Words by Randy Em
Aside from a good, clean Bevel shave, the ability to properly care for your garments is a true badge of honor for the modern man.
Taking it to the cleaners is the easy solution, but let’s be honest: we’re doers and there’s a sense of pride in being able to execute the job ourselves. There’s more than a few ways to go about it, but we’ve laid out our version of the easiest and most effective shirt ironing techniques to make sure you leave the house in correct fashion.
First things first
Make sure your iron has water to utilize, or better yet, equip yourself with a spray bottle to slightly dampen the sections you plan to iron out.
Use an ironing board with the sufficient amount of padding. Too worn down and you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of some uneven results. When you can, use the square end of the ironing board for more workspace, but if the pointier end helps you get to those tough-to-reach angles, then by all means, go for it.
Front to back
The idea here is to go Front-Back-Front to give you continuous flow while ironing, with your starting point depending on which side your dominant hand resides. If it’s your right hand, then start with the Right-Front Side of the shirt (and vice-versa for lefties; Left-Front Side). In both scenarios, the collar of the shirt should be closest to the square edge of the board.
Pay close attention to the plackets (the center area where buttons and buttonholes reside); without a tie, it’s one of the most noticeable areas of a shirt and should be ironed on both over and under.
Flip and turn
Self-explanatory here. Just remember to avoid dabbing presses and instead aim to get long strokes, starting from the tip of the hot iron and swiftly with the full range of motion. Don’t forget to re-adjust the shirt to even out the shirt’s yoke (upper shoulder).
Move to the other Front-Side…
Shift the shirt over to the remaining Front Side and iron it out in similar fashion. Avoid going over the buttons directly and instead work your way up against and around them. Also, don’t be afraid to tug on the shirt as you’re pressing with the iron to get more pressure and leverage.
Lay out an arm
When doing this, follow the under-seam to get the proper folding points. From there, use your hands to pinch and stretch the shirt’s arm to ensure the upper/under sections are evenly spread throughout with no fabric bunching up beneath our line of sight. Iron it out on both sides and repeat for the other arm.
Finish off by ironing out the cuff. Fully unbutton each side and iron press from the inside. Flip it over to straighten out the edges around the buttons and you should be good.
Disclaimer: If you plan on wearing a suit jacket or blazer over top your shirt, then disregard ironing the arms and just iron out the cuffs. We always recommend the entire process, but in a time crunch, it’s not always necessary.
Finally, pop ya collar
But take it easy there, Usher Raymond — this is more so for technical reasons. Spread the collar with the inside flap facing up towards you and remove any collar stays you might have in place (the paper or plastic tabs secretly tucked underneath your shirt’s collar to help retain its shape).
Iron it out from point to point, slightly shifting the fabric as you transition to either side to accommodate the curvature of the collar. Fold it back to its original form, using the collar seam to assist. And of course, iron once more.
(Also, put the collar stays back in place if you took them out.)
With that being said, you should be off to the races.
If you’re not wearing the shirt right away, place it on a hanger with the top-two and bottom-two buttons done up to help retain the overall shape. When it’s reppin’ time, it’ll still be crisp and ready to go.