I received a question recently on how to keep your dress shirts looking like new. The more I thought about it, I realized that this is really an important question.
When you first receive a bespoke dress shirt, whether it’s from Bespoke Edge or another provider, there’s no doubt that it looks pretty phenomenal in the box. The fabric is even better looking than the swatch had you seen and the collar looks immaculate in its crispness. You almost don’t want to take it out of the box!
Of course, you eventually do.
And if you wash your shirts at home there’s always that sad moment when you open the washer door and see your once proud dress shirt now in a wrinkled and damp pile of itself.
But shirts are shirts and they are meant to be washed. They’ll be fine. They will shrink a little bit, but if they are one of our shirts, I can say confidently that they will shrink just as planned. For instance, when we took your measurements to build the shirt in the first place, we accounted for a little shrinkage in the sleeves. So, your shirt will fit better and better after the first several wash cycles.
What if you have your bespoke shirts professionally cleaned? Is there anything you should know? Or directions that should be relayed to your cleaner so that your shirts come back looking like new?
First, a high quality bespoke shirt will last a long time and look nice, even after repeated washings. In my experience, skilled launderers are very hard to come by. All too often, cleaners will abuse the shirts with overly high temperatures and harsh pressing. But a good cleaner will employ hand methods where appropriate and use gentle techniques. It wouldn’t hurt to get in the habit of asking your cleaner how they go about washing your shirt and what options are available to you. At the very least, you’ll learn something new.
Secondly, use a very light starch on any bespoke shirt – you may be surprised how little you actually need.
And don’t dry clean your shirts, just launder them. Washing dress shirts in water is definitely going to be better for removing water soluble dirt and stains. It will also put less wear and tear on your shirts.
Before you exclaim that “…I don’t want to iron! Dry cleaning is so much easier,” you may want to ask your cleaner if they press laundered shirts. This way you get the best of both worlds – appropriate and effective shirt cleaning and no ironing (Oh, and for far less money than having your shirts dry cleaned).
The above tips will help you keep your custom dress shirts looking great, but if I had to highlight one point, it would be the pressing. This is probably the single most important thing you can do to keep your dress shirts looking like new. Whether you’re a skilled ironer or prefer to send your shirts out, be sure to pay special attention to the collar, yoke, and placket of the shirt. If these three areas are looking great, so will you.
By Ryan Wagner