July 05, 2023 3 min read

There is nothing more disappointing than having a perfect fitting shirt that is your go-to garment, but walking out of the door with unsightly creases. A crisp, well-ironed formal shirt can make all the difference in presenting a sharp and polished appearance. Ironing may seem like a mundane task, but with the right technique and a few handy tips, you'll be able to eliminate those unsightly wrinkles and look your best in no time.

So grab your iron, set up the ironing board, and we will break down the art of ironing your formal shirt correctly.

Gather the essentials

Before you start, make sure you have the necessary tools at hand. If you want to achieve the perfect ironing experience, considering the type of iron you have is an important starting point. The material of the soleplate makes a difference in the quality of the final result. Generally, a good soleplate is non-stick and doesn’t cause the fabric to snag when pressing. It should also retain and distribute heat evenly, and be scratch-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. We recommend opting for a stainless steel steam iron as the quality of the plate over time remains high.

Read the label

Take a quick glance at the care label on your shirt. The care label instructions will provide valuable information regarding the appropriate ironing temperature and any special instructions to follow. This step will help you avoid any damage to those materials more sensitive to heat like polyester fabrics.

It is important to respect the fabric of the shirt and adjust to the correct setting. Organic fabrics like cotton, hemp and linen tend to require higher temperatures as they can hold deep creases. The typical cotton setting is 150-200 degrees. Let the iron reach the maximum heat before starting.

Ensure that your shirt is clean and dry before you begin ironing. Any stains or dampness can become permanent when exposed to heat. Any odours that are also trapped in the shirt will cause the overall garment to smell, so it's essential to start with a fresh shirt.

Moisture is key

A crisp shirt is achieved with the help of water and steam. If you do not have an iron with a steam setting, a spray bottle of water is your best-friend. Lightly mist the shirt where creases are stubborn. The moisture will help relax the fabric fibers, making them easier to smooth out. Be careful not to over-saturate the shirt; a light misting is all you need. Using the iron give a burst of steam to dampen the crease. 

Where to start 

1. First begin with the collar and cuffs, as they tend to be the most visible parts of a formal shirt. Lay the collar flat on the ironing board and press it gently, moving from one end to the other. Fold over the collar and iron the crease to give it that clean finish. 

For the cuffs, unbutton them and lay them flat, ironing on both sides. Remember to iron the inside of the collar and cuffs as well for a polished look.

2. Next move onto shoulders and sleeves. Turn the shirt inside out and iron the back yoke, shoulders, and sleeves. Take care when ironing around buttons to avoid any mishaps. Go around the buttons individually with the nose of the iron, it is the attention to details that make a big difference. 

If you are using an ironing board, sliding the shoulder onto the nose of the board will help you lay the fabric flat, avoiding ironing new creases on to the shirt. 

Top tip: Keep the iron moving in continuous motion to avoid any burn marks. 

3. Then comes the body of the shirt. Flip the shirt right-side-out and start ironing the body. Begin with the front panels, moving the iron in a long, straight motion from the shoulder down to the hem.

Be mindful of any pockets or buttons, ironing around them carefully. Repeat the process on the back of the shirt, maintaining a steady motion.

4. Tackle the plackets. The plackets are the vertical strips on either side of the shirt's front where the buttons and buttonholes are located. Iron them by sliding the iron from the collar to the bottom hem in one smooth motion. This technique will help prevent creases or awkward folds.

Wrinkle-free finishing touches
Once you've ironed the entire shirt, hang it on a hanger or lay it flat on a surface to cool down. This step allows the fabric to settle, helping it retain its wrinkle-free appearance and achieve that crisp finish. 

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