Too many people overlook ironing their dress pants. You may think that it isn't as important to have your suit pants wrinkle-free compared to making sure the front of your menswear looks neat, or maybe you just worry that you'll damage your dress pants by trying to iron them, so it's better to look like you have wrinkled pants than having damaged suit pants.
The truth is, wrinkle-free dress pants matter just as much as wrinkle-free shirts. If you don't think that your co-workers will notice your lack of professionalism from the waist down, you can think again. Even with a modern fit suit pant style like slim fit or flat front, wrinkles can take best sellers and make them look like they're from the bargain bin.
Wrinkle-free dress pants are a must if you want to look your best in a professional environment.
Here's what you need to know about ironing your men's dress pants, and techniques you can use to avoid having to iron in the first place!
Why is Ironing Men's Dress Pants More Challenging?
- Two layers. Men's dress pants require that you iron two layers of clothing at once, whereas you can always lay shirts in such a way that you only have to do one layer of clothing at a time.
- Sharp crease. Well-ironed suit pants have a recognizable sharp crease down the front and back of the legs that can be hard to master, especially when it comes to certain styles like classic fit, pleated, chino, and straight leg.
- Fabric. Dress pants are often made of wool or a wool blend, which are more easily ruined than fabrics like stretch cotton or easy to iron dress pants fabric like twill or khaki pants.
How to Iron Dress Pants: Flat Front, Pleated, and Beyond
Ironing dress pants may take a little bit more practice than ironing dress shirts, but it is very possible, provided you put some practice into learning how. Here's what you need to learn about how to iron dress pants.
Prepare the Equipment
Your dress pants and your iron should both be clean when you begin ironing. The heat setting should be at a lower temperature than it typically would be for cotton dress shirts, and a much lower temperature than for linen dress shirts.
Keep in mind that wool pants need a rather low temperature setting to avoid damaging the wool.
It's very convenient to have a few pieces of extra equipment besides the ironing board and the iron if you want your dress pants to come out their best:
- Distilled water. If your water is anything but very soft (i.e. free from minerals), your iron should be filled with distilled water. Distilled water keeps limescale from building in the iron and ending up on your dress pants as white marks.
- Tailor's ham. A Tailor's ham lets you follow the curve of your dress pants in a way that mirrors your own form. This allows the dress pants to fit more easily and look better, regardless of classic fit or modern fit styles.
- Sleeve board. A sleeve board allows slightly more flexibility than a standard ironing board, but won't be as convenient to use without a Tailor's ham.
- Pressing cloth. A pressing cloth goes between the iron and the dress pants, and makes it less likely that you will shine the wool.
The Ironing Process
When you're ironing wool blend dress pants, you must be more gentle than you would be with a twill-pant or stretch cotton. Always iron in very small movements. Lift the iron after each movement, rather than dragging it along with fabric. This will make it much less likely that you will cause a shine in the wool.
- Position the tailor's ham. Put your tailor's ham in the dress pants with the hip and waist over the curve.
- Iron the upper dress pants. Gently move the iron along the contours of the dress pants, placing lightly, not rubbing.
- Between the belt loops. Use the tip of the iron to smooth the space between the belt loop, similarly to how you would handle buttons on a dress shirt.
- Iron the legs. It is up to you whether you want to carefully position the legs to iron in the front crease or whether you want to continue to use the ham to iron along a rounded surface. Try both techniques and see which works better for you.
- Make sure to be mindful of the actual pair of dress pants themselves--you want to iron to compliment the actual shape of the dress pants. Flat-front pants are certainly a different iron than pleated pants, as are classic fit pants versus modern fit pants versus slim fit dress pants!
An Alternative to Ironing Dress Pants
Ironing doesn't have to be a necessary evil. Given the option to avoid ironing pants, would you?
Men's dress pants are likely to last longer without wrinkling if they are not subjected to regular ironing, and you'll surely appreciate not having to iron. Thankfully, there are great alternatives to ironing your dress pants besides limiting your wardrobe to only wrinkle-resistant fabrics like twill or stretch cotton.
Non-Iron Dress Pants
You may find that high-quality non-iron dress pants like those made by Twillory offer you exactly the look you're going for, without having to iron every day. Non-iron dress pants also have advantages throughout your workday:
- Save time in the morning. Non-iron dress pants look fresh as soon as you pull them out of your closet, so you won't have to worry about ironing before work.
- Look good after sitting. No matter how carefully you iron your dress pants in the morning, after a workday of sitting, those dress pants are unlikely to look their best when you go into a meeting. Non-iron dress pants generally are wrinkle-resistant even after a long day, regardless of what you do.
- Better for traveling. Premium non-iron pants are much less likely to accrue wrinkles while you're traveling, so you'll look good throughout your trip without having to worry.
Characteristics of High-Quality, Non-Iron Dress Pants
The best non-iron dress pants have the comfort of casual pants and stretch pants with the professional look of slim fit pants, chino pants, or even the classic workplace khaki pants. You'll look great without having to compromise comfort throughout your day. New arrivals into the market like pants made with Japanese stretch fabric are particularly breathable, wicking away moisture that could otherwise cause discomfort throughout the day; and the best part--they're easily washable, so your new favorite pair of dress pants are good to go again later.
You can feel all the comfort of stretch, but nobody would have any idea that your pants were made of anything other than quality wool, wrinkle-free, right off the hanger.
You want pants that work for you. A waistband that grips your shirt without having to be that extra slim fit makes it less likely that your shirt will become untucked during the day. Travel pockets, including zippered pockets, make it more convenient to carry things with you. And of course, the premium no-iron fabric makes it convenient for you to go anywhere wrinkle-free.
Look Your Best in Your Dress Pants
There are tons of different styles of pants available, ranging from the classic fit khaki pants with herringbone pockets, to light blue modern fit extra slim fit in a houndstooth print, to big & tall pants made of sharkskin with a plaid waistband accent. Regardless of the fit and cut, wrinkles are never in style, so whether you want to take the time to iron your dress pants, or if you want to invest in high-quality non-iron dress pants, take the time to consider how to look best in your dress pants. When it comes to professional looking menswear, pants matter just as much as your stretch suit and blazers when you want to look like you're coming off a business class flight from New York.