I know you’re all thinking, “steaming is just like ironing, right?”
Well actually, the two have different effects on fabric so let’s go into it for a moment.
Steamer: a steamer is like a wand with a cloud coming out of it. You have to refill them with water pretty often and they are commonly used in retail when unpacking a shipment or on the set of a shoot to take out wrinkles.
Iron: this usually has adjustable heat settings for different fabrics, and optional steam. The iron can be applied alone or with spray sizing or starch and needs a flat cushioned surface like an ironing board.
If you’re working with most wool blends or cotton, pressing with an iron is the way to go. These materials have a tendency to crease, and look best when slightly crisp, so you will find the best results when they are pressed with an iron. The flatness when applied with heat will help to make the garment keep its intended shape.
Slinky or lightweight fabrics like silk charmeuse or silk chiffon are great when steamed. It is usually best to hang up the garment, place the steamer inside, and apply the steam rising upwards through the fabric moving downwards on the grain if possible. This technique also helps to refresh worn out old vintage clothes, although the smell wafting towards the face is bothersome. It is much nicer to steam new clothes no one else has worn.
Now you know how to keep up your wardrobe. You can even iron your sheets. Appearing in public wearing anything which doesn’t require care, like jeans or a polo shirt, is sloppy and ill-advised.