Men’s Shirts vs. Women’s Blouses: Is there a gender gap?

Any women who has ever walked into a dry cleaner with blouses and saw an advertised shirt special for $1.93 and reads over $7.00 each on her receipt, has with no doubt thought, “I’m getting ripped off.”

Even though all women’s and men’s pricing at our Cleaners are the exact same with the exception of a blouse or hand finished shirt, it’s time to put this long standing question to rest- “Why do women pay more than men?”

There are many variables that go into why a blouse or even some men’s shirts cost more than a regular business shirt. Here are just a few examples:

Size: Most, not all women’s blouses are smaller than a men’s business shirt therefore they don’t fit on the sleeve or body of a standard shirt unit.

Cut or taper of a blouse: Many blouses have custom fits that run slender around the waist, sleeves or shoulders and are sized to conform in the chest area. Most of these blouses would not fit properly on a shirt unit and if they did they would be poorly pressed or damaged.

Material: Many blouses are a mix of polyester, spandex, or silk. Sometimes this material can’t take the extreme heat that a shirt unit generates (around 240 degrees) and will cause the material to have a permanent shine or even melt, causing complete damage to the garment.

Buttons: Many blouses have custom buttons that are hard to find or can’t be replaced. A shirt unit generates enough heat and pressure to break even the strongest buttons. Blouse buttons are generally thin and delicate and would immediately be destroyed upon contact with the press. A great example of a men’s shirt that must be hand finished is a Western shirt because of the pearl and snap down buttons.

Labor cost: For all of the above mentioned variables plus many more we must “hand finish” these blouses and shirts. On our shirt unit we do between 90/95 shirts an hour. A quality hand finished blouse or shirt processed by a team member with 30 plus years of experience can only produce 20/30 per hour. Almost triple the time will almost triple the labor cost.

We would rather clean blouses at normal shirt prices around $2.00 if they could be done on our shirt unit, than around $7.00 hand finished!

Our labor costs are much lower processing items on a shirt unit then hand finishing a garment like a blouse or shirt. If a blouse can be done safely on our shirt unit we will definitely charge at our regular shirt price.

I hope you feel this long overdue explanation and video of the old “Shirt vs. Blouse” battle is somewhat helpful. You are always more than welcome to come in and see our operation with your own eyes at any time!