What’s all the fuss about a few wrinkles and the still growing demand for wrinkle free clothing?
Clarence Day Jr., author of the 1935 work Life With Father wrote, “Age should not have its face lifted, but it should rather teach the world to admire wrinkles as the etchings of experience and the firm line of character.” I suspect that at least among the male portion of the population, Mr. Day’s thought meets with little resistance, even with all of the advances in skincare during the eighty years since he wrote that. Case in point: several years ago my wife got me into the habit of daily moisturizing. While still full of “character,” I’m likely showing a few less wrinkles on my face than I otherwise would have at this point.
Note: My dermatologist got me wearing sunscreen every day as well, for a different albeit related reason.
A wrinkle or two on one’s face is one thing, but wrinkled clothing is another subject all together. The great southern gentleman, R. Faucheux, quipped “A little wrinkle can be distinguishing…but not in your clothes,” a thought that gives voice to the sentiments of many people for whom wrinkle-free and non-iron clothing has become quite popular, especially with regard to shirts and pants for dress and business wear.
For several decades now textile producers have been working on ways to combat wrinkles in clothing. From a myriad of synthetic fibers, varying blends, and a mix of chemical treatments, in every case one has had to sacrifice some level of comfort to gain a more wrinkle-free appearance. Over time those trade offs have continued to shrink, but some still exist. Clothing with a high performance factor that is now meeting with the greatest appeal are those made from fabrics with “flex” – fabrics that move with you.
A couple of months ago we wrote about Mizzen+Main, a new brand that is bringing to dress shirts a set of benefits that were previously only available in modern athletic or active wear. Made with fabrics that have four-way stretch, are moisture-wicking, and can air dry in just a few minutes and be ready to wear, Mizzen+Main shirts offer amazing comfort and are easy to own.
In the world of custom shirts, Tom James is now offering a group of “performance shirts” that have quickly developed a loyal following.
- dry&fly is a collection of seventeen easy iron and wrinkle free cotton fabrics. The high tech finish makes caring for these shirts easy. Just a light touch up with a warm iron at the collar, cuffs, and front pocket is all you need to look your best. This collection also offers a high degree of moisture absorption and crease resistance.
- Natural Stretch Twill is a collection of six all cotton fabrics that are specially woven to provide added stretch, allowing for greater comfort even with a slimmer fit.
- Tech Stretch is a collection of thirteen fabrics that are 98% cotton and 2% Spandex. This collection features five colors of mini bengal stripes and gingham checks. Again, even with a super trim fit, shirts from these fabrics will move with you and be super comfortable all day long.
Along the same line as the Tom James Tech Stretch shirts, we have also introduced “Flex by Tom James”, a collection of fabrics for custom suits, custom blazers, and custom pants with a bit of added stretch, including light weight plain weave cloths made from 98% Super 100’s wool and 2% lycra, and a series of fine twill cloths woven from 98% Super 140’s wool and 2% lycra. While wrinkle resistance isn’t necessarily the primary feature of these cloths, compared to 100% wool fabrics of the same weave and weight, these cloths offer improved wrinkle resistance and shape retention, as well as additional comfort, especially when the clothing is made with a modern trim fit.
What do you call a cross between a blazer and a sweater? A bleater? A Swazer? Well, whatever you call it, it’s a pretty sweet item to add to your wardrobe for all of the reasons that we’ve been discussing. Wrinkle resistant? Check. It’s tailored from a knit, not woven, fabric. Flexible and comfortable, even with a trim fit? Check and check. Our Knit Blazer features:
- a 100% wool knit cloth
- Patch pockets (perfect for a jacket that is so flexible and comfortable)
- Sew thru Blazer Buttons
- a Butterfly Lining (to keep it as light and flexible as possible)
- a Tailored fit (closer to the body, but with the natural flex of a knit garment)
Whatever your perspective on wrinkles and clothing, I would argue for some balance between being overly neat on the one hand or looking like you just got up from sleeping under your desk on the other. A wrinkle or two in your clothing may indicate that you’ve been doing something with your day other than just neatly sitting in a chair, back straight, feet on the floor. To put a finer point on it, Paul Fussell wrote in his 1983 book, Class, “the wearing of clothes either excessively new or excessively neat and clean also suggests that your social circumstances are not entirely secure.”
Well, I for one really like new clothes, though I often like them even better once I’ve worn them a few times and they are either “broken in” or have married their shape to mine. As for the other point, may I suggest that you find a comfortable balance between showing that you care, but not looking like you’re trying too hard. No muss, no fuss!