Dress Shirts and the Unseemly Truth

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I admit I prefer to wear knit shirts rather than dress shirts, for a number of reasons.  The main one is comfort.  They don’t require undershirts.  And, they’re generally more breathable than dress shirts.  On the negative side, they fade fairly quickly, but…  there’s still another reason I prefer them. 

Years ago, back when I wore a coat and tie to work because “business dress” was the norm, I somehow or another was discussing dress shirts with a coworker.  He was always impeccably dressed, and I recall that he said that he liked going to upper end stores because the shirts were fresh from the factory, untouched by human hands.  Obviously, he hadn’t actually been to a garment factory to see all the germy little fingertips sewing and assembling the clothes, but the point was that he didn’t like buying shirts that other customers had tried on.

Personally, I wish every dress shirt I tried on had already been tried on by someone else.  It would mean less of a hassle for me.  Just put them on a hangar.  Please.

And thus begins the gripe!

Ladies and Gentleman of the jury, below we have Exhibit A, in it’s retail presentation:

Yeah, it’s a shirt, of the variety typically found in a stack sorted by neck size.  Let’s just imagine that a shopper has the insane notion to actually try on the shirt before purchasing it.  Okay?

Well, let’s get at the task.  Obviously, the vendor tag has to go.  Sorry, Jos A. Bank.  Also, if you look inside the collar, there’s a barely visible collar reinforcement.  I guess that’s necessary because it could end up being on the bottom of the stack in a container during its overseas voyage.  Well, let’s just take that out and place it on the side.  Now let’s flip the shirt over and see what we have:

We’ve been spared the hazard of finger pricks; they’ve used a clip style fastener rather than a straight pin.  Pins are bad.  When you’re in a dressing room, there is rarely a place to put them, but I do have a couple examples:

photo2 photo

These were taken over time knowing I’d eventually getting around to, well, griping about this.  I should have taken a picture of all the pins on the floor lying in wait for people trying on pants…

In any case, we move on.  After removing the clips and folding the back down, we come across another fastener:

Again, at least it’s not a pin.  Maybe pins are a 21st century casualty.  Let’s unclip this small but effective petroleum based product and remove the cardboard backing around which the shirt is wrapped.  Oh, and also the logo tissue, and wait, dadnabit!  What’s that little thing pinned in there?

And where is the head?

Ah, there it is, of course, on the other side, inside of the sleeve.  Just the first place I would have looked… not!  Back to the back…

Yippee!  Treasure!  Another cardboard insert to keep the collar’s form!  I think we’re about done.  Let’s flip it over and begin undoing the buttons, finally. 

Well, wait.  One more little insert at the neck.  Great…

And now I can finally try this rascal on.  Holding it up, it looks pretty good.   Oh, joy of joys, there’s yet another surprise.  With the shirt to the light, we find a sticker within indicating that Inspector #4 approved the product.  That’s nice.  I wonder if someone else inspected it after the anti-personnel tripwires were added?

Okay, rant almost over. Is all of this really a BIG deal?  Well, not really.  Sure, had this been a long sleeved shirt, there would have been additional pins/clips, but you get the point.  To try on more than a couple shirts… let’s just say that I don’t think I’m different from most other guys.  I’m just not that patient.

But, I think, in time, the forces of societal change will eventually help me and the rest of mankind overcome this particular grief.  I can hope, anyway.  Sometime long after my spiffy 6 cylinder gasoline automobile is exiled in favor of a Duracel powered one-seater, the attention of the powers that be will focus on what is a particularly wasteful practice.  In short, it’s just not green.  I present to you, for your judgment, all the garbage from a single shirt.

Metal, plastics, and wood, all manufactured somewhere (cheap) with inherent energy costs and pollutant streams, wasted fossil fuels transporting each to the shirt factory, then transported again to the US of A, for what?  Begone!

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