It also helps retain a professional habit that has helped create a sense of structure to my day, which for the past three months has evolved around whether I’ll work from on the couch or in the kitchen. (And when my gym closed down, it was the only iron I was able to lift for weeks.)
It’s also because I actually enjoy the process of taking care of my clothes. Having a pile of T-shirts so neatly stacked you could riffle shuffle them? Give me that instant dopamine hit.
My partner, however, went down the other route. Where I made the conscious effort to make sure I was dressed and ready for a hard day’s work at the kitchen table, they embraced tracksuits, moccasins and old T-shirts. Gone was the planning a day’s outfit the night before and making sure every shirt and pair of trousers was crisp enough to crack.
Teresa Bisoglio, owner of Impressive Ironing, an ironing delivery service based out of Sydney’s leafy suburb of Annandale, says that lockdown definitely had an impact on her business. “When people started working from home, they weren’t needing to get their business shirts ironed,” says Bisoglio.
“People quickly adapted to wearing T-shirts and more casual clothes while forced to stay home.”
Putting the question out into the universe, friends and colleagues say they’ve had bigger things to think about than making sure their clothes aren’t creased. One even confessed that her husband has never ironed once since she’s known him. Another person said they had perfected the art of hanging their clothes so they “straightened themselves out. But all admitted they had definitely eased up on the traditional chore if not quit doing it altogether.
Maybe it’s a generational thing. Along with diamonds, traditional marriage, big houses and even sex, Millennials have been accused of killing the practice of ironing. A root of this accusation has been our role in the casualisation of clothing worn in the workplace. Led by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Co in Silicon Valley, T-shirts and hoodies have slowly replaced collared shirts and blazers in some workplaces.
The rise and fall of so-called “crease-free” fabrics may have also had a role to play in the slow decline of ironing skills. However, the effectiveness of these materials has been questioned by the experts.
“They’re not crease-free,” Bisoglio says. “I’ve seen first-hand that they crease. I get them all the time from people who need them ironed.”
With a return to work now looming on the horizon, ironed clothes might be making their way back onto your menu of daily habits. To get you back into the swing of it, there are some simple ways to make the job easier.
An easy guide to better ironing
- Hang your shirt up immediately after washing – this will help straighten out the fabric and make it easier to iron.
- Better yet, iron your most important clothes immediately after washing while they’re still damp.
- Don’t be shy with the steam function on your iron. This will help soften the fibres of the shirt.
- Start with the edges – cuffs, collars – and work your way in.
Benjamen is a lifestyle reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, covering men’s fashion, grooming, and fitness.