Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"The Lazy Person's Iron"

That's the subject line of a post I put on a listserv I belong to. I was asking if anyone had used a hand steamer for clothes. The post triggered a number of threads (no, no one used one) that mainly got responses (mostly from men, but some women) like "Good gawd, what do want to iron clothes for?? You should wear wash-and-wear and permapress. And who spends money on clothes that have to be dry cleaned?" And "Yes, I iron when I need to relax. I don't like wearing wrinkled cotton." "I save up a pile of ironing and catch up on my TV shows." "My mother irons pillow cases and dish towels." "My brother irons his briefs."

The members of this list tend to be a bit older (my age, say), and of the tweed-corduroy-wash-and-wear-comfortable shoes type (and yes, I've met many of them), often because of preference for a low-cost and low-maintenance wardrobe, and sometimes because of budget. But I like nice fabrics (wool, cashmere, silk, linen) and while I don't shop at retail stores that sell these at full price, I can hunt out a bargain at the local off-price store (Winners), and I've scored big time at the Value Village near my house. (And I should put in a plug for St. John's Thrift Store on Danforth, east of Woodbine, where I got my nice black wool beret and cashmere scarf for $2.00.)

Lauren, Karan, Diesel, Linda Allard-Ellen Tracy, Kenneth Cole...WonderBra. None of these items cost more than $10.00. The Donna Karan cashmere sweater was $6, the silk blouses average $5-7. And I don't buy them if they look icky or have stains in the armpits. Mostly I hand wash stuff, and periodically take things to the dry cleaner for a nice finish, especially if the stuff is really good, or at the end of the season. I like to wear clothes of nice fabrics that are well made (and along with my two yoga college credits I have two full credits in Sewing and Tailoring from an actual Canadian university).

Mom taught me to sew when I was about 11 years old, and the parents got me a sewing machine for Christmas when I was in my late teens. I learned a lot about fabric and construction over the years (but not what looked good on me until lately), so I have an idea what to buy.

So sue me. I like nice clothes. But I don't like to iron.

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