Iron vs. Non-Iron: Paul Trible Comments to the WSJ

Wrinkle-resistant shirts have gotten a bad rap. And with good reason: traditionally, they are lumped in with the non-iron “wash-and-wear” shirts that are treated with harsh chemicals that leave the fabric stiff and rough to the touch – imagine buttoning up a tarp every day and you’ll get the idea. In the past we’ve avoided non-iron shirts because of the chemical bath that has become the industry standard contains low levels of formaldehyde, which for obvious reasons is not something you want in your clothes. While there has been no scientific evidence that formaldehyde in shirts has long-term health effects, it does cause skin irritation for some wearers. This treatment along with the cheap fabrics that are associated with non-iron shirts has created a lasting stigma attached to the idea of shirts that resist wrinkling. “While the process makes for a wrinkle-free shirt fresh out of the dryer, the fabric breaks down and leads to blown-out elbows, becomes less breathable and feels stiffer,” Co-founder and CEO Paul Trible said to the Wall Street Journal in their recent article, “The War Over Non-Iron Shirts.” We’re proud to say we’ve found a wrinkle-resistant alternative that’s free of formaldehyde, incredibly breathable, and sure to keep you away from the ironing board.

L.-R.: The Easley Houndstooth, The White Brody Oxford, The Cohen 120.

Over the years we’ve often received requests for wrinkle-resistant shirts from our customers but hadn’t yet discovered a fabric that met our shirt standard. In fact, Cotton Inc. reported last year that 65% of male shoppers sought out wrinkle-resistant business wear but only 17% of dress shirts were marketed as wrinkle-resistant. When we discovered the Journey fabrics from two-centuries-old Thomas Mason (the leader in the English textile industry since 1750) we knew they would do a wrinkle-free shirt justice. What sets the Journey fabric apart from the stiff, scratchy “no-iron” feeling you’re used to is a less aggressive, gentle treatment that respects the natural fiber of the cotton. The treatment method itself is different than your typical formaldehyde bath that a “wash-and-wear” shirt receives before it’s put on the rack for purchase. Rather than dunking the whole shirt in harsh chemicals, the fabric is treated with a gentler formulation at a mill-level – before the shirt is constructed. You’re left with a soft, breathable shirt, with an exceptionally smooth handfeel. The fine quality of the Thomas Mason fabric and fibers has not been compromised.

The Journey Collection comprises seven shirts in classic whites and blues that will quickly become part of your weekly rotation. The Brody Oxford has a refined look, and is a great step-up from your typical casual oxford. If you’re looking for a formal shirt for fall weddings, the Owen Fine Twill will take you from reception to dance floor (and likely look better than you at the end of the night) and The Cohen 120 comes in a classic blue and white stripe that will stay rumple-free through happy hour.

Shop the Journey Collection now. Read the full Wall Street Journal article, The War Over Non-Iron Shirts.”


  • Question, do you add anything to the cloth to make the shirts wrinkle free?

    • Hey Jack, thanks for reaching out! All of our Thomas Mason wrinkle-resistant fabrics are finished with a light treatment to help prevent wrinkles without losing the softness of the cloth. The cloth is not treated in the same manner as many “wrinkle-free” options out there.

  • What are the chemicals that make up the wrinkle resistant bath for Thomas Mason?

  • My name is LaDonna Sargent, and Beverly “Pearly Gates” was my cousin. His mother was my grandmother’s sister. We always enjoyed his raconteurship and he hosted the most magnificent family reunions at his horse farm in Midlothian, Virginia. Boy could we share some tales…. I learned of this site through Rose Yeagley recently when she discussed meeting with Paul Tribble at Michael Hatchett’s wedding. With regards….

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