Caring For Your Shirts

You’ve just bought some new dress shirts and want to maximize their lifespan? With a little loving care and tenderness, your will last a long time, but don’t assume that all shirts should be cared for in the same manner. Whether you’ve purchased a shirt from Davelle (congratulations – you look fabulous!) or elsewhere (we’ll table that discuss for now), there are a wide variety of elements that influence a shirt’s behavior in cleaning and use. Some elements can be controlled by proper care procedures. Others are actually inherent properties of the shirt that may influence cleaning success.

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 garments, for heaven sake, 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.

Button up!. 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. Davelle Signature shirts 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.

How long will your shirt last?

Packaged shirts. According to my industry expert, off-the-shelf shirts have a two-year life expectancy. The average packaged shirt should have a wear life of 35 to 50 washings.

Custom shirts. With proper care, custom shirts should last 5 to 7 years, or two to three times longer than packaged shirts. Custom shirts have reinforced seams and extra fusing in the collar for increased durability. By following your tailor’s laundering instructions to the letter, you will enjoy your custom shirt for years to come. Davelle Signature shirts are crafted from better quality Italian or English fabrics, and sewn in America by local artisans. They are built to last, providing you with years of style, superior quality and fit.

To maximize the life of your Davelle Signature shirt, my advice is to find a high quality dry cleaner. If you’d like a recommendation, stop by the store and I or one of my wardrobe consultants be happy to help.

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