In Defense of Wrinkled Clothes

Seth Stevenson defends the rationality of wearing wrinkled clothes in an amusing piece for Slate.

Ask yourself: Why is it so vital that I be smoothened? There’s no functional advantage to eliminating clothing wrinkles—unless you are competing in a timed event that favors reduced drag coefficients. What you’re really doing when you leave your house in ironed clothes is engaging in an elaborate signaling ritual. You demonstrate that you have devoted time and resources to ironing (or to compelling other people to iron for you), which in turn connotes respect for a (silly) social compact. You use your crisp clothes to advertise yourself as a rule-follower, and you hope that in turn you will derive benefit from being perceived as one who follows rules. “Oh, he took the time to press his shirt before he showed up for this job interview. So I guess he must be a reliable and trustworthy employee.” It’s thinking like this that encourages broad-based evil to fester.

Consider the aesthetics. Your preference for unpuckered expanses of fabric no doubt stems from a stupid quirk of biology. Wrinkles suggest age and decrepitude—the opposite of youth—and by ironing you are clinging to a falsely achieved sense of smoothosity. It’s like a facelift for your clothes. You really don’t need it. (Nor, incidentally, do you need a facelift for your face. I happen to think crow’s feet are hot. Marry me, Connie Britton!)

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