1. thruhike98

    Love the blog, and this is great article. I agree with much of what you write. As a guy who grew up working in a laundry and dry cleaning plant, I have to correct a couple of items.

    If you take a man’s shirt to the dry cleaner it will be laundered, not dry cleaned. If you ask for a cotton shirt to be dry cleaned, the staff will smile politely, and launder your shirt. If they dry cleaned it, it would cost more, not be as white, and not be pressed as well. Shirts are cotton, and don’t require dry cleaning. They need to be washed to remove the sweat, dirt, and to stay white. The presses are made to press a shirt that is still damp from washing. So, while the business is commonly called the dry cleaners, they launder men’s shirts. (Professional laundries have machines and products that get fabrics much cleaner than a household washer, but that’s another, longer, story.)

    You are absolutely right in suggesting against starch. Starch makes a shirt look great… on the hanger. Once you wear it, the starch makes wrinkles stay rather than just fall out. The stiffness from starch also causes shirts to wear out faster.

    If a suit has been worn, it is better to clean and press it than to just press it. If there is dirt on the suit the pressure and heat of pressing could damage the garment – through wear by grinding dirt into the fibers or by setting stains from any liquids on the fabric. If it’s new, been in your luggage, or been hanging in the closet too long, only pressing would be fine. It is not good to press dirt into fabrics, though.

    Thanks for the OTC site. I really enjoy the posts!

  2. Great insights Chris. I’d offer one consideration to your readers. Shoe trees need to be unvarnished. While glossy finished ones look nice, they lose their absorptive wicking properties when varnished. Trees not only provide structural support to shoes, unvarnished, I prefer cedar ones, offer a drying/wicking property as well.

    You owe me lunch.

  3. ADG – It’s a date. I fully agree and will tweak the post to reflect your sentiment. My love of those shiny, elegant objects is purely aesthetic – all mine are plain old cedar.

  4. ERF

    There is a dispute b/w English and American theories on shoe trees. The English use hard finished wood. The Americans unfinished cedar. Cedar is great, but the English theory goes, if you leave them in too long they continue to absorb until they take the moisture right out of the leather itself. There is no shutting off cedar. Meanwhile hardwood preserve the shape and that’s the most important thing that shoe trees do.

    if you’re going ultra high end and buying bespoke shoes or even MTO they will come with lasted trees. Just trust the maker and use whatever he gives you. He probably knows best.

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