For years I’d been hearing and reading about the power of steamers, but I never quite believed what I heard. “What’s wrong with an iron?” was my usual response.
Then we moved my office into what had been the master bedroom of our place – a room with its own little bathroom. I figured since I had the space, I might as well give steamers a try.
All my research indicated that when it comes to steamers, Jiffy is king. It’s the only brand I’ve ever seen people in the know – like costumers and vintage clothing dealers – use. I read on the style fora that other steamers might get a B-, but the Jiffy was an A.
Luckily, I live in LA, the world capital of showbiz, so there are decommissioned stylist and costumer steamers freely available on Craigslist. I drove out to Mid-City Los Angeles, plunked down eighty bucks cash to a man whose wife was leaving the business, and drove home with a Jiffy J-2000. Jiffy makes a few sizes – there’s a travel version, a commercial version (the J-4000) and this one, which is for residential use.
This thing was absolutely worth the hype. I just bought a lot of 15 or 20 ties on eBay that came in one huge ball, inside a Five Guys burger box. I thought they were ruined – dry cleaning or pressing ties flattens and destroys them. Then I remembered my steamer. Ten minutes later, they were as smooth as the day I bought them.
It’s also helped me avoid the dry cleaner with other clothes. I’ve got some cotton dry-clean-only trousers that I’d much rather clean once every two or three wearings that steam beautifully in between cleanings. My wool jackets and trousers I’d prefer to subject to dry cleaning no more than once a year – now a quick brushing and steaming and they’re good as new. I even used it to help re-size a hat.
The J-2000 is big and industrial-looking. If you haven’t got a broom closet to keep it in, you might want to consider the hand-held travel version. Either way, a steamer is a remarkably useful tool, and Jiffy is the way to go.