The Shirt From Hell – via Slate.com
This one comes by way of an article sent along by Ben, our Arts and Culture correspondent. Written by Daniel Akst for Slate, it’s an all out assault on wrinkle free shirts. Akst points out that the no-iron finish is achieved by: “a formaldehyde resin bath” and proceeds to label these shirts “vehicles of self-mortification, sackcloth and ashes adorned with stripes and spread collars.” He’s not a fan apparently. Here’s the argument for each:
The case for Wrinkle Free: As entertaining as the article is, it’s hyperbolic to the point of hyperventilation. So what if they’re dipped in formaldehyde? There’s a potential cancer risk in using your cell phone, and Akst makes it sound like you’re wearing the skin of a cadaver. It’s chemically treated. Just about everything is. He talks of how bad these shirts smell, how they don’t breathe, and how they’re scratchy. That’s not my experience. He even says this applies to a shirt he bought from Nordstrom. Sorry, but the Nordstrom Trim Fit wrinkle-free in my closet has never smelled like “the New Jersey Turnpike around Exit 13.” I’ll take an all cotton wrinkle free over a 60/40 poly blend any day.
The case for Regular Cotton: Is Ironing really that hard? It can be a bit of a pain, but if you set aside a time of the week (say, during the Sunday Night football game) it almost becomes ignorable. Some people even LIKE to iron. And while his view of the texture of a no-iron shirt might be a little overblown, they do feel different than a regular cotton dress shirt. It seems like there’s some markup on wrinkle-free shirts too. And y’know, more often than not they come out of the dryer and still need to be ironed. Wrinkle-free should mean they won’t wrinkle. Ever.
There’s the case for each side. Time for you to pick one. Or, are you like many and ride the fence? Do you own both regular cotton as well as wrinkle free dress shirts? Leave your take and vote in the comments below.