In this report

Which one to wear?

Last reviewed: February 2010

We bought five brands of 100 percent cotton "no iron" or "wrinkle free" men's dress shirts. For three shirts of each kind we assessed construction and looked for flaws in stitching or fabric. For one shirt of each we also measured shrinkage and checked for wrinkles after five washer-dryer cycles. None of the shirts shrank more than 1.5 percent. Prices listed below are what we paid.

Best choice

JCPenney Stafford Signature, $25

It looked smooth right out of the dryer and has an interesting detail: a gusset on the tail to prevent seams from separating when pulled.


OK choices

Lands' End Pinpoint Oxford, $40

It needed a bit of ironing but had no construction flaws.

Croft & Barrow (Kohl's), $30

The shirt was fuzzy after its fifth trip through the washer and dryer. That can foretell pilling.

Macy's Club Room, $30

The laundered shirt was wrinkle free, but one of the shirts had lots of white dots, indicating thread breaks or weaving flaws. That usually doesn't affect fabric strength, but the dots might turn into tiny holes after many care cycles.


Worst choice

Kirkland Signature (Costco), $17

Two of shirts we examined had stitching problems that could have sent them to the rag pile before their time, and one buttonhole was overstitched and looked more like a parallelogram than a rectangle.