How To Iron A Shirt
You may find that your closet is full of good clothes, and yet you still do not get the response you look for, whether it be from colleagues, women or the man at the bank. Perhaps your clothes are not of the highest quality, but you simply want to present them at their best.
Ironing your shirt is the best way to improve your image, and TheGenuineMan.com will show you how. While it is important to iron your dress pants as well, the shirt is the most noticeable part of your wardrobe because they are often lighter in color and are in the line of sight of others.
These instructions are for cotton shirts, which most shirts are. The same rules apply to all shirts, but the temperature setting on your iron may change. If you are too lazy to iron your shirt, you can usually have shirts laundered and pressed at the dry-cleaners, but since it takes no more than 5 minutes to do, that money is better spent elsewhere.
Step 1 – Back and Front
Start with the shirt laid out over the end of the ironing board, with the back spread over the edge. I prefer to have the collar hanging over the tip of the board, as it allows you to position the point into the corners of the shirt.
With the iron set on the cotton setting(usually medium heat setting with steam), begin to smooth the wrinkles away, adding a burst of steam whenever there is a particularly stubborn spot. Always keep the iron moving to avoid burning the fabric and continue until the area of the shirt on the board is smooth. If there are pleats in the back of the shirt (quite common for comfort), simply iron the edges of the pleats down along the crease so they lay as flat as possible.
Next move the shirt along the board so that you are repositioning wrinkled areas of the shirt over the top of the board, smoothing out the wrinkles and continuing on.
Make sure to pay special attention to the front of the shirt, making sure that the pockets and button hole strip lie flat. Do your best to get the tip of the iron in between the buttons.
Step 2 – Sleeves
Sleeves can be difficult, because they are tapered over their length. Directly on top of the shoulder should be a crease from a of a previous ironing. Using that crease try to spread the sleeve out over the board, so that the sleeve stays as flat as possible. Iron flat, then flip the sleeve over and get the other side. It is nearly impossible to get the sleeves totally smooth. Just do your best. As you wear the shirt any small imperfections on the sleeve will not be noticed.
Now you have a moderately well ironed shirt. To cap it off and make it look really sharp you need a secret weapon. And it will only cost you about three bucks. Spray Starch.
Step 3 – Collar and Cuffs
Take the shirt off the board and lay the collar out, with the inside of the shirt facing up. Spray a quick blast of starch over the entire collar, and iron it flat. When ironing the collar, iron from the outside in for the smoothest look. Flip the shirt over so that the outside of the back of the shirt is now facing up. Again, spray the collar with starch, and press. Continue moving the iron back and forth until the starch is dry. You will notice the iron will move much easier over the collar as the starch dries. This will ensure crisp, pointed collars that don’t curl under and look sloppy.
Next, take the collar and fold it over as you would when wearing it. Iron only the area near the fold, about ½ inch from the edge. This will give you a sharp peak on the collar, and is an important detail.
Open up the cuffs and iron in the same manner as you did for the collar. A bit of spray starch, iron the inside, flip, starch and iron the outside. This will give you a sharp cuff that holds it shape. If you are wearing this shirt under a jacket the cuff will not bunch up under the jacket as easily, and if you are flipping the cuff over a sweater it will look much nicer. This step can be skipped if you are simply rolling the sleeves up, however keeping all parts of the shirt ironed will make it easier to iron the next time.
Step 4 – The Button Strip
The last step is to flip the shirt around so that the button hole strip is facing up on the board. Spray this entire strip with starch, and press until dry.
There you have it. A crisp shirt with button holes that run tight and straight, with crisp, peaked collars and distinguished cuffs.
This same process can be applied to the collars of polo shirts which tend to curl over time.
Always pay careful attention to the heat settings found on the label of the shirt and follow their instructions if there are any. Some shirts will be damaged by high or even medium heat settings. Make sure that you Keep the iron moving, and don’t forget to unplug it when you are finished.