Wrinkle Resistance Ratings

Overview

A fabric’s tendency to wrinkle – or not wrinkle – depends on several factors. Typically, weight, weave complexity, composition, and treatment (if any) dictate the level of a fabric’s wrinkle resistance. As a general rule, the more weight, complexity of weave, and treatment a fabric has, the more resistant to wrinkling it will be, and vice versa. Several of these factors are often at play in a single fabric, and certain combinations can help increase a fabric’s wrinkle resistance. 

Wools & Synthetics are more Wrinkle-Resistant than Cottons & Linens

The material from which a shirt is made will also affect its wrinkle resistance. Shirts with wool woven into them resist wrinkles very well, while 100% linen or cotton/linen blends are naturally more wrinkle-prone. Fabrics made from synthetic materials with inherent resilience, like nylon and spandex, are very wrinkle-resistant as well.

Complex Weaves are more Wrinkle-Resistant

Additionally, a fabric’s weave type can dictate its natural wrinkle resistance. More pronounced weaves like royal oxfords, imperial twills, and jacquards will tend to wrinkle less, whereas broadcloth (or poplin) and plain weave fabrics with a very smooth, flat appearance will tend to wrinkle more. 

Weave density plays a further role. The diagonal line weave of twills is particularly dense, so they will often resist wrinkles better than oxfords and pinpoints of similar weights – these two weaves are less dense, with slightly “looser” and more “open” structures, and are therefore less wrinkle-resistant. Broadcloth is more difficult to weave with a very high density, so most broadcloths will tend to weigh less than twills, oxfords, and pinpoints. Broadcloth is therefore among the most wrinkle-prone dress shirt fabrics.

Non-Iron and Wrinkle-Resistant Treated Fabrics are most Resistant to Wrinkles

Finally, a fabric may be chemically treated to help it resist wrinkles. Treatments range in strength, from “wrinkle-resistant” – meaning the fabric will need to be ironed or steamed after washing, but will hold up well against wrinkling throughout a day of wear – to “non-iron”. Non-iron fabrics have a stronger treatment that prevents them from needing to be ironed or steamed post-wash. If they’re hung to dry, they’ll be ready for wear immediately, and daily activity will hardly cause them to wrinkle at all. Fabrics that do not have these extra treatments generally cannot be expected to perform as well, though there are some exceptions noted below.


Proper Cloth’s Wrinkle Resistance Ratings

Wrinkle resistance is entirely a matter of personal preference. Some guys will want their shirts to look just-pressed at all times, while others may not mind the lived-in look some wrinkles can give a shirt after a day’s wear. Our wrinkle resistance ratings can help you decide which fabrics you’ll most likely prefer.

We rate our fabrics on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being the least wrinkleresistant and 5 being the most wrinkleresistant.

5 – “Maximum Wrinkle Resistance”

We don’t expect anyone to have an issue with the wrinkle resistance of fabrics with this rating. It’s typically reserved for our non-iron fabrics, though some exceptions, like our Reda Merino wool fabrics, are in this category as well.

If you machine wash these fabrics, they should have little to no wrinkling after they’ve hung to dry.

4 – “Very WrinkleResistant”

This level of wrinkle resistance should work for most guys. This is typically reserved for fabrics that have a wrinkle-resistant treatment. They’ll hold up well against any wrinkling that would otherwise occur during normal wear.

If you machine wash these fabrics, they will still have some wrinkling after they’ve hung to dry.

3 – “Fairly WrinkleResistant”

This rating is typical of untreated dress shirt fabrics like 100s 2-ply twills and 80s 2-ply pinpoints. They have some natural ability to resist wrinkles.

We recommend having these shirts washed and pressed professionally. If you machine wash these fabrics, we strongly suggest ironing them before wear.

2 – “Wrinkle-Prone”

This level of wrinkle resistance should work for guys who have their shirts pressed after each wear or who enjoy the natural look of some wrinkling throughout the day. Those who are concerned about the wrinkle resistance of their shirts should steer clear of fabrics with this rating.

We recommend having these shirts washed and pressed professionally. If you machine wash these fabrics, we strongly suggest ironing them before wear.

1 – “Very Wrinkle-Prone”

This would describe some of our most lightweight fabrics, especially linens. At this rating, you need to embrace the lived-in appeal of these fabrics as they are intended to show wrinkling with wear. Those who are at all concerned about the wrinkle resistance of their shirts should steer clear of fabrics with this rating.

We recommend having these shirts washed and pressed professionally. If you machine wash these fabrics, we strongly suggest ironing them before wear.