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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Man’s Dress Shirt versus a Woman’s Blouse

We are asked, fairly regularly, why cleaning a woman’s blouse is more expensive than cleaning a man’s dress shirt. The answer is this: the cost solely depends on the process used to clean and finish the shirt.

The majority of men’s dress shirts are laundered and machine ironed on automated equipment. It can be done because men’s dress shirts have varied little in style and fabric for a number of years. This has allowed equipment manufacturers to design and build automated shirt presses that will fit most men’s dress shirts. Operating these automated shirt presses takes a whole lot less time and labor to properly finish a man’s dress shirt.

For several reasons, a woman’s blouse typically cannot be finished on automated equipment. First, they are made of a larger variety of fabrics like silk and spandex, which cannot be put on the automated equipment because the heat from the plates could damage the fabric. Second, where men’s dress shirts are fairly standard in style, women’s blouses include details like ruffles, pleats, darting, special buttons, and trim. These details could be crushed or damaged if finished on automated equipment. Finally, women’s blouses vary in cut – and those variations change regularly as styles come and go. That makes it difficult to finish them on a piece of standardized equipment. So to properly finish women’s blouses, they need to be completely hand ironed. Simply, that translates into more time and labor.

There could be an occasional exception to the rule. For instance, a woman’s blouse that is made of 100% cotton or a cotton/poly blend that can fit on an automated press will cost the same as a man’s dress shirt finished in the same manner. And likewise, if a man’s dress shirt is out of the size range for the automated equipment or is made of a more delicate fabric and must be hand ironed, it will cost the hand finished price. But if you are ever in doubt, please ask. We are here to help.

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