Clothiers, a designer and custom menswear store located in the Reston Town Center.  David is a Certified Master Designer by the Custom Tailors & Designers Association (CTDA), the oldest trade organization in the United States.  David designs for his own label, David’s Master Collection, and is the author of the book The Business of Style: The Secret to Investing in Yourself.
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1 Comment for Guest Blogger: Caring For Your Dress Shirts

Antionette Blake
April 11, 2014

Yes, hubby and his shirts—dry cleaners every week, which is why I am glad he is retiring!

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