The Shirt You Don't Have to Wash—and Other Clothes that Rarely Get Too Dirty

Laundry: like it or loathe it, it’s got to get done. Or does it? Maybe not, if the creator of a new no-wash shirt has his way. 

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Clothing company Wool & Prince, founded in New York City by entrepreneur Mac Bishop, has developed the “better button-down,” a tailored men’s shirt that can be worn for 100 days straight with “No washing. No dry cleaning. No wrinkles. No odor.” Funding has come from a Kickstarter campaign, which had already pulled in more than $167,000 on Tuesday—putting it $135,000 past its goal way before its May 22 deadline. While the retail price has yet to be announced, shirts are available to Kickstarter investors for $98 each.

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Bishop, 24, whose family owns the Pendleton Woolen Mills in Oregon ("Fashion is in my blood, I guess you could say," he told Shine), created and trademarked the "Cotton-Soft" wool fabric after six months of working with mills around the world. Then he and 15 testers put a prototype through the ringer, wearing it for 100 days straight for everything from nightclub outings to workout sessions. Amazingly, the shirts retained their crisp look and neutral odor.

“How?” Bishop asks on his Kickstarter video. “Wool.”

Wool is six times more durable than cotton, plus it’s wrinkle resistant, proving in laboratory tests that the fibers can snap back on themselves more than 20,000 times without breaking, while cotton tends to break after 3,200 bends, the Wool & Prince blog reports. Wool can be stretched by as much as 30 percent and still spring right back to its original size.

Then there’s the no-stink aspect, made possible because sweat, apparently, has no odor on its own, but develops one when it remains on the skin and bacteria develop. Wool, though, is a natural antibacterial fabric, and is efficient at absorbing sweat and evaporating it into the air, the company claims.

Further, Wool & Prince says its shirts are light and breathable, because the company uses a fine wool thread that’s more than three times finer than human hair.

“Our fabric will redefine what you think of wool,” Bishop promises on his Kickstarter video.

Not to mention what you’ll think of laundry.

The inspiration for creating a shirt that barely needs washing, Bishop explains on Kickstarter, came after checking in with fellow guys to see what item of clothing they liked best, and why. The answer, repeatedly, was jeans—an item that just happens to do fine, even better, with limited laundering.

“Guys love their jeans,” Bishop says. “They’re comfortable, they look good and you hardly have to wash them.”

Jeans, according to various experts including the Levi Strauss company itself, can and should go for long stretches without being cleaned, as washing breaks down the fabric. While some say a washing after every fourth or fifth wear is a good idea, Levi’s suggests freezing your jeans to kill off bacteria between uses instead. Some don’t even do that—including Anderson Cooper, who admitted to style maven Stacy London in 2012 that he wore the same pair of APC jeans every day for about six months before getting them clean.  

Other items of clothing are often victims of over-washing, too, according to various sources. Dress pants and khakis only need laundering after about every four or five wears, especially if you just wear them to work, reports this blogger. Skirts can also wait several uses, especially if they are full and most of the fabric doesn’t even touch your skin, as can blouses and dresses, which can be washed on an as-needed basis.

So rest easy, lazy friends. Rest easy.

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