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Shiny Suit Syndrome: Researchers discover the cause of and cure for SSS
By: Stu Bloom
SSS does not refer to a medical condition – Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, Severe Serotonin Syndrome or even Sick Sinus Syndrome.
Instead, SSS refers to Shiny Suit Syndrome, a garment condition that affects millions of wardrobes.
You’re probably familiar with the symptoms of SSS: garments that look shiny and hard pressed when they come back from the cleaners.
The causes of SSS
So what causes of SSS?
The answer is not complicated …
Your clothes look shiny and hard pressed because they’ve been pressed by machine, with way too much pressure, using way too much steam, at way too high a temperature, for way too long.
At a true quality cleaner, you won’t find those common “bang and hang” machine pressing practices typically found at ordinary cleaners: shine; seam, flap and button impressions; moire-like press pad impressions; double creases; wrinkled seams and linings; and other “crimes of fashion”.
Instead, your fine garments will be delicately finished. By a skilled garment finisher. The old-fashioned way. By hand. Using a hand iron. Both inside and out. No matter how long it might take.
A true quality cleaner even has different finishing stations, equipped with different types of finishing pads, adjusted to different pressures, equipped with hand irons set at different temperatures, and staffed by finishers with different skills, to accommodate different categories of garments and even different types of fabrics within a specific category of garments.
To understand this nuance, you must first recognize that ordinary cleaners typically employ only two types of presses in their dry clean operations: pant presses (slacks, trousers and shorts) and utility presses (blouses, shirts, blazers, sport coats, dresses, skirts, sweaters, etc.).
Moreover, most ordinary cleaners cross train their pressers to be “jacks of all trades”. So a presser may press slacks, trousers and shorts for 5 hours, and blouses, shirts, blazers, sport coats, dresses, skirts and sweaters for the rest of the day. Or their “stain removal technician” will load and unload their dry clean machine, and press slacks, trousers and shorts in between loads.
A true quality cleaner would never permit such cross utilization.
For example, a garment finisher who specializes in slacks, trousers and shorts would never be assigned a sport coat or a dress.
Because skilled finishing is all about technique.
And few finishers – even highly skilled finishers – have developed their technique to the point that would allow them to move seamlessly between different categories of garments. (Please note that “technique” does not equate to “experience”. Many pressers with many years of experience have zero technique.)
Not only that, but a true quality cleaner has different finishing stations to accommodate different fabrics within a specific category of garments.
For example, a garment finisher who specializes in cotton/linen slacks, trousers and shorts would never be assigned a wool, silk, poly or rayon slacks, trousers or shorts.
Because cotton/linen pant presses are equipped with a “harder” pad, are adjusted to a higher pressure, are equipped with hand irons set at higher temperatures, and requires a hand finisher with a “stronger arm”.
By contrast, wool, silk, poly and rayon pant presses are equipped with a “soft” pad, are adjusted to a negligible pressure, are equipped with hand irons set at lower temperatures, and requires a hand finisher with a “delicate touch”.
At a true quality cleaner anything less is simply unacceptable.
“Pressing”, as practiced by ordinary cleaners, is such a poor descriptor of the art of finishing.
Of course, a skilled finisher must know how to apply pressure to achieve a smooth finish on a linen or cotton. But a smooth, soft, hand-finish, that minimizes the possibility of shine or seam, flap or button impressions, best defines the finest professional finishing.
If you’re looking for validation of this point of view, just broach the subject of “pressing” with any bespoke tailor and watch their blood pressure rise. And make sure you bring along a portable defibrillator. Your tailor may need it.
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