I was stunned yesterday, when a colleague of mine mentioned the “genius” of wrinkle-free shirts. Now, I know what he meant — for men who are as busy as we are, few things seem less important than ironing a shirt. But we’re men, not slobs, so the wrinkle-free shirt seems like an obvious choice. That is, of course, if you want to waste time and money.
The truth is, wrinkle-free shirts will not last and they pose some serious health risks. At the end of the day, they will cost more money to replace and more time at the doctor’s diagnosing possible diseases. They are far from “genius.”
Consider the following when you shop for your next dress shirt:
1. The Quality of the Shirt is Decreased.
Take a wrinkle-free “100% cotton” shirt and put it next to a classic man’s dress shirt. First, notice the difference in the color intensity. When cotton is treated with chemicals to make it wrinkle-free, the rich color of the original dye is dulled and faded.
Second, notice the difference in texture. They don’t even both feel like cotton. There’s a reason that cotton has been used for thousands of years for fine clothing: it is comfortable, breathable, and looks great. In order to make a dress shirt non-iron, the cotton has to be treated to the point that it’s barely classifiable as cotton. The fabric doesn’t breathe anymore.
2. Non-Iron Shirts Don’t Last.
When the cotton has been treated with so many chemicals, it’s just not as durable. Aside from that, you know that wrinkle-freeness that made you buy the shirt in the first place? Well, that doesn’t last either.
Every time you wash your non-iron shirts, some of those wrinkle-removing chemicals wash out too. Depending on how intensely the cotton has been treated, the wrinkles may start showing up in just a few washes. I’ll also add that if you’re going to send your shirts to the laundry anyway, there isn’t much point in the non-iron property (which is going to decrease faster with professional laundering as well).
3. Wrinkle-Free Fabric May Actually Harm You.
I know this sounds far-fetched, but I’m serious. Those chemicals I’ve been mentioning? One of those used is formaldehyde — a known carcinogen. The more you pry into what makes a wrinkle-free shirt, the more it should concern you. They can cause skin problems, and even the vapors inhaled while wearing the shirts could be dangerous! Not worth the risk, in my opinion.
The truth is, the word “genius” is used too often. What is “genius” about taking a perfectly good shirt, dousing it in dangerous chemicals, and selling it to the masses? Next time, buy a classic cotton dress shirt, have it ironed, and leave the wrinkle-free for the sale racks.