Help! My Dress Shirt Keeps Creasing

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Can’t seem to keep your dress shirt wrinkle free no matter how hard you try? It’s difficult to create a cohesive, formal outfit when your dress shirt is wrinkled. For men, a formal outfit should consist of a two- or three-piece suit. The former includes trousers with a matching jacket, whereas the latter includes trousers, a matching a jacket and a vest. With both types, you should also wear a necktie and a dress shirt. Failure to include any of these elements in your outfit will prevent you from achieving an attractive, formal appearance.

But it’s important that you avoid wrinkles and creases with your dress shirt. Suit jackets and trousers have a natural resistance to creases, as they remain relatively smooth when stored on a clothes hanger and cared for properly. This can’t be said for dress shirts, however. Even if you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, you may still discover creases in your dress shirt. It’s frustrating when you grab a dress shirt out of your closet, only to discover that it’s riddled with creases and wrinkles. With a little work, however, you can protect your dress shirts from wrinkles and creases, allowing you to create the perfect formal attire.

Choose the Right Fabrics

The fabric of which your dress shirt is made will affect its ability to resist creases. Generally speaking, the more absorbent a fabric is, the greater the risk of creasing. Highly absorbent fabrics like cotton and linen — both of which absorb a significant amount of water — crease more easily than minimally absorbent fabrics like nylon and polyester. You don’t have to necessarily choose a dress shirt made of nylon or polyester. Rather, consider a dress shirt that’s made of both a conventional fabric as well as a minimally absorbent fabric.

Avoid Sitting

While easier said than done, try to avoid sitting when wearing your formal outfit. Sitting forces your trousers, suit jacket and dress shirt to bend in multiple places. And whenever a garment bends, a crease may form at the junction of the two sides. To prevent this from happening, avoid or limit the amount of time that you spend sitting. If you stand the entire time while wearing your dress shirt, it shouldn’t develop creases, regardless of the fabric from which it was made.

Wear an Undershirt

Wearing an undershirt with a dress shirt offers several benefits. First, it protects your dress from deodorant stains. Second, it offers increased warmth and insulation during winter. Third — and probably most importantly — wearing an undershirt protects your dress shirt from perspiration. Why is this necessary? Well, perspiration exposes your dress shirt to moisture, and too much moisture may cause the fabric to develop wrinkles and creases. Therefore, wearing an undershirt is a simple and effective way to prevent your dress shirt from creasing. Just remember to choose a V-neck cut so that it’s not visible around the collar.

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Avoid Fabric Softeners

Fabric softeners perform their job nicely: They soften garments, thereby making them more comfortable to wear. The downside to fabric softeners, however, is that they increase the risk of wrinkles and creases. They contain harsh chemicals that trigger reactions in common textiles. When exposed to a fabric softener, a dress shirt will expand and become more “fluffy.” At the same time, it may develop wrinkles and creases. If you’re struggling to keep your dress shirt from creasing, avoid fabric softeners when washing it.

Dry Dress Shirt Completely

Before wearing your dress shirt, make sure that it’s completely dry. If there’s even a small amount of moisture left in the fabric, it may develop creases when you wear it. Of course, wearing a still-wet dress shirt is never a good idea, as it may rub your skin raw (chaffing). So, make sure your dress shirt is completely dry before wearing it. If it feels damp, toss it back in the dryer for a few minutes, after which you can wear it without fear of wrinkles or creases forming.

Beware of Friction

Creasing is often the result of friction between the dress shirt and another garment or surface. Friction disturbs the shirt’s fabric, making it deshoveled and, thus, allowing creases to develop. You can protect your dress shirt from creases by avoiding friction.

Remove From Dryer

If you’re going to wash and dry your dress shirt — as opposed to having it dry-cleaned — remove it from the dryer as soon as it’s finished. The longer you leave your dress shirt sitting in the clothes dryer, the greater the risk of creasing. As the dress shirt dries, it will “harden” in its current state. And if it’s sitting at the bottom of a clothes dryer, it will likely develop creases. Thankfully, this problem is avoidable by removing your dress from the clothes dryer in a timely manner. Once the timer goes off, remove your dress shirt and hang it on a strong, durable clothes hanger until you are ready to wear it.

Spray With Starch

It may sound unusual, but spraying starch on your dress shirt can protect it from wrinkles and creases. Normally, starch is used to make clothes feel crisp, but it offers a second benefit that’s often overlooked: protection from wrinkles and creases. After washing and drying your dress shirt, spray a light coat of starch over the fabric’s surface and allow it to sit for a few minutes. You can then wear your dress shirt without fear of it developing wrinkles or creases.

Use an Iron or Garment Steamer

Finally, if you find a crease in your dress shirt, use an iron or garment steamer to smooth it out. Assuming it’s made of a traditional fabric, you should be able to user both of these methods to smooth out your dress shirt. Irons and garment steamers expose shirts to steam, providing them with just enough heat and moisture to smooth out otherwise problematic wrinkles and creases.