A Guide To Folding A Button Down Shirt
Most of us would agree that hanging our dress shirts is the best way to store them. But if your short on space, knowing how to fold your dress shirts is another way to keep them crisp, clean and organized.
How to Fold a Men's Dress Shirt
First, start out with a freshly laundered shirt. If you use a dryer, remove the shirt as soon as its done to help prevent wrinkles from forming.
Before folding, take the time to iron your dress shirt to remove any wrinkles that may have formed. Next find a clean, flat and dry surface to work on. If such spot is unavailable, a clean towel spread across the floor works well too.
Folding men's dress shirt – Step One:
Fasten all of the buttons on the front of the shirt. Make sure to fasten the collar and shirt cuff buttons as well. This will help keep the folds in your dress shirt tight and eliminate unwanted creases or wrinkles.
Folding men's dress shirt – Step Two:
Shake out the dress shirt and place it face (buttons) down on the flat surface. Run your hands over the fabric to smooth the material.
Folding men's dress shirt – Step Three:
Fold the right arm straight across the back of the shirt with the cuff ending up at the seam of the left shoulder. Take the left arm and repeat the process.
Once again, smooth out any uneven spots in the dress shirt.
Folding men's dress shirt – Step Four:
Now, holding the sleeve and shirt as one, fold the right side of the shirt to the center, then the left. If the dress shirt has a back pleat, this is a good area to aim for. If done correctly, an exaggerated “V” will be formed along the back of the dress shirt.
Pull the shoulder and tail firmly apart to smooth any wrinkles along the shirt sides.
Folding men's dress shirt – Step Five:
To create a longer fold, bring the tail of the dress shirt up to the collar. To shorten the shirt, fold in half lengthwise again.
What Causes a Dress Shirt to Wrinkle
There are two main reasons clothes wrinkle – heat and water. Menswear fabrics like cotton or wool are both made up of long polymer chains of repeating molecules. When heat is applied to these molecules, the covalent bonds which bind the molecules together become weaker. Once the bonds cool again, they retain the new shape that they are in due to a process known as glass transition temperature.
When heat is teamed with moisture, the glass transition temperature can become much lower especially in cellulose based fabrics, such as cotton. In fact, a research paper by J.M. Maxwell at the University of Melbourne, Australia found that the glass transition period of cotton fibers maybe as low as 72 degrees F when the humidity is 78%.
Creases form when too much pressure or weight is placed on a fold. To limit this, try to keep a limited amount of shirts stacked on top of each other. Friction can also cause your favorite bespoke dress shirt to develop a crease. Using acid-free tissue paper when folding your dress shirts may help reduce this friction and keep your button down shirt looking fresh for years to come.
How To Store Your Folded Dress Shirts
To keep your button down shirts crisp and fresh, make sure to keep them in small stacks. This will eliminate having too much weight pressing down on the material which may crease it. Also, allow some room around your shirts so that air can circulate for ventilation.
The best closets will keep your menswear in the low 70 degree range with about 50% humidity.
Traveling with Dress Shirts
Knowing how to fold your dress shirts can also help when packing for a trip. When packing a suitcase, remember to keep your shirts on top. That way they aren't crushed under the weight of other clothing. Another tip that may help.
Try packing your shirts with the collars at either end. This way the flattened chest of the shirts is stacked on top of itself, and the collar doesn't get crushed.