Let’s talk about ironing.
“Ironing?” I hear you ask. “Is he being ironic?” you wonder, even as you congratulate yourself on your unintentional joke.
But think about it: you’re an adult, and you still don’t really know how to take care of your clothes? Remember that kid in freshmen year who didn’t know how to do laundry? Well, ironing is the same thing. Everyone should know how to iron their clothes, especially if you want to be a respectable gentlemen. Do you want to go out in a wrinkly shirt, creases full of failures and sexual inadequacies? Or do you want to go out preened impeccably, every line in your shirt crisp and sexy?
It’s not the eighteenth century anymore; real men should learn how to do their own ironing. Here’s an easy guide on how to iron your dress shirts for men. And if you feel at all emasculated, just know that technically you are now Iron Man.
THE IRON: Don’t skimp on your iron–a bad one will often damage your clothing in the long-term. Turn the iron over, and check the number of holes on the soleplate. The more evenly spread and numerous the holes, the better the iron. Preferably buy an iron with a steamer.
THE IRONING BOARD: The ironing boards are pretty standard. Try to find one that’s sturdy and comfortable for your height. The most important thing is that it must have a really cool design.
STARCH SPRAY: Do you need to look extra sharp? Consider using starch spray to make your shirt extra crisp. You can make your own by mixing one tablespoon of cornstarch in two cups of water. Use in moderation! Just a few sprays, and medium heat.
It might be easier to just watch a video, but my editor says I need more words in this article. It’s pretty hard to describe the process, but you’ll gradually pick up the finer points of ironing as you go.
1. Make sure your shirt is clean. It’s a good idea to iron your shirts when they’re still damp from the washer. If your shirt is dirty and you iron it, the stains will be permanent.
2. Check to see what material your shirt is made of. Set the dial on your iron to match the recommended setting for the fabric. If your shirt doesn’t say, start at a low setting and gradually move up until the shirt starts to give that light steaming sound.
3. If it isn’t already, make your shirt slightly damp. If your iron has a steamer, use that, or else you can use a water spray.
4. Iron your collar first. It is the most conspicuous part of your shirt, and deserves the most attention. Flip the collar up, and slowly iron one end to the other, removing any creases. Repeat on both sides of the collar. Be sure to flip your collar back down, unless you’re a guido.
5. Iron the cuffs. Open your cuffs fully and lay it out flat. Iron both sides, smoothing out any wrinkles carefully.
6. Iron the sleeves. Lay the sleeve completely flat on the board, and press outwards. You’ll want the iron to line up with the seam marks.
7. Iron the front of the shirt. Iron from the shoulders down to the waist. Don’t ever iron on top of the buttons! Always iron around them. You don’t want to discolor or disfigure your buttons.
8. Iron the back of the shirt. Again, iron from top down.
9. If you’re going to an extra-fancy event, consider ironing your shirt twice: once normally, the second time inside-out. This makes the shirt extra crisp and suave.
10. Hang your shirt! Don’t fold it–that defeats the purpose of carefully ironing creases.
11. Wear your shirt, and be completely baller.