The life-cycle of shirts is pretty simple when we’re young:
When we move into adulthood, these signs become more subtle. In a professional atmosphere, or for anyone who takes their style seriously, it’s imperative to know when your go-to shirt is past its prime and needs replacing.
With regular use and washing, you may be surprised to learn that standard shirts have a professional life-cycle of only around 4-5 months before signs of wear appear, including:
So, how do you counteract such a quick lifespan? The answer is simple: clothing choices should be based on quality and comfort, not thriftiness. The big question is always: “should I buy cheaper shirts a little more often, or buy expensive shirts that should last longer?” We believe the answer lies somewhere in between. The $14.99 price tag may look appealing to your wallet, but chances are it won’t fit the way it should, and it may not last you more than a handful of washes. Reject “fast fashion” and place a premium on durability and craftsmanship.
So when is the big price tag worth it? At Sharp Casualwear, we don’t believe in paying triple-figures for a shirt. The fabrics and manufacturing are often the same as more sensible options. Companies will simply mark up the price to reflect a “luxury” image. For those of us who don’t have unlimited funds, the key is balancing good quality with proper care. To dig a little deeper, use the following three keys as a guide to finding a durable, quality shirt, and making it last.
While many of us may have a general understanding of our “size,” the truth is the majority of men don’t fully understand how a shirt SHOULD fit. Small, Medium, and Large sound simple, but the amount of variation between brands, styles, fabrics, and measurements varies wildly. The fit of your shirt says a lot about your attention to detail and will convey a level of professionalism about you on the first impression. There are many variations of fitting charts and size guides around the web, some overly complicated, and some not detailed enough. We’ve found our size guide to accurately take your measurements and generate the shirt size that will complement your body-type for ultimate comfort and appearance.
Superior fabrics and proper stitching methods can not only improve comfort, but will have a drastic effect on durability and longevity. Reject the cheap fabrics of “fast fashion” and choose fabrics that have been designed for comfort and durability. Sharp Casualwear happily uses Bamboo and is working on expanding their line with other “super-fabrics” like Tencel. Bamboo is incredibly soft, absorbent, and durable. Tencel is considered a luxurious cotton alternative and is breathable, moisture absorbing, and environmentally friendly. Choosing shirts made with fabrics like these is a surefire way to a longer and more comfortable partnership with your clothes.
So you’ve done your research and found the perfect shirt for you...that’s great! However, it also took more time and effort than going with a simple, cheaper option. How do you make the most of your style investment and improve the lifespan of your shirt?
First, wash every third use and make sure to use cold water. Unless you got the shirt sweaty or dirty, washing after every use is unnecessary, wasteful, and will wear your shirt down much faster.
Second, dry on low heat, or for one third less time. If possible, avoid the dryer at all and let your shirts air-dry. Scorching your shirts on high heat for 45+ minutes is a great way to wear down the fabric and can lead to unnecessary shrinking.
Third, avoid overusing the dry cleaner. Chemicals and starch can harm the fabric over time, so opt instead to steam them when possible and cut the dry cleaner trips in half.
With these three easy tricks of the trade, you can make your favorite shirt last nearly twice as long.
The life-cycle of a shirt may not be as cut-and-dry as when we were younger, but with a little knowledge and research, you’ll know how to best select a higher quality shirt and how to properly care for it. Remember, high quality doesn’t have to mean outrageous price. The next time you see a huge price tag on a shirt, check the fabrics and ask yourself if you can find a similar shirt for a more reasonable price. We’re willing to bet you can...if you know where to look.