Sometimes in life, the question is not whether you could, but whether you should. You could let your toenails grow for a year, or brush your teeth with a Mars bar, or subsist on a diet of baked beans, piña colada and Happy Meals, but the consequences would probably outweigh the unadulterated joy of doing so.
So if you had a shirt that you could wear for 100 days without washing it, the resounding question remains: should you? For one American clothing business, the answer is a big “Yes”. New York-based Wool & Prince claims to have created a button-down with a difference – one that can be proudly worn for more than three months without having to begrudgingly conform to societies’ draconian rules of basic hygiene.
The shirts are made from luxury wool, rather than cotton, which, the company says, gives the shirts their odour-resistant and crease-free properties. Founder Mac Bishop wore the shirt for 100 days to demonstrate, during which he “did everything” in it. We can assume that didn’t include showering.
Demand for the low-maintenance garms seems to be high. The start-up company crowd-sourced its funding on Kickstarter.com raising $314,241 £201,051 – considerably more than the $30,000 it was looking for.
There is an existing market for super durable clothing. Teflon-coated school uniforms are popular with parents hoping to avoid their children coming home in rags each day and non-iron shirts have long been the saviour of work hard, play hard city slickers.
According to Mark Yates, head of quality and innovation for menswear at Marks & Spencer, who stock both such things, the company “is regularly introducing new innovations in menswear”. He points to its range of SmartWeave shirts that avoid embarrassing sweat patches, perfect for the intolerably hot British summer.
But if Wool & Prince’s new shirts really do live up to their claims and we only need to wash and iron our shirts four times a year, surely this could be potentially devastating for the laundry business.
Maria Datta, owner of Valentino Dry Cleaners, who has more than 25 years experience laundering suits and shirts of the likes of Paul Smith and Alexander McQueen isn’t worried yet. “I have many shirts that say you’re not meant to iron them, then they come out the wash and you still have to. Besides, if anything spills on your shirt, you can’t wait 100 days to clean it.”
Indeed, perhaps the real question is not whether you could last 100 days without washing your shirt, but whether you could last 100 days without eating spaghetti.