Keep That Racket Down – I’m Trying To Iron In Here.

Most people probably won’t get that quote, but it was uttered by Divine in the movie “Hairspray”. My friend, Ruthie, and I used to say that every time we wanted somebody to shut up. For some reason, we thought it was hilarious that Divine needed such concentration (and silence) to iron.

But I bring it up today because I read an interesting snippet of news in the Metro newspaper this morning. Apparently, 75% of Boston residents iron their jeans. Even worse, 49% enjoy doing it. What’s up with that? I haven’t used an iron in probably a decade. I know somebody (in Chicago) who irons his pillow cases and sheets. Most likely, he irons his jeans, too. I always thought that he was a rare breed. Apparently not. But it should also be noted that this “study” was done by an iron manufacturer.

On a related note, I had to go shopping over the weekend for dress shoes and a dress shirt for my niece’s funeral. I’ve decided to wear my circa 1996 suit since, well, that’s all I have and I don’t think I have enough time to be fitted for a new suit (and have it tailored). Besides, I probably won’t wear a suit for another 8 years so why spend the money?

Rich and I headed to Downtown Crossing to shop and I was measured for a dress shirt at 16 (neck) and 32/33 (arm). That sounds easy enough. We searched the shelves and found two shirts with those measurements: one blue, one white. I figured I could wear one to the funderal and one to the memorial a week later.

When I got home last night I decided to take the shirts out of the package, try them on and then iron them (see how this relates to the first paragraph about ironing?).

The collar fit beautifully, the arms fit beautifully, the rest of the shirt was fitted for Dom Delouise. I swear, it went practically down to my knees and you could have fit two of me in the stomach/chest area. I then tried on the other shirt and had the same problem. Confused, since the collar tags indicated the correct measurements, I checked the package the dress shirt came in. Lo and behold, it had the correct measurements, but underneath were the words “large”. OH – here’s something I didn’t know, dress shirts apparently come in the measurements you need for arms and neck, but also come in different sizes on top of that. D’oh.

Did everybody else know that? Or was this incident just proof that I come from a long line of white trash?


  1. Comment by Will on September 19, 2005 11:06 am

    I didn’t know that was happening with shirts, but it’s probably part of a trend that the fitness craze. as well as the obesity epidemic began. A lot of men’s garments (suits especially) are now coming in regular AND in athletic body sizes. Large may be for the man who has the upper body heavily (over)developed and also for the man who has been piling on the carbs and fats. For a guy like you with a fit, trim body, a regular fit would obviously be the choice.

  2. Comment by chrispy on September 19, 2005 11:51 am

    H&M? they have dress shirts with actual neck and sleeve sizes, most of them in “slim fit”.
    (sorry to hear about heather, rest her soul. ive been in ny since friday and hadnt gotten to read the blog since)

  3. Comment by Doug on September 19, 2005 12:06 pm

    Hey Karl…I (the retail expert) can answer your question for you 🙂 Shirts come in neck/arm lengths and in fitted, regular, athletic or big cuts. HOWEVER, some manufacturers have gone the extra confusing steps of adding sizes (S,M,L,XL,XXL) in response to the fact that MOST men don’t have any idea of what their neck or arm measurements are. Therefore, its easy to get a person to purchase that manufacturers shirt because the consumer can relate to the sizing. I would be willing to bet that you probably bought a Van Heusen shirt?? Higher end designers (Ralph Lauren/Calvin Klein/Hilfiger etc) dont typically use the double sizing.

    You need to return the shirts and get a ‘fitted’ shirt. You bought a regular fit shirt, not a ‘large fit’ and with your new sleek body…you dont need that. 🙂

  4. Comment by Brad on September 19, 2005 12:12 pm

    And on the first topic you mentioned . . . I know someone who actually irons their underwear!!! Puhleeeeeze!

  5. Comment by Will on September 19, 2005 1:41 pm

    When I was a kid I once tried ironing my socks (stop laughing, ALL of you!). They were solid polyester. I wound up with one sock and one huge lump of plastic on the bottom of the iron.

    As an informed adult, I iron cloth napkins, slacks when they need it and shirts. But I love rayon and that rarely needs any ironing.

  6. Comment by Karl on September 19, 2005 1:46 pm

    HMMM – I still tend to go for the cotton clothing, which results in a frequently wrinkled Karl.

  7. Comment by David on September 19, 2005 2:15 pm


  8. Comment by J.P. on September 19, 2005 2:49 pm

    If you were really still livin’ la white trash loca and remained true to your roots, you would have just picked up a new printed t-shirt from Wal*Mart (Always White Trash, Always).

  9. Comment by JC on September 19, 2005 4:45 pm

    I actually enjoy ironing once I get off my fat ass and do it. I throw on some disco and have a personal ironing party.

  10. Comment by karyn on September 19, 2005 10:56 pm

    I detest ironing.
    I detest buying men’s dress shirts because the sizes make no effing sense. What in THE hell does a package that says 17 32/33 mean to me? NADA. They should print: Size / XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, whathaveyou. Neck: 15/16/17 whatever. Arm length: Neanderthal, Gorilla, T-Rex, 33″, whatever. I just loathe the vagueness of it. Besides, what the hell do I know about my husband’s neck size? And does that vary if he loses or gains 5 lbs? And what about if the vein in his neck starts popping? Or if he talks and his Adam’s Apple starts bobbing around? I am totally baffled by it. Stupid shirts.

    I’ve never seen you look wrinkly. Nevah!

    And for coolest inventions, I submit – you will hate me – Downy’s Wrinkle Release Spray! Invest in some, you will love it. Plus it smells nice. 🙂

  11. Comment by karyn on September 19, 2005 10:57 pm

    PS, Will, that is really sad about your boyhood socks. LoL. I hated ironing then, too. Ah well.

  12. Comment by Will on September 20, 2005 10:30 am

    Actually, men’s shirt sizing is one of the more precise sizing procedures in clothing and, if properly followed through, guarantees far better and more personal fit than simply S/M/L/XL, etc. If your husband gains or loses 5 or so pounds, the neck size doesn’t really change. At 50 pounds it would change, but then everything he wears would be affected.

    What the women I know tell me is that the sizing of women’s dresses is total chaos–you’re a 6 in one manufacturer’s sizing standard, a 4 in another’s and an 8 in a third’s.

    The joke is, of course, that you don’t need to iron socks in the first place. I was very busy being a good little boy when I was younger. That’s all stopped now! 🙂

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