Tip NO. 18 Hot of the Press

Some time ago, I went on a work trip with my husband to Turkey. We spent five weeks in Istanbul and used every moment of our free time exploring where East meets West. It was such a wonderful experience and my first trip across the Atlantic. The sights and jewels of the Grand Bazaar, the sounds and smells of the Spice Bazaar, the great Ottoman and Byzantine empires colliding in the Hagia Sophia, and the Hollywood sets come to life in the underground caverns of the Basilica Cistern. My taste buds water at the thought of their yogurt, lamb kebabs, Turkish pizzas, and baklava dripping in honey syrup. Turkey was one of the most incredible trips of my life, but also a useful one. Why? I spent a day in their clothing district.

Turkeys clothing district is like shopping in New York’s fabric district, but better. It’s three blocks of mens storesmade to order suits, hand-tailored dress shirts, ties, shoes, belts, leather briefcases, anything and everything the businessman in your life could want. My husband was a kid in a candy storeif that candy store sold 17-34/35 dress shirts. While he was picking out his 27th tie in his ninth store, I peeked behind the curtain and was mesmerized by what I saw. Here was this Turkish man pressing dress shirts with unbelievable speed. It was like watching a well-choreographed ballet on an ironing board. Every move purposed, precise, and perfect; each shirt done quickly and ready for the showroom floor. It took me ten minutes to do what he did in 90 seconds. I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask him to teach me to iron like him. Thankfully, Ibrahim, my new best friend, understood my primitive signs enough to give me the following 4-step process.

1. Press the collar, focusing on the corners that like to turn up. A couple of extra shots of steam will help it to be obedient, eliminating the need for spray starch. A common mistake many people make is folding the collar over and then pressing. Ibrahim stressed NEVER DO THATwith some very angry, emphatic, facial expressions. I dare not argue with a man holding a hot iron. I nodded with an I know, right?facial expression of my own, hoping I masked my actual feelings of OH MY GODI DO THAT!
2. The yoke, or shoulders, were next.
3. Then the sleeves. The trick Ibrahim taught me? Keep the seam facing the back and you’ll always end up with your crease in the same spot. French cuffs are different no crease in the sleeve. I purchased a sleeve ironing board to help me with those.
4. The body. No tricksjust iron it.

Just by following these tips, and ironing the shirt in this order, I was able to take my time at the ironing board down considerably. I haven’t quite gotten down to 90 seconds, but my husband recently clocked me at two and a half minutes per shirta time that I’m sure would make Ibrahim proud. So if you’re looking to cut the time you spend pressing your husbands dress shirts by at least half, you could take a trip to Turkey and get a personal lesson from Ibrahim. Or you could follow the four easy steps he gave me that I have just shared with you. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

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