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Thread: Laundering Clothes

  1. #21
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    IMO, laundering shirts after every wear is a good idea. Minimally, collars and cuffs get grimy really fast, especially on white and white-based shirts. Trust me. I work with younger kids that think they can get away with multiple wears and they're the ones with the grimiest shirts. It makes them look cheap and completely counteracts the the purpose of dressing nicely.


    This is also part of the reason why I have my shirts laundered at a dry cleaners. They scrub your collar and cuffs and keep them unstained.


    I realize that many of you are new to dress shirts and/or don't wear them frequently enough for you to realize that this is an issue, but it is. And that's ignoring armpit issues, which some people are lucky enough to not have.


  2. #22
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    Regular laundering of clothing is one of the central facets of personal hygiene. We become accustomed to our own odor after only a few minutes. Once we're accustomed to our odor, our brains no longer register it. Therefore, we are terrible judges of our own smell. You may believe that you smell good or have no smell at all when other people are highly aware of your smell.


  3. #23
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    Central facets for whom? Hygiene is a culturally normative construct. Having been acquainted with a number of central and northern European cultures, I can say that washing clothing after every wear, or even every other wear, is not something that's common to all developed cultures with relatively high standards of personal hygiene (e.g. daily bathing, complex oral hygiene rituals, regular dental visits, high penetration of deodorant, mints, gum, etc.). That said, there is a very legitimate point to be made about being able to smell yourself. This point only really extends to yourself and, at most, those you live with. If you're able to get feedback of people who don't spend enough time around you to acclimate to your scent, then I think the results can be meaningful.


    It's also noteworthy to say that I've worked in environments for years where everyone had to wear white dress shirts. I disagree that there is a universality of stains that exist around cuffs and collars with shirts. I've seen a lot of grimy cuffs and collars! I say this mostly as a way to clarify that, not being new to dress shirts, and having worn white ones every day for years, the assertion that cuffs and collars must automatically become stained and grimy after one or two wears is false. In my experience, depending on the applications and what the wearer is doing, this can take a great many more wears.


    As it happens, I have quite a lot to say about this, and not just because I think overlaundering things ends up making them look dingy. People's perceptions of things like this actually intersect with my occupational research interests. Quite a lot of work has been done on the perceptions of hygiene that various forms of advertisings can engender - how early 20th century ads about halitosis created a constant paranoia about bad breath that can be seen in how often people (myself included) compulsively pop mints, for example. What's interesting is that much of the findings point to this being largely perceptual - as in, people often wash things because they *seem* dirty. If the cuffs and collar on your white shirt are browning, then by all means, wash it, but a large body of the research published within the academic marketing/advertising community operate on the thesis that "cleanliness" is just as much a set of perceptual social constructs as it is a list of physical characteristics. This is a long post, but this is very interesting to me because even I have to resist it. It's easy to forget that my own views of hygiene can be just as much a product of years of conditioning and exposure to advertising meant to make me buy more Tide as they are of rational analysis of how quickly clothes wear and stain.


  4. #24
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    "white ones every day for years, the assertion that cuffs and collars must automatically become stained and grimy after one or two wears is false."


    My view on this is not based on a theory but on what I can see with my eyes. If I wear a tie with a light-colored shirt, I can see brown marks after one day. The cultural part may come into play in deciding whether this means it is "dirty" or not, but with my eyes I see brown marks. They are there.


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    pitseleh, with all due respect, as JT10000 also said, this is not an issue of perception vs reality, except potentially with you.


    "Ring around the collar" is not a new concept, nor is it something the advertising community simply made up for higher sales of detergent. It is a verifiable fact of wearing white shirts. Also, it is a verifiable fact that stains are harder to get out once you let them set in, especially when you wear your shirts multiple times.


    Perhaps you are free from this curse? My guess is that you're one of the few exceptions, not the norm.


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    Don't misunderstand me, I never meant to say "Well, you're not seeing these things." If your shirts dirty like that, then I think you should wash them! What I mostly object to is that clothes wear in some specific way and that that's incontrovertible truth. i wouldn't dispute what you see with your own eyes, but likewise, would you dispute what I don't see? Like I said, I have no idea why it works this way; they *should* be dirty, but they're not. What I'm prescribing isn't to just wash all clothing less (though I do think people over launder stuff like pants and sweaters), but to find something that makes sense for you. For me, things rarely ever look dirty, and it's not uncommon that people actually compliment me on how I smell, so I go with it. For you, obviously something different is required. I just think people should take a few minutes to observe their actual clothing and decide whether or not it really needs washing or they're just doing it out of habit, like I was.


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    "would you dispute what I don't see?"


    No. And I haven't written a long treatise about it either.


  8. #28
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    Cleaning / soap = yardstick of civilization.


    I wash my shirts after every wear, and let them air dry on hangers.


  9. #29
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    pitseleh, dress shirts get grimy over time around the collar and cuffs when you wear them for 12 hours in a row, especially if you tend to wear them multiple times between washing. I don't know why you bring up meaningless concepts like "incontrovertible truths" since you're the one that seems to be generalizing in those terms.


    Not everyone gets ring around the collar, but it is an extremely common phenomenon, one that people new to dress shirts (like many here) should be aware of even if they are lucky enough to not be affected.


    On the flip side, unless I sweat excessively in them or they get stained, I dry clean my suits and other wool clothing maybe every 15-20 wears; but then again I don't wear an individual suit more than once every two weeks. Cleaning dress shirts after every wear has nothing to do with overlaundering and everything to do with stain prevention.


  10. #30
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    In what way do you feel I'm generalizing inappropriately? The idea of an incontrovertible truth isn't meaningless at all; it addresses the tendency people have to state exceedingly relative things as though they are objective - something that I would argue is extremely meaningful in a community devoted to fashion, which I've found can be an environment strongly given to dogma. It was my impression from your post that you were doing this (as in, this is how it *actually* is, and if you disagree with it, you are incorrect). If you weren't doing this, then I simply misread the tone of your post. Regardless, I'm not disputing your claim, as I more or less laid out my thoughts in the previous post. I would say, though, that I've known a lot of people in white collar environments who don't really pay attention to stain prevention and just wash their clothing all the time out of habit. This is principally the (common in my experience) behavior that I view as being kind of pointless a lot of the time.


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