There's nothing quite as dapper as a guy in a suit. But the price to maintain that crisp look can put a wrinkle in your finances. On average, we dish out 20 dollars for each trip to the dry cleaners. But, what if you could slash that bill drastically? Clothing companies are coming out with all kinds of fuss free men's wear...from machine washable suites to stain resistant ties. But are they any good? We put them to the "Does It Work?" test.
Get ready for the latest craze: functional fashion for men. From machine washable suits, to maintenance free shirts, and stain resistant ties, the national retail federation says business casual is out...fuss-free formal is in! "The workplace is getting a little bit more strict. They're going to need help being eased back into the business attire," says Scott Krugman of the National Retail Federation.
O.K. Men are dressing up again and these simple styles sound great, but do they actually work? Self-proclaimed low maintenance guy, Gus Ornstein agreed to try them out. Then we hooked him up with Brian Boye, fashion expert at men's health magazine. Gus tried out three items: A no-iron shirt from Brooks Brothers, a Pierre Cardin tie that claims to be unstainable and a Stafford suit that claims to be machine washable. Gus liked the look and the fit of his new suit, but was leery about the wash and wear claim.
He took the suit off, zipped it in the laundry bag it came with, and threw it in the washing machine. Then he did his best to crumple the no-iron shirt and shoved it into a gym bag.
For the stain resistant tie, Gus doused it with grape juice. And to be completely brutal, marked it up with lipstick. The grape juice instantly beaded up, and with a little blotting, vanished. A trip to the dry cleaners, and the lipstick was off. "The tie came out real good," says Gus. "I'm impressed with the fact that this tie did not keep any of the stains that we put in it."
The Brooks Brothers shirt came out of the dryer wrinkle free as promised. "The shirt is pressed nicely, considering it's not pressed," says Gus. But don't expect that dry cleaner starched look. "That's not really in-style right now," says Brian. "We want to be comfortable and this shirt looks pressed enough." But how about that suit we actually threw into a washing machine? "I mean, considering it went through the washer and has air dried for a day, it looks pretty good," says Brian. Not only did the feel of the fabric stay the same, but there were also no signs of shrinkage. "Same length as yesterday," says Gus.
"Anything that can help shorten our preparation time and make us look good is a benefit for us," says Brian. Gus agrees and is game for trying out even more of these easy to wear clothes. "It's great for me. I'd like to see what else they make," says Gus.
So, "Does It Work?" We give these fuss free men's wear breakthroughs... a "yes".
The functional fashions will cost you a little bit more... but not too much. The Stafford washable suit sells for $270, but that's only about five dollars more that its regular counterpart. The Brooks Brothers no iron shirt costs $65. The traditional button-down is normally $59.50. And the Pierre Cardin ties, at $27.50, are the same price as the company's other ties.
Joe Terrell, reporting.