Machine-Washable Blazers

Majestic Linen & Silk Blazer | CorporetteWashable blazers: are they worth buying to avoid making frequent trips to the dry cleaner?  How can you keep your non-washable blazers fresh and clean?

Reader S wonders:

Would you please consider doing a piece on washable blazers? (The goal is to avoid dry cleaning costs). Thanks.

We’ve talked about how to cool down quickly, whether short-sleeved suits are appropriate, and the best washable trousers — but not this.  I’m really curious to hear what the readers say here, because for my $.02, I would not spend time or money looking for blazers that are machine washable.  You may occasionally FIND a great blazer that is machine washable, but IMHO, I’d say you’re doing something wrong if you NEED a blazer that is machine washable. (Pictured: Majestic Linen & Silk Blazer, $305 at Nordstrom.)

Some thoughts:

a) If you’re sweating so profusely, so often in your blazers… where are you? I suppose in very limited situations (a small courthouse without air conditioning, maybe?) you have to just keep your blazer on and sweat, but in most situations I’ve encountered (e.g., hot subway trains and commutes) it’s fine to take off your blazer and carry it.  Even for really hot networking events (for example, an event held outdoors), I’d recommend you make your first circuit of the room wearing a blazer, but then — like many people seem to do at these events — find a table where you can sit down for a spell, remove your blazer and put it on the chair, and then go back to networking.

b) I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: one of my favorite tops to wear under blazers is a sleeved t-shirt.  The t-shirt should be easy to wash, and the sleeves should be long enough to provide a bit of a physical barrier between your underarms and your blazer.  A shell does not provide that kind of protection, and please, please do not wear only a camisole beneath your blazers. (You should always be able to take off your blazers, and a camisole is underwear only.)

c) If you’re still having problems, a variety of products exist — Amazon alone has many available if you look up “underarm guards.” 

Readers: if you wear washable blazers, have you found any that you would recommend?

Update: Note that we have an entire category for machine washable work clothes over at CorporetteMoms…

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Comments

  1. I have a black machine washable blazer from Target that I like. But it is a cotton-like material and more casual, I usually wear it more in place of throwing on a sweater.

  2. First Year Anon :

    I don’t sweat profusely, I just don’t like wasting time and energy going to the dry cleaner. I don’t even know if they actually get it clean! One nervous client meeting might mean it needs to be washed (haha). Would love to reader’s suggestions because I can never find any. Same with skirts! Desperately need some new work skirts.

    • Spirograph :

      How often do you feel like your blazers really need to be cleaned? Maybe I’m gross, but I only take my blazers to the cleaners if I spill something on them, if they start to smell bad in a way that a spritz of febreeze doesn’t fix, or if the sleeves have gotten really wrinkly and I’m too lazy to iron them. So maybe once every few months.

      I have a ponte blazer from Loft that is supposedly washable… but it shrunk and stretched in weird ways afterward, and I’m sorry I washed it.

      • Same. Unless I’ve spilled something on a blazer, been caught in a cigarette-smoke filled environment, or it otherwise smells funny, my blazers take a trip to the dry cleaners once a season.

        I also never wear sleeveless tops/dresses under my blazers because I don’t go sleeveless at work.

      • I never clean mine. I have enough to rotate, and I don’t wear a blazer every day, so I’m guess each blazer gets cleaned less than every six months. I would guess even once a year. I have some blazers I’ve never cleaned. I don’t spill often, and I sit in an air conditioned office (after driving my air conditioned car there), so they never need it.

      • Same. Unless I’ve spilled something on a blazer, been caught in a cigar***e-smoke filled environment, or it otherwise smells funny, my blazers take a trip to the dry cleaners once a season.

        I also never wear sleeveless tops/dresses under my blazers because I don’t go sleeveless at work.

      • First Year Anon :

        That’s about the rate I clean mine, I guess I”m just super lazy or cheap, because even once a season bothers me.

        Does anyone else get some odd satisfaction cleaning clothes at home? something about not having to pay like I’m somehow winning, plus I like doing laundry…maybe I’m just a big nerd?

      • Senior Attorney :

        Same here. I dry-clean them once a season or if they get dirty, and that’s it.

      • Don’t you find that the inside collar of a blazer starts to get grimy after a while just from touching the skin at your neck (and near your hair)? I’ve had this problem especially with light-colored blazers. I would imagine the only way around this is if you always wear a collared shirt, a scarf, or a turtleneck.

      • I haven’t been to the dry cleaner’s in months. I rotate my work clothing and hang it up on the back of my door for a few days to air out before sticking it back in the closet. Washable blazers tend to look too casual for business wear to me.

      • I throw mine in the wash every week after one or two wears … but these are washer/dryer friendly, so it’s not like it messes with the look.

  3. I have a few washable blazers I love, surprisingly, from H&M and Old Navy. They aren’t pieces to build a wardrobe around, but they were a great price and I will certainly get a few seasons out of them. They are definitely more on the casual side, but appropriate for my office. I still try not to wash them so they won’t lose their shape or pill, using a lot of the techniques Kat mentioned.

  4. Yeah, I’m just seriously seriously awful about going to the dry cleaner (and then get bitter at how much it costs! Where is my DC Dryclean Depot 1.99 pricing out in the PNW?). Luckily my work is generally business-casual, so I can make sure almost everything I own is machine-washable, or worn infrequently enough that it doesn’t matter if it sits a while before going to the dry cleaner.

    I’d worry, though, that if it weren’t a ponte/knit type jacket that washing it would make it need serious pressing in order to not be all out of shape.

    • I actually do wash all of my blazers. In the washing machine. And then toss them into the dryer. The sky hasn’t fallen yet.

      For wool ones that might shrink, I don’t use a cycle that agitates and I take them out of the dryer after 5 or 10 minutes to hang them up. Hit them with the steamer if needed, and they are good to go.

  5. I think you are coming at this wrong. I’d love to find a good, washable blazer, and it’s not because I’m sweating like a pig all the time. Even following all the “rules,” you still have to clean blazers eventually, and it would be nice to have a couple that were washable. I sometimes feel like dry cleaning doesn’t really get an item clean, or it can leave a weird smell, and it’s hard on clothes.

    I find it kind of weird to respond to a question for good washable blazer options with basically an entire post about how the reader isn’t doing blazers right.

    FWIW to Reader S, I’ve seen decent washable blazer options at Lands End, Eddie Bauer, Gap, Jones New York, etc.

    • I have a washable, unlined seersucker blazer from BR that is great for summer. I go over it a bit with a light iron but the nature of the fabric is such that it doesn’t need much more than a tug and air dry.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Agreed. And also some of us just sweat more than others. I send my jackets to the cleaners ever 3-4 wearings because they start to smell. I guess I’m just naturally gross?

  6. Killer Kitten Heels :

    Yeah, I think Kat’s “you’re doing it wrong” thing is a little off-base here.

    Washable blazers (and suits, yes, they exist and yes, I love them) are a THOUSAND times more convenient than dry-clean options. For me, I live in the suburbs but work in the city, which creates a hugely inconvenient dry cleaning situation. I can either (a) get dry cleaning done near work, which means lugging extra clothing around on the commuter rail; or (b) can only go to the dry cleaner on Saturdays, because it’s closed on Sunday and closed at 6pm the rest of the week. Either way, it’s extremely annoying and problematic during the 10pm-what-am-I-wearing-tomorrow-oh-no-I-could’ve-sworn-that-was-clean rush at night. Machine washable means I can simply stay awake an extra half hour and clean what I need; dry clean only leaves me with no good solutions.

    For actual recommendations, my favorite consistently-available washables are from Lands End, Jones NY, and Macy’s Charter Club line. Old Navy also has washable blazers on a hit-or-miss basis, as do H&M, Gap, and Target.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Also, maybe I just have fat arms, but t-shirts under blazers always make my shoulders look weird and bulky, so I never really use that option. I’d rather be comfortable while wearing my blazer than be uncomfortable for 90% of the time so that I can look “appropriate” the 10% of the time that it might be warm enough to remove my jacket.

      • I have the same issues with my arms so I only wear sleeveless shells under my suit jackets. I only have to wear a suit to court or a client meeting so I bring a cardigan with me to change into once I’m back at my desk.

    • Lady Tetra :

      Second this. I’ve had good luck with Lands End and Gap for washable work wear. Though for Lands End, I’d caution that on the Milano Rib blazer, the buttons keep coming off, so that’s something to watch out for.

    • I’ll have to check out these options…never knew Eddie Bauer or Jones NY had washable blazers. I did know that Macy’s has some but have never tried them on.

      I try to wear washable tops with sleeves so that I can take my blazer off at my desk or in a meeting if I get hot, which lessens the amount I need things cleaned. I always always hang up my blazer in the laundry room or open closet overnight after wearing before returning it to my closet – I find that this helps things air out and remain odorless. I don’t dryclean unless I spill something or the garment smells, but smells rarely happen. Oh, and in the summer when I commute by transit, I use Kat’s blazer packing advice (turn inside out) to carry the blazer without it becoming wrinkled or dirty or making me hot and sweaty during the commute. Works like a charm.

    • (Formerly) Clueless Summer :

      Totally feel you on the inconvenience factor! It’s either lug on the subway or wait a week til I can pick up drycleaning. Plus the cost. Plus that last minute factor. I have one washable suit and it is my last minute “you want me to go to court tomorrow?” or “business trip? tomorrow???” suit because it doesn’t matter, I can throw it in the wash overnight. Got it at Sears (Canada).Jessica brand. For $100 or so, it’s not the best most amazing suit in the world but it looks fine and it’s great for travelling.

      • This is true. FOOEY! Washing blazer’s can be dangerous b/c they shrink. Drycleaneing them is also IFFEY, and also expensive. DOUBEL FOOEY! Last month, I spilled a jar of mustard on my SUIT and it got on BOTH the blazer and the skirt. So I had my cleaneing lady bring it to the dry cleaner’s. They got the stain out of the blazer, but NOT the skirt. The skirt was black, so it is NOT the worst, but it look’s kind of funny, so I gave it to NY Care’s. So the other day, I saw this person wearing it. I am pretty sure it was my suit b/c who else would have a mustard stain on the skirt but not the blazer? YAY b/c at least someone is weareing it!

    • Meg Murry :

      Yes, and for those of us that work at jobs that don’t require wearing suits or much of anything that needs dry cleaning, I hesitate to buy things I want to wear in regular rotation that require dry cleaning since taking things there (and remembering to pick them up) is not part of my routine. I also spill on myself way more than I care to admit, so if I can’t wash it myself that night I probably shouldn’t own it.
      I’ve seen options specifically advertised as washable at Jones New York and Express, both as blazers and as parts of suits. May not be the best option for an interview or court suit, but probably good for a step up from business casual piece.

    • I agree with all this and with RR’s post. I also want machine washable because, with small kids, there’s always a chance that my blazer will get something on it and I’d prefer to be able to machine wash it to get it clean. And in Texas from mid-April through potentially October, any time spent in a blazer outdoors means that I will be sweaty. And the courts are hot here.

      I’ve found some machine washable blazers and sweater blazers at Old Navy. I’m going to check out the Lands End and Eddie Bauer options now.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I have an expensive but super convenient dry cleaning situation: There’s a service where I can put my dirty things in a locker in the parking garage in my apartment building, then go online and tell them it’s there. They pick it up, do the cleaning, deliver it back to the locker in a few days, and charge my credit card. Badda-bing, badda-boom, done and done. Totally worth the extra money to not have to make an extra, non-routine stop. They even do minor alterations and shoe repairs.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        And that would be awesome if (a) I lived in a big apartment building; and (b) that service existed where I live. But I don’t and it doesn’t, so here I am with my (apparently) hideous washable blazers.

        • Whoa. Defensive much? No one said “hideous,” dear. You’re projecting.

          • Killer Kitten Heels :

            Preeeettty sure Kat’s entire post was basically “OMG what kind of sweat-stained monster could possibly require such clothing?” I know we’re supposed to be Team Kat ’round these parts, but I’m allowed to find her tone obnoxious.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Sorry. Just making conversation.

          I agree that this Kat’s post missed the mark, and apparently my attempt to share did, too.

          • Agree Kat’s post missed the mark this time. As a working mother of a toddler, my blazers get messed up nearly daily and require cleaning. It’s time consuming and expensive. I don’t think Kat has worked in an office since having kids so may not realize that it is really, really hard to keep them clean when you are doing day care drops and pickups. I try to keep them off, but life is life and when you are on the run the kid can come at you with snot/milk/crayons in a nanosecond. I had to go to Target to buy a shirt the other morning while late for a meeting because kid slimed me so badly the shirt I had on was unwearable. I got an odd slightly sheer blouse with light grey whales on it and a camisole.. .they have really cool new tunic camisoles fyi.

            Anyway I don’t mean any offense, just awareness that anyone with children wearing office clothes almost certainly has a strong interest in the concept of washable blazers, at least in theory. I don’t have any, but reading the comments with great interest. Kat’s post didn’t contain any suggestions on them, just dismissiveness, odd.
            Also I think they look nice (casual blazers) for events like weekend stuff, conferences, networking etc where you don’t need formal business wear but want to look put together/structured.

          • LOL it was hot air balloons not whales, and the site describes it as ‘sour cream’ color. I rather like the fit and how washable it is, and the balloons aren’t obviously silly from a distance. Sharing for fun and fyi.

            http://www.target.com/p/merona-women-s-favorite-blouse-assorted-prints/-/A-15040068#prodSlot=large_1_9

          • Baconpancakes :

            Ruby, I see you’re on here a day late too – what is the fabric like on your new favorite blouse? Because I kind of love the huge poppy pattern they have online.

          • The fabric is nothing special. Which is good and bad. Synthetic, but doesn’t feel itchy or plasticky. I kind of like it because then i can throw it in the wash no worries unlike more precious fabrics.

            another thought on why the sweating is not the issue or can be unavoidable— some of us do not want to use dry cleaning chemicals whenever we can avoid it. also some places are super hot. i’m headed to singapore for work tomorrow and do not expect that anything i wear will be not-sweaty by week’s end, nor will anything get mulitple wears. it is just insanely hot, even if you are in the hotel all day if you step outside for a minute the body gets hot esp as not used to the humidity.

    • anon-oh-no :

      interesting. I find it so much more convenient to take things to the dry cleaners. If its in my delicate pile, it just sits there forever. But I hate doing laundry and avoid it at all costs.

      • This. I love the cleaners – it’s so easy and you can just come home and hang it in your closet! And many of them (at least in larger cities) will pick up/deliver your cleaning so it’s really not that much of a hassle.

        I also don’t like to wear suit jackets on my commute most of the time (too hot in the summer and too bulky in the winter) so I have a few of my suit jackets and blazers permanently at work and use a cleaner near by for those. Keeping them at work means that I rarely need to clean them since I am not commuting in them and getting all sweaty outside, so I do it at most 2-3 times a year.

      • Ditto.

    • Erin The Banker :

      I have lots of “washable” blazers…. the tag says Dry Clean Only, but I read the materials tag and run the cycle on delicate and hang to dry. Everything was fine. I love the fresh smell and feeling of clean clothes. And, it’s not about sweating (although that does happen), it’s more about remaining professional and warm (the AC in my office has a mind of it’s own).

      I have a horrible flash back to a woman in my office who never, ever washed / dry cleaned her blazers or cardigans, and the, um, scent, was over powering. And that is my cautionary tale.

      • Erin The Banker :

        Yikes, I got so busy talking, I forgot what I wanted to say!
        I like Rickis for Blazers and other office wear. http://www.rickis.com
        I have no idea if they do international shipping (never looked), but it would be a shame if they didn’t.
        The quality is pretty high, and I love my navy blazer I got from there. The price point is good, and there are always sales.

        I hope this helps.

  7. Medic Maggie :

    You would be surprised at the washability of some blazers (and other stuff, to be honest)…I found an older (I have NO idea what vintage) brown velveteen blazer at a thrift store once. I, for one, unless it says “dry clean only” will wash every.single.item.of.clothing before I wear it for real. Regardless of where I get it or how it’s packaged. Just something I’ve done my entire life.

    So, I found this blazer. I washed it with the rest of my darks, tossed it in the dryer, and hoped for the best. I figured, at $4, I wasn’t too worried about losing my money, but washing was necessary. It came out great. Ironing it was a pain, just because blazers/jackets are a pain to iron anyway, but once I got it ironed, it worked beautifully.

    Honestly, because of the price I’m paying for most of my clothes right now, I am pretty much washing only. I haven’t bought an “investment” piece enough to warrant the dry-clean only motto. I just don’t have money in the budget for any dry cleaning, really.

    I’ve been washing wool blend pants, skirts, sweaters, etc. with no ill effect. The biggest problem you may run into if you wash wool blends that are lined, is that the lining won’t shrink at the same rate as the wool. You can alleviate this by removing from the washer during the spin cycle and stretching the fabric back out. I did run into this problem with a “washable” suede skirt. The skirt washed great, but the lining didn’t shrink. So, I hemmed the lining with the sewing machine, and no one else ever knew.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I like to call the “wash everything and see what happens” approach “Laundry Darwinism.”

    • Heck – I’ll wash “dry clean only” sometimes too. Looking at you, Jcrew, telling me I have to dry clean a cotton/spandex mix.

      Have also machine washed an old BR wool suit – biggest issue was getting the jacket pressed properly, but it was totally doable.

      • Coldwater creek is notorious for “dry clean only” cotton t-shirts/shirts/whatever. Are you kidding?

      • Spirograph :

        I accidentally washed – and dried! – a BR wool skirt a few months ago (do not do laundrywhile jet-lagged immediately following a trip to the other side of the world).

        I certainly don’t recommend the drying part, but aside from being a smidge smaller, it is just fine.

      • Warmer days :

        I just played laundry roulette with great results! I had a couple blazers that the after coming back from the dry cleaner, still had an odour in the underarm. I soaked them in a bucket of warm water with a tsp of oxi clean over night then washed in the delicate cycle. After the, I hung them to dry and they came out fresh! Did this process for each blazer individually. It helped to google the fabric blend to see whether they were really dry clean only – turns out they were washable (albeit delicate). Food for thought. Now trying to figure out what to do with a wool theory blazer (don’t want to roll the dice on that one!)

  8. I have two ponte blazers from Target that I like as casual options. I’ve only washed one of them once, but it came out of the dryer looking just as good as when I put it in there. For the price they’re worth it.

    • I bought a ponte blazer too from Target a few months ago and love it just for this reason. It’s not something I’d wear on days where I have to dress “nicer” but it’s great to throw it in the machine and I feel like it almost resets itself and is just as good as it was when I first bought it. I’ve thrown it in the wash maybe 3 times now. And totally agree that it’s worth it for the price.

  9. Lily student :

    I’m in the UK and found a nice looking suit from M+S which happens to be machine washable – this will be more usefulf or the trousers, I imagine, but still a useful feature. It’s the Notch Label Double Welt suit in navy if anyone’s interested.

  10. IDoNotLiketheConeofShame :

    For cooler times of the year (or even in my overly airconditioned office now), I am a big fan of sweater or knit blazers (sort of like wearing a cardigan, but with details like a lapel and pocket flaps). The key for me is to find ones that are nipped in a bit at the waist, otherwise they can look boxy-Chico’s-ish.

    Nordstroms has a bunch like:
    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/caslon-cotton-knit-jacket-regular-petite/3594130

    http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/shopsale-clothing/29252319.jsp#/

    I bought a few from Banana Republic two years ago and they are holding up well. Airdying leaves the lapels and pocket flaps a little wonky, so I finish it off with a little ironing (and I never iron)

  11. I’ve been able to get some decent machine washable blazers from H&M in the past, but they’re becoming increasingly rare. I normally check the care tag before buying, but soon I might stop and just accept that they’re all “dry clean only” at this point.

    The only problem with machine washing, at least when it comes to clothing from H&M, is that sooner or later things start pilling.

  12. I agree with RR and Killer Kitten Heels. Actual recommendations would have been more helpful to the OP (and me) instead of a sweat-shaming rant.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      But we’re just sweaty beasts who don’t know how to wear blazers, so why should Kat round up machine washable blazers (or, hey, if she doesn’t want to do that, just ignore the question entirely) when she can post the question and scold us instead?

      • Meg Murry :

        I think this is a bit harsh, but I also agree that this seems like the kind of question to just not answer if you don’t have a good answer, or to just completely throw out to the readers. A $300 blazer in response to a request to save dry cleaning costs seems to have missed the point. Or maybe a better point might have been “readers, how do you avoid dry cleaning costs besides buying washable blazers”?

      • I don’t think Kat was trying to shame anyone and was addressing the question “How can you keep your non-washable blazers fresh and clean?” Her advice appropriately answered that question.

        • Killer Kitten Heels :

          Yes, but she framed it as “no one should ever get so sweaty as to need washable blazers, so I will not even bother responding to your question.” If she wanted to answer a question about keeping non-washable blazers fresh and clean, she could’ve done that – instead, she used someone’s (completely legitimate, un-ridiculous) question as a frame to talk about how no one should possibly sweat so much as to need a particular type of clothing (and, P.S., OP’s question NOWHERE mentioned sweat, OP just doesn’t want to pay for a dry cleaner, which has nothing to do with personal hygiene at all).

      • Anonymous :

        dude. chill.

        • Killer Kitten Heels :

          Kat’s tone was obnoxious. But apparently finding someone’s tone obnoxious and reacting to it isn’t chill enough for the Anonymous Army. Whoopsies, sorry about that. I’ll make sure to couch my criticisms with bunny hugs and rainbows in the future, so it’ll be more palatable for you.

          • Seriously, calm down.

          • Killer Kitten Heels :

            I’m completely calm, actually. “Finding something offensive and expressing that opinion” and “being calm” are not mutually exclusive things. It’s not an issue of calm vs. not calm, not even a little bit. It’s an issue of you all not liking *how* I’m expressing my opinion, so you’re basically accusing me of being “not calm” and “not chill” as a way of shutting me down.

          • I cannot believe how upset you are about this post. KKH, I wonder if people are reacting so strongly because you usually seem so mild-mannered, and for some reason you’re taking this post about blazers, of all things, incredibly (and IMO, unnecessarily) personally.

          • You can find anything you want obnoxious. Point it out, that’s cool.
            But you have to try really, really hard to be PERSONALLY insulted that Kat gave alternatives to washable blazers rather than answering the question. No one said anything about YOU. No one thinks you smell bad! She might have missed the mark but she didn’t say that you’re too sweaty or that your many machine-washable blazers are “hideous.”

    • +1.

      Besides, maybe sweating isn’t the issue. Certain dry cleaning chemicals make me break out in hives. When I was things myself, I don’t have to risk it. A washable blazer is a nice finisher piece, especially in more casual offices.

      Check out Macy’s. A lot of times their house brand (Inc., I think is what it’s called) has some pieces that are washable (or I’ve made them so) and turn out just fine.

    • I’ve found a few ponte blazers at Nordstrom Rack. I work in a very casual side of business casual (see, company polos, flannel shirts, sandals with socks, etc), so the ponte blazers are dressy for the office. The brand is Olivia Moon, and I just toss them in the washer and dryer, and let them hang a little afterwards to get the wrinkles out.

    • Charlotte York :

      +1

      Unless the question was edited to redact a question about sweating in your blazer, the response was wholly unhelpful.

      Actual recommendations would have required effort. Sweat shaming is the path of least resistance.

  13. Anon for awkwardness :

    With respect to avoiding the need for frequent dry cleaning, let me just make a pitch right now for going to your doctor if the degree to which you sweat interferes with your daily life. When I realized I had to launder or dry clean EVERYTHING after one wash, and that I was sweating regardless of temperature, my state of mind, and my use of Certain Dri, I mentioned it to my doctor. I have prescription anti-perspirant now, and it has been life-changing.

    Seriously, I used to be That Girl Who Sweats, and now I’m not, and it makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER and has dramatically lowered my need for dry cleaning as well as expanding the universe of colors/fabrics I can wear. It’s not always about where you are, the air conditioning, etc. – it can actually be a medical issue (which can be related to some serious underlying problems, so it’s also worth checking with the doc to rule those out).

  14. I too, find Kat’s response very odd, particularly since the OP did not even say she has issues with sweating. There are lots of other reasons machine washable clothes are way more convenient. I wear sunscreen daily (not just moisturizer with SPF, real sunscreen) and I sometimes get stains on my jackets and have to dry clean them every 3-5 wears. That said, I’m skeptical of machine washable blazers because I fear they’d lose their shape. I have one from H and M that says its machine washable, but I never have (it’s held up really beautifully for 3+ years and regular dry cleaning and is probably my most worn item of clothing).

  15. I had a machine washable suit from the junior’s section of JCP – it wasn’t formal enough for interviews, but it was super comfortable and great for meetings. I finally got rid of it after three years and probably about 100 wears and a dozen washings (I always wore it with tights/hose and a shirt with sleeves) because the skirt fabric was wearing thin and the lapels started to sit funny, but I really ought to replace it. This http://www.jcpenney.com/month-long-values/byby-millennium-jacket/prod.jump?ppId=pp5003570089&catId=cat100240013&deptId=dept20023450025&&colorizedImg=DP1205201317073162M.tif looks pretty close to the one I had, except it was black.

    My current office is fairly casual (most of the women and many of the men favor cardigans over blazers) and I love the Fine and Sandy blazers from modcloth for ordinary work days as the cut is super flattering on me, they come in lots of colors, and I can wash them by hand (which to me really means on the “handwash” cycle of my washing machine) whenever I need to without damaging them. They are probably more casual than what Reader S is looking for, though.

  16. I had one blazer from talbots that was washable but needed to be professionally pressed after! So what good was that? The only good thing is that it was white so washing kept it whiter than dry cleaning would have. But I always wear a long or short sleeved shirt under my jackets, ( so I can always take the jkt. off) and I get my jackets cleaned once a season at the most!

    • I hear you — if it can’t me machine dried, it is almost useless if it is washable. If it will dry flat with minimal ironing, that’s one thing. But jackets usually have so many darts and shoulder padding and whatnot that if you press it here, it creases there and is just not worth it.

      Washable jacket to me = cashmere cardigan.

    • I have a white blazer that turned yellowish after dry-cleaning – I didn’t know this was a thing! Is there a way to get it back to white?

      • Senior Attorney :

        That happened to me once and I figured since it was ruined anyway I might as well try tossing it in the washing maching with hot water and bleach. Brightened it right up good as new. Who knew?

  17. Mrs. Jones :

    I’ve had a washable Land’s End blazer for years that still looks good.

  18. Moon Moon :

    On the topic of blazers, does anyone have a recommendation for brands of blazers/suits for women with wide shoulders? I find that most blazers are cut to a much smaller shoulder than I have — I sort of have linebacker/swimmer shoulders. I know I can size up, but sometimes that is a problem for tailoring because I’m actually quite lean. My shoulders are significantly wider than my hips, and tailoring it down that much is difficult and price. Do any wide-shouldered ladies out there have recommendations?

  19. Shopaholic :

    Honestly, I think you can get some blazers that are machine-washable (I’m thinking ponte) but in my mind, those are more casual blazers (maybe casual Friday). Most blazers that you want to wear to look professional should be drycleaned because the material is such you don’t want to play laundry roul*tte (love this btw) with your nice clothes.

    • Thank you for saying this. I really don’t get all the outrage – Kat could have probably made her point better but are we really going to make sweat shaming a thing now? Not every opinion = shame on you.

      As to the actual question – I have exactly one blazer that is machine washable and doesn’t look super casual. It’s from the BR outlet. The only problem with washing it is that it looks like a wrinkled mess and you have to take it to the dry cleaners anyway to get pressed. I tried steaming it myself and didn’t get far, but maybe others would have had more success. If your issue with the cleaners is the chemicals, I suppose that sort of blazer would be one solution, but if your issue is that you don’t like to spend money on cleaners/can’t get there easily, that hardly helps.

      I think the problem with washing blazers in the machine is that they are inherently structured garments and that structure could easily be ruined by a tumble in even the most gentle cycle. But I agree that you don’t necessarily need to clean them that often. What I would add to Kat’s advice though is this — 1. If you can, leave your suit jackets in your office (at least some times). Less commuting in jacket = less wear on jacket
      2. If they start to get musty, you can clean most armpits of jackets with soap and water – I did this with an old theory wool blazer that dry cleaning couldn’t fix and it worked like a charm. Now I do it every few wears just to prevent any potential problems from setting in. Because you do from inside, it doesn’t ruin the fabric and the blazer keeps its shape.

  20. Splatterpaint :

    The choice between trekking to the dry cleaner’s and washing is a false dichotomy since this exists:
    http://www.dryel.com/

    • Small Town Attorney :

      I love that stuff, but I’ve actually found that it works more to extend the time between dry cleaner trips than to replace them entirely. I definitely clean my blazers more than once a season. Maybe I don’t have as many as other people? Or maybe I don’t treat them as well; as often as not when I take a blazer to the cleaners it’s because it has gotten more wrinkled than my basic ironing skills can handle or is getting grimy around the cuffs.

    • oil in houston :

      yep, that’s what I swear by, especially when items just need freshing up

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