Yesterday, I had a significant event. As I often do I thought this might be a good opportunity to break out a new shirt. Despite not buying any shirts so far this year I was a little surprised to discover that I still had 6 unopened shirts.
I thought it might be a good opportunity to try out one of my most recent acquisitions: a navy and blue striped St James non–iron shirt from Hawes & Curtis.
I’m a big fan of H&C shirts, particularly the St James. It is a slim fit cutaway collar shirt which is a flattering fit for my build and facial shape. However, I had never tried one of their non-iron range. Indeed, I have never owned a non-iron shirt. In fact I am very much in favour of ironing so have never felt the need for a non-iron shirt.
So how was it? Well the shirt itself was great. One of the tricky challenges when wearing a new shirt is finding a tie that works with it. Because this shirt is blue I did not anticipate having too much difficulty since I have a pretty large collection of blue shirts.
I was wrong. The particular shade of blue was quite distinctive from many of the others in my collection so many of the ties that I already have did not work very well. In addition, because it is striped it does not work especially well with striped ties.
Ideally plain ties are best with striped shirts, though if the stripe pattern on the tie is sufficiently different from that of the shirt it is possible to combine striped tie with a striped shirt. Indeed this is what I ended up doing, after trying no fewer than 6 other possibilities.
Less impressive was the non-iron element of the shirt. The cotton fabric for non iron shirts are treated with chemicals and high temperatures which decrease wrinkling.
This aspect of the shirt did work well. Not only was the shirt resistant to wrinkling before you put it on, but it remains wrinkle free all day up to when you take it off.
However, the fact that it is wrinkle resistant means that it is also resistant to putting in crease. So if you are someone who like a nice sharp crease in your shirt sleeves, then that is very difficult to achieve. I fall into that category so was a little disappointed to discover this downside to non-iron.
So overall, if you hate ironing then these are the shirts for you. They are also really handing if you are travelling and want to avoid lots of creases when you unpack your shirts.
But if like me you are happy to iron and fancy sharp creases in your sleeves then non-iron shirts aren’t for you. The fact that non-irons tend to be sold at higher prices is also a downside.
Are they overhyped? Probably not; they do what they say on the tin. They are just not really for men like me.