Putting starch on your dress shirts might stir up images of 1930’s formality with unforgiving collars, but it is still common practice among men.
Clothing starch comes in liquid form, made by mixing water with a vegetable starch. The practicalities aside from stiffening collars and sleeves are that dirt from a wearers neck can get caught in the starch making it easier to remove in the next wash.
In warmer climates starch can help to make your shirt more presentable. Humidity can cause your shirt to wrinkle up which is not ideal when you have a client meeting to attend. Starching the shirt will help it keep that laundered finish for longer.
So should you use starch on your dress shirts?
Does Starch Reduce Lifespan?
Yes, but it doesn’t shorten half as much as some men might have you believe. A starched shirt will last about 10 washes less than a non-starched shirt. If your shirt is of good quality and is made of 100% cotton (always recommended) then it is worth noting that it will hold the starch better.
Should You Starch?
This is dependent firstly on the fabric of your shirt? If it is a cheaper fabric then avoid starching at all costs. Secondly what is the occasion? If it is a black tie event I would be more inclined to have my shirt starched than day to day shirts for work. If starching is something you have become accustomed to then ask for a light starching at best.
Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.