We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
Will Boehlke is a style consultant speaker and author of the
widely followed, award-winning blog, A Suitable
Wardrobe. Every month 300,000+ devotees of fine men's
garments look to Will for advise.
yesterday's post, Will discusses various issues
associated with the folding of laundered shirts. Specifically, the
post references the unique way in which RAVE FabriCARE folds
clients' shirts by hand instead of by machine as is commonly
practiced by ordinary dry cleaners and shirt laundries.
According to Stu Bloom at RAVE
FabriCARE, about 80% of men get their shirts back from the laundry
on hangers, and this is certainly the wisest course since they are
free of the creases that come from having them folded. The
challenge with the practice comes when it is time to pack for a
trip, and the shirts must be folded anyway.
The usual way to prepare shirts for
packing is to fold them in thirds, replicating the commercial
laundry folding machine (see the shirt on the right in the photo).
Whoever designed that machine was apparently not very clothes
conscious as that fold leaves the vertical and horizontal creases
it imparts placed so that they can be visible under a jacket, which
might not be a terrible thing with some cloth as it will hang out
in an hour or two but heavier shirtings like oxfords and twills can
remain creased for much of the day, contributing to a messier look
than a man ought to aspire to (here we deliberately ignore no-iron
shirts on the grounds that the well dressed man eschews them).
Now, it is only natural that a man
would assume that folding meant visible creases and that there is
nothing to be done about it, at least until like me he noticed that
RAVE's clean by mail shirts are folded so that any creases that
might occur in parts of the shirt front are not visible when a man
has his jacket on (the shirt on the left was folded by RAVE). The
secret is to fold the shirt in half rather than in thirds. In other
words, when the shirt is on its front laid out for folding, turn
the sleeve sides over only a quarter of the way, leaving a space
between them. Then fold the bottom up so the shirt is roughly
halved into a square. Leaving all the folds loose will also help
the shirt's appearance, but only marginally as the state of being
packed will inevitably press it to a certain extent.
I will be the first to admit that the square shirt fold is fairly
obscure advice, and has the downside that otherwise useful suitcase
accessories like Eagle
Creek's folders and cubes seem to all be designed to
accommodate shirts folded into thirds. Nonetheless, a supply of
heavy duty polyethylene bags makes for a reasonable substitute and
having a supply of pressed looking shirts when one unpacks is worth
a little one-time trouble.
The photographs above show our "wide, short folded shirt" (shirt
folded in thirds) and our "wide, long folded shirt" (shirt folded
in half). Almost all our folded shirts are folded in half. The only
reason we offer a short folded shirt is to accommodate those
clients whose cabinetry is not deep enough to hold our long folded
For more information on the manner in which we fold shirts,
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