You’ve found the suit, matched the tie, your shoes are polished and you look smart…that is until you remove your suit jacket to reveal a rather crumpled shirt underneath. There's a lot to be said for a crease-free shirt. Showing that you've made the effort can go a long way. Whether at work or a smart occasion. You don’t want to be seen as the man who cut corners. Make the right impression and fine-tune your ironing skills by following our 5 steps to wrinkle-free shirts.
Step 1: Ensure you have the right tools
When it comes to ironing, the right tools can make all the difference. Don’t skimp on your iron. Buy a model that comes with the best steam feature you can afford. This means a good sole plate (that’s the metal you use to press your shirt) and a high heat capability. This will ensure that it can adapt to different fabrics and cut down on time spent ironing. You’ll also need a spray bottle of water and a decent clean ironing board.
Top tip: It's also good to have light-coloured cotton towel handy to wipe up any excess water and shape the sleeves.
Step 2: Prep yourself to iron
Make sure your iron is filled up distilled water before you start or even a day in advance to avoid any last-minute rushes. Check the iron’s water levels by misting the shirt before pressing. Whatever you do, read the shirt's label to ensure you use the lowest heat possible and avoid destroying the fabric. Most formal shirts will be made from cotton or cotton blends. It's also worth considering those linen and linen blends that make up your smart casual or dressed shirts wardrobe. These can withstand higher heat settings. Turn the shirt inside out before you iron.
Top tip: Hang your shirts on wooden hangers directly from the washing machine. This helps to remove crease and keeps the shirt in shape while drying.
Step 3: Start on the collar
After all, this is the most visible part of your shirt so you want to get it right. Ensure that the collar is damp but not saturated. Only iron the back of the collar. You want to concentrate on eliminating creases and wrinkles but don’t overdo it. Remember your shirt still wants to have a bit of life left in it.
Top tip: Avoid ironing the tips of the collar as this can cause them to fray.
Step 4: Move on to the sleeves
Don't think you can get away with skipping your sleeves even if they're hidden under your suit jacket or blazer when you arrive at work. There's nothing worse than being forced to wear your jacket all day when the temperatures rising at work. Take a few minutes to iron your sleeves three easy motions:
- Place each shoulder around the rounded edge of the board to give the shirt body, and iron.
- Pay particular attention to the cuffs and make sure you undo the sleeve button first, then spread out the cuff before then running the iron over it.
- Before ironing the body of the sleeves, make sure they are straighten and smooth. You may want to roll your clean light-coloured cotton towel at this point. Place inside the sleeve and gently glide the iron over your sleeve. This will prevent any creases.
Top tip: Match any creases from the top of the sleeve to previous ironing crease so you have one crease line.
Step 5: Work on the body from left to right
Now you're onto the main body of the shirt, start with the side that has buttons and work the iron point around the buttons, never over the buttons. Work your way down the shirt, smoothing out creases before running the iron over them and then move the shirt around to the back before you move to the final side. Gently glide the shirt off the ironing board and pop straight on a hanger.
Top tip: Remember to spray water on your shirt when necessary but never saturate the garment.