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Mission Prep: How to Look Sharp
The Missionary Handbook reads, "Your appearance is often the first message others receive, and it should support what you say." This means looking professional and staying maintained are critical parts of finding people to teach as a missionary. Neither sloppy nor trendy will do, and this guide is for young men preparing to serve, but don't know how to create a missionary wardrobe, or do not know how to maintain one. Keep in mind this article discusses the pros and cons of a few expensive articles of clothing. This is to help you determine how much you want to invest in mission clothing. Some things, like water resistant shirts, are nice, but are not even close to essential. It is a very good idea to keep extra money once you arrive in your mission in case some of your clothing gets prematurely damaged, or gets too small (or big if you lose weight).
- 1 Trendy or Timeless?
- 2 Picking Dress Shirts
- 3 Ties
- 4 Picking A Suit
- 5 Dress Slacks
- 6 Shoes
- 7 Rain gear
- 8 Other Tips
- 9 Endnotes
Trendy or Timeless?
Many youth feel that presenting a good image means being trendy. Some carry this over to missionary dress. Unfortunately for them, only a select group of people enjoy trends and the rest of us think trendy is ridiculous. But the opposite to trendy isn't old fashioned, it's called timeless. Some styles are here to stay, or at least will be around way longer than when you come home from a mission. The basic rule is, if what you are wearing draws attention to itself, it takes away from you as a professional and your message. This is trendy. The third alternative is old fashioned. In other words, trendy of the past. This too should be avoided.
Avoid mission specific trends. Wearing a suit and white shirt every day is boring for most people. Therefore, missionaries may try to invent subtle trends within the mission and promote them as cool (following trends is bad, inventing them is worse). Large belt buckles, wearing ties too high on the chest, and rings are examples of how missionary trends can get out of hand. If the popular thing to do isn't conservative, and you can't find it in the normal business world, (where suits are worn most) then its a bad idea.
Picking Dress Shirts
White dress shirts are the the only kind you can work in. Your missionary call packet will tell you how many short-sleeved and long-sleeved to buy. If everything works out right you may never have to buy a new suit, belt, or pair of shoes on your mission, but dress shirts tend not to be quite as tough. Buying a little extra than what your call packet suggests is a good idea, but you may want to wait until you have gotten a little ways into your mission before you buy surplus. Many missionaries gain weight, lose weight, and some still grow broader and taller. It's your call, but don't buy less than what your call packet suggests.
Dress shirts nowadays have several features depending on how expensive you want to go. Here are a few you should consider before purchasing.
Choosing what fabrics your dress shirts are made out of is very important, depending on the climate of where you serve. Not many shirts are purely one type of fabric and often have a cotton or polyester blend in them.
Wool is a great fabric for colder climates. The more wool, the warmer. Be mindful however. If you go to a place that is cold 80% of the year you will be miserable the other 20% if you have only thick wool dress shirts.
Cotton is soft (especially if its has a higher than 150 thread count which may be advertised on the shirt) and is great in any environment. Blending polyester with cotton makes it tougher.
Linen is great for warmer environment but wrinkles very easily.
Silk feels nice but is appropriate for dance parties, not missionary work.
Pay attention to how long the back of the shirt is. If it only slightly fits into your pants, it will always come up and you will always have to tuck it in again. This will get aggravating really soon.
Some shirts advertise themselves as wrinkle free. This is essentially true. If you pull the shirt out of the dryer and immediately hang it up, it won't wrinkle. If it does wrinkle, getting out the wrinkles are much easier than with standard shirts. Ironing a shirt gives it a slightly nicer pressed look. Giving your shirt this look takes less time with wrinkle free material. It's mainly for convenience and not much else.
Some shirts also advertise themselves as stain resistant. While they aren't stain proof, liquid sits on top of the shirt for a while before sinking in. To get it off always blot with a cloth and never rub it into the fabric.
There are three basic types of collars. Wide, normal, and narrow. This refers to the place where your collar breaks to make room for where your tie knot goes. Shirts may or may not be labeled with their collar type; you may just have to pay attention. All three are fine (so long as they aren't extreme), but if you have a thick neck, you will generally be happier with a wider spread and visa versa. This isn't a big deal like, say, buying a suit that fits, but is worth paying attention to for the sake of detail. If you have no preference, choose normal. It's the most common and looks fine on everyone.
When your collar is pulled down, the two points in front are held down by one of two ways. Either you button them to your shirt, or there are plastic inserts which keep them firm and straight. Both designs are fine to wear. In many shirts, plastic inserts can be pulled out from the back of the collar or pushed in. When you wash your shirt, pull them all out or eventually one will get lost in the washing machine and your collar will curl unattractively. You will want to buy a few extra from whatever company you buy your shirts from. Some shirts with the plastic inserts enclose them in the fabric so you can't pull them out, which many people enjoy for convenience.
What to avoid
The cuff: Do not buy shirts with a french cuff, meaning the part you button near your wrists shoots out instead of folds on itself like in most standard dress shirts. These are appropriate for dance parties, not missionary work.
Tints: Do not buy shirts that are off white, or are slightly tinted one color. Your shirt doesn't have to be dazzling white, but tints are a sign that you are trying too hard to be different. People can detect tinted shirts better than you may think.
Textured Shirts: Textured shirts have a mixture of fabric which causes bumps, patterns, or lines in the shirt which are still white but are noticeable. Like other trendy clothing, a lot of people think they are cool, but there is enough people who find them ridiculous that a missionary trying to look professional should never wear them.
Other Shirt Features: Some dress shirts have a two pockets on the chest instead of the traditional one on the left (your left when you are wearing it). This is trendy. Also some shirts have buttons on the sleeves where you can roll up your sleeves and fit a flap through the button to keep them raised. This too is trendy.
How to tuck it in to avoid the poof-out
To accommodate for the people of all types, American style dress shirts have a tendency to poof-out around the waist line. There are three ways to fix this: 1.) tuck your shirt in constantly, 2.) buy expensive fitted or tapered shirts, or 3.) do the following steps when putting on your shirt every morning and perhaps a few times throughout the day.
- Button up your shirt
- Stand straight
- Have your pants fitting loose around you sagging below your hips
- Tuck your dress shirt into your pants making sure to tug at it from the bottom at all sides so it doesn't bunch up at all
- Tug at the sides of your shirt around your stomach and somewhere near your sides in the back fold them slightly over the shirt facing towards the front. This is called a pleat.
- Make sure the pleat goes down your shirt into your pants (it doesn't have to be perfect)
- Pull your pants up carefully keeping them tight in the back so the pleat doesn't unfold on either side
- Finish putting on your pants and belt
- Adjust the pleats so they are roughly symmetrical, still behind you (don't put them at the very back together nor at your sides), and make sure that the pleat continues to the bottom of your shirt inside your pants
You may still have to tuck in your shirt occasionally, but not nearly as often if as you will if you don't do this.
It seems strange that wearing a piece of cloth creatively around a man's neck would ever catch on, but ties are a big deal to looking professional. The Missionary Handbook gives these basic guidelines on ties: "Always wear a white shirt with a tie that is conservative in color, pattern, width, and length." If you want to step up and look sharp in a tie, you are going to have to pay attention to at least those rules and some additional ones.
Despite the variety of ways people tie them, there is an appropriate length to have for a tie. While standing in whatever position you would stand most of the time, practice tying your tie until the big end reaches your belt buckle. Retie it if it sits above your buckle or hangs below. It may not feel comfortable at first, but this is the professional standard length and will keep your tie from drawing attention away from you and your message.
Some missionaries figure that they only need three or four conservative ties to last them their entire mission. While this is true, missionaries who do this get quickly frustrated waking up every morning and having such a limited selection. You don't have to have a tie for every day of the month, but having eight to twelve will be enough to keep you from going out of your mind. Missionaries with dozens of ties generally wear a select few favorites or run the risk of wearing a sloppy tie now and again.
Bad tie ideas
Just because someone made a tie doesn't mean it should be worn. Designers create ties that go with specific dress shirt patterns that aren't complimentary to even white dress shirts. Designers also add trendy to ties which clashes if the rest of your outfit isn't also trendy in the same way.
Here are a few don'ts when choosing ties:
- Avoid yellow and pink. Some ties have threads of either color or use subtle tinting in them which can look tasteful, but your mission may have policies even against that.
- Ties with pictures of anything are distracting.
- Conservative in the extreme are skinny ties (you'll know it when you see it). They are just as distracting as their opposite.
- Half Windsor
- Four in hand
While there are many knots for a tie, the general consensus is that these are the best. The Windsor looks most professional, but the four in hand is also classy and won't leave a big knot on your neck. There are a lot of opinions about using these knots depending on size, weight, face shape, collar type, and neck length, but the most important point to remember is to make sure whatever knot you tie looks good as per the "A few other tips" section below.
There are many instructional videos on the internet to show you how to tie each one of these knots.
Silk and polyester compared
The two most common types of tie fabrics are silk and polyester. Silk ties usually feel nicer, but it is harder to get stains out of them. Depending on quality, they start fraying after some wear and tear. Also cheaper ones may bleed onto dress shirts in hot and humid climates. While not as fancy, polyester ties are generally better for the rigorous activities of missionaries.
A few other tips
Any knot can look bad if the following are not avoided:
- The one of the two ends bunches up inside the knot
- The front part of the knot, which we'll call the shield, doesn't cover where all the tying has gone on behind it
- The shield extends too high over the knot creating an extended flap
- The knot is pinched asymmetrically
- The tie is crooked
- The small end of the tie comes out of the knot at an angle, leaving it visible when standing upright
- The big end of the tie comes out twisted from the knot which may 1.) shows the backside of it when standing upright, and 2.) exposes the small end behind it
- Part of the tie below the knot folds forward so instead of being rounded to the back, one side (or both) stick out in front
All of these are distracting.
Taking a moment to tie a tie carefully easily avoids all of these problems. Either create a "dimple" - where the big end just below the knot is slightly depressed - in the tie by pushing lightly on the big end just below the knot while tightening, or make sure both sides on the big end just below the knot curve slightly behind it while tightening the knot to make sure the big end doesn't extend down from an angle.
Obviously you wouldn't want to tighten the knot too closely around your neck, and don't make it loose enough that you can see the top button of your collar. Also, be careful not to make the knot too tight on itself. This will speed up the rate your tie wears down.
Ties won't be the fastest thing you wear to wrinkle, but getting wrinkles out of them is hard and time consuming. To do this, put your iron on the silk setting or lay a smooth, untextured, cloth in between the tie and the iron. Be very careful not to let the fabric burn. After doing this once, you will never crumple your tie again.
Picking A Suit
Get two suits unless you serve in a hot or humid climate where you will rarely wear a suit. Many missionaries only get one suit and buy their second sometime around or after their year mark. This is fairly wise since many missionaries gain weight, lose weight, grow broader or taller. Below is a list of things to look for when selecting a suit. Chances are, you may not find a suit off the rack that does all of these perfectly; there are no guarantees even with an expensive brand. Some of these measurements can be tailored for a reasonable price (ask them at the store), especially if the jacket is a little too loose at the front. Still, they will only do so much, so don't buy it if it the adjustment is too big. An asterisk next to the items below are the critical parts of buying a suit. Focus on them first. Always try on the suit after it has been altered.
- Look at the lapel, that is, the fabric on either side of your chest which folds back onto the suit in a slant and connects through the collar. The lapel shouldn't be distractingly broad. Fortunately, this isn't a big deal in most business suits.
- If you are thinner, you will look better in shoulder pads so long as they don't go past the length of your shoulders, in which case they will eventually begin to sag.
- When you put on the jacket and button it up, tug gently on the front to see how much space there is between the jacked and your stomach. If it is more than a fist, it is too big. You may end up doing some growing out on your mission, so making the gap a little bigger than this is probably safe, but too much and you will lose a professional image.*
- If you can't raise your hand above your head while the jacket is buttoned without tearing fabric, its too small.*
- Feel the fabric on your sides just below the shoulders. If it is loose and can be pushed in, the suit sticks out too far beyond your shoulders. You shouldn't, however, feel like the jacket hugs you. By the time you are mission ready, you may not grow that much out at the shoulders, and can probably be a little stricter on this than other rules of fit.*
- The jacket sleeves should extend to the hinge of your wrists. You can see the hinge by twisting your hand around. Where the bend is, there is the hinge.*
- While standing straight, if you can cup the bottom of the jacket on your sides without lifting the fabric up or your hands, then it is the appropriate length.*
- Make sure there is one or two vents in the back. A vent is where there is a slit in the fabric at the bottom of the suit. Vents are not essential, but they maneuvering in the suit more comfortable and are not as trendy.
Suits also have two, three, four buttons or is double breasted (where you pull one side far across the other to button it). Traditionally 2 buttons is the best, four is trendy and should be avoided, and double breasted is old fashioned. Stick with two or three buttons. When you button your suit always leave the bottom button undone. It is there for decoration, not for buttoning. Whether to have the top button on a three button suit buttoned is your choice. Some do, some don't , most do it when they feel like. It's your choice. The middle button should remain fastened. Don't put anything in the side pockets.
It is smart to invest in a nice pair of shoes. It is not necessarily smart to buy an expensive suit, especially if you are in a mission where you will wear it often (usually temperate and cooler climates). Cheap suits break down fast, but an expensive suit causes a lot of heartbreak to the missionary who accidentally tears it.
What to look for
"Suits should be of a tradition business style in dark, conservative colors." The old well known fashion rule is when in doubt, go with black. It will never fail. Navy is the next most common suit color. Subtle pinstripes can look nice on a suit, but be careful not to overdo it. The desire to stand out among one's peers is perfectly natural, but there are in fact bad reasons to stand out and stronger suit patterns and colors is one of them.
Wool suits are the most tradition, are very durable, but are heavy.
Camel hair is even thicker and great for cold environments.
Cotton is lighter, feels nicer, but wrinkles much more easily.
Blends with polyester reduce both the strengths and weaknesses of each of these fabrics. For example, wool/polyster blends aren't as tough, and cotton/polyster won't wrinkle as easily but are also less comfortable.
Is it wise to get a suit with two pairs of pants?
The answer is yes. Its not essential, but suit pants wear faster than suit jackets. Two pairs of pants will double the life of your suit. If you wear your suit pants more than the jacket, they will fade faster and there will be a noticeable difference in color between the jacket and pants. This is partly why having separate dress slacks is a good idea.
Folding/Rolling a suit so it doesn't wrinkle
Dry cleaning is expensive. Knowing how to roll your suit into your bag or suitcase is a skill you will want to learn early. Follow these steps to roll up a suit properly.
- Grab the shoulders of the suit and place them together with the open chest facing outward.
- Put your hand inside the jacket and grab one shoulder from the inside with your fingers and the other with your thumb. Lightly pinch them together.
- With your other hand, grab the lapel -- the folded over part of the fabric which connects to the other side via the collar.
- Pull it up and twist it around the shoulders so that the suit is now facing inside out.
- Fold the jacket on itself and place it in your bag, suitcase or in the trunk and it will come out wrinkle free. Assuming, of course, you don't put heavy objects on it.
Never hang your suit on a wire hanger, always a thicker plastic one. This will keep the shoulders more rounded.
You may wonder why you should buy dress slacks if you already have suit pants that fit. The simple answer is, fabric fades with use and washing, and if you wear your suit pants without the jacket, they will soon become a noticeably lighter shade than the jacket and it will look bad. Two or three pairs should last you the entire mission. If you buy cheap ones, you may need to do some repairs now and again, which is a good skill to learn anyway. Some pants have elastic in them to stretch with you if you start picking up weight on the mission (which is, after all, fairly common). The elastic bands aren't exclusive to expensive slacks, so shop around until you find a pair in a reasonable price range. Be mindful of how the fabric feels, how light they are, and how breathable they are. This is important depending on the climate you are going to.
- Slacks should rest upon your waist(hipbones) without the need of a belt. Always wear a belt!
- They should just be able to cover your shoe laces and no further. If the back sags to your heel, they are too big. This is appropriate for jeans, not for dress pants.
- Try to keep them fairly slim around your legs. They shouldn't be tight, but you don't want to be swimming in them either.
As with suit pants, you will have the option to buy slacks with pleates, or flat front. Pleates are a fold in the fabric below the waist pushing outwards to towards the hips. Slacks may have zero, one, or two pleates on either side of the zipper (never buy pants with more than two pleates per side). Missionaries with a bigger torso and thighs may find pleated pants more comfortable.
Some dress pants come with cuffs. Others don't. Cuffs are at the bottom of the legs where the fabric is rolled 1-1 1/2 inches onto itself. If your pants are pleated, they need cuffs. If not, its up to you. Note that a reason to avoid cuffs would be if your mission requires you to walk through rougher terrain like snow or gravel because they will catch in your cuffs and ruin the bottom of your pants.
A good idea to making your pants last much longer, is to strengthen the seams just below the pockets. This will probably be the first place your pants will get holes in them. Just turn your pants inside out, take a needle and black thread, and sow in some more thread to bind the small flap left over where the fabric is joined to make the seam. Sew it as close to where the fabric joins as possible. Once you have a few threads strengthening the seam beneath the pocket, cut the thread from the needle, tie it in a knot, and rest peacefully knowing your pants will last longer.
Cleaning dress slacks
Some dress slacks tell you not to wash them; dry clean only. Ignore this.
"Shoes should be black, dark brown, or cordovan. They should be made of material that can be polished.... Do not wear boots unless your mission president authorizes them."
Cordovan is a dark reddish/brown color.
Your belt should match the color of your shoes, meaning, a black belt goes with black shoes, etc. You can use either a black or brown belt with cordovan shoes.
What to buy?
If you shop smart, you will only need two, maybe three pairs of dress shoes (don't forget to bring comfortable running/service shoes that you don't care to see get destroyed). One for daily proselyting, one for Church, and a replacement. If your budget is tight, you can pull off buying only one pair, just make sure you shine them before going to Church.
The only way you can pull off needing so few of shoes is by buying a little more expensive ones. While there are likely other good alternatives, two stalwart brands are Rockport and Ecco. Ecco shoes have a 2 year warranty where if the usual wear and tear ruins them, you can send them back to the factory and get a new pair shipped free. A two year warranty is pretty convenient for a missionary.
Never buy uncomfortable shoes. At best you will get blisters, at worst you could develop joint problems. Also, wear your shoes a little while before beginning your mission. Shoes need to be broken in before they even begin to get comfortable, and breaking them in on your first ten mile tracting excursion will start you off on a bad note.
Dress shoe types
There are several kinds of dress shoes which are divided into three categories. Oxfords, loafers, and boots. As stated above, you more than likely will not wear boots, and if allowed, they won't be dressy boots. Oxfords have laces, loafers are slip on. Either are okay, as long as they can be polished (made out of real leather). If you want to go for the most professional look, buy cap toe oxfords, which have a line of extra leather going across the shoe left to right somewhere on the front. Wingtips have a curved line and are still considered professional, depending on the designs. You will benefit from avoiding flat or square toed shoes. Depending on who you ask these are trendy, or belong only on children.
Polishing shoes may be an annoying chore, but it is important. People may not notice you polished your shoes, but they will notice if you didn't! Polish also protects the leather on your shoes from getting damaged by moisture. Still, not all shoe polish is alike. Some companies use liquid polish where you rub it on with a brush. This gives your shoes a quick shine but dries the leather quickly and your shoes will get cracks in them if you use it regularly. Wax polishes also dry leather (not as fast) but give a nicer shine and cover scuffed shoes better. Cream polish is healthiest for your shoes but give the least shine. Essentially if you polish shoes with cream, you'll have to do it more often to keep them looking nice, but the shoes will look good longer in the end. For most missionaries, mission shoes go on the alter of sacrifice; meaning they know the shoes won't last them that long anyway. So there is a lot of appeal towards a wax cleaner. If your shoes are beginning to look prematurely bad, start using shoe lubricant or shoe conditioner to help the leather last. Some leathers last longer better simply because that is how the manufacturer treated their shoes. The bottom line however is: avoid liquid polish. It destroys your shoes.
Your missionary call packet will suggest purchasing some rain gear. You may have some already, but the catch is that it has to be in black. Here are a few tips.
The trench coat is fashionable, is professional, but is also scary to lots of people. People associate trench coats, especially black ones, with spies, FBI, mafia, and tax agents. No one wants any of these knocking on their door. At night, if they can't see you, they will see your trench coat and will either not answer the door, or answer it with a lot of negative emotions. Besides frightening people, trench coats are thick and you may find yourself uncomfortably sweating despite all the cold rain around you.
The Daily Planner
Upon arriving at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) you will be given a Missionary Daily Planner. The natural spot to place it is in your dress shirt pocket. Don't do it! Even when you get into the field and you will see missionaries you respect do it, don't. Keep it in your back trouser pocket where most men keep wallets or in a side pocket (or in an inside suit coat pocket). You may get used to the look, but the people you meet everyday won't.
Detergents, bleach, and Getting out Stains
After a few days into your mission you may notice the inevitable yellowing around the inside collars of your dress shirts. Basic laundry detergent will not get this out and bleach may or may not. Get
Bleach has its positives (its cheap and is a great disinfectant, especially against mold), but repeated use shortens the life of your whites. Stain removers like Oxiclean (or the equivalent Napisan in Australia/New Zealand) or Shout, used in addition to normal detergents are your best bet. Many of them work on both whites and colors, don't fade the colors, and do not eat at your clothing like bleach does. A lot of them can get out stains bleach can't. If you spill something on your shirt or get a bit of blood on it hurry then you might be able to get out the stain immediately with a bar of soap. You'll have to be quick though. Just remember not to mix your colors and whites when washing even with products that work on both. And don't forget to use the normal detergents which will make your clothes smell nice because the additive detergents will leave them with a chemical smell otherwise.
Belts range from really cheap to outrageously expensive. Both extremes are bad deals. Cheap belts bleed for a little while when you first use them. Meaning, your white shirts near the waist will get black marks until the belt is "broken in." Quality detergents can clean this up after a few washes, and you'll be fine, but if you want to avoid the whole ordeal, don't look for the cheapest belt. Cheap belts also wear down quickly where the buckle fits into the excess portion if pulled tight. Eventually it will break.
Expensive belts are also a bad option. First because they are expensive. Second because belts get hooked onto things and tear, get scratch markes running into things while walking, etc. Belt buckles are especially prone to damage and if you want it looking good forever, don't bring it on a mission.
The general rule for purchasing a belt that fits is making sure that the excess portion doesn't reach your side. If the belt has notches, be careful not to put it to too tight of a notch. You don't want it lifting your pants above where they (hopefully) naturally sit on your waist. Don't put it too loose either so the buckle sags. You may need put in an additional notch for the buckle to rest in. Just remember your stomach may do a lot of expanding and shrinking while on your mission!
Your missionary call packet will recommend you get a shoulder bag instead of a backpack because it looks more professional. You'll be fine if you get a backpack instead. Shoulder bags are great if you don't put much in them and learn how to keep them steady while you ride a bike (assuming you will use a bike in your mission), but if you don't invest in getting one that feels very comfortable, you may regret it for two years - or longer if you injure your back putting too much in it. The same goes for backpacks. Make sure the straps have pads, or you will probably end up following the old missionary tradition of getting a new one within a few months of fieldwork.
Some people bring their best watches on their mission. You may need to judge how wise that is. If it is expensive, it probably isn't tasteful flashing it around in a poor country. There is no guarantee that it won't get lost, damaged, or stolen. Be wary of buying very cheap watches too. They break in more ways than you can imagine.
A note on ironing
Do not iron anything on too high a heat; especially wool (which will probably only be in your suit and should therefore be left for the dry cleaners to handle). If the heat is too high, it will burn the fabric and give it an undesirable shiny look, or leave burn marks.
Always take an extra moment when ironing to avoid putting a double crease in your shirts and pants. Few things will ruin your professional image more than having too noticeable creases.
How to wash ties
Ties get dirty, but throwing them in the washing machine could kill them. Many dry cleaners will dry clean ties, but there is a cheaper method to use, especially if you don't mind being a little brutal to your ties' longevity. Follow these steps to wash your ties effectively. Always keep at least one tie unwashed, so you can wear it in case this process takes longer than you hoped.
- Fill a bucket with cold water
- Put a liquid or powder stain remover (not bleach) in the bucket and stir it around
- Gently fold a tie as many times as it takes to fit in the bucket
- Neatly place the tie inside and push to the bottom until all the air bubbles leave. The tie will come back to the surface on its own.
- Repeat with as many ties as you need to wash, making sure that there is room for all the ties to be submerged in the water
- Do not stir the ties around. Push them down into the water repeatedly to make sure they are soaked
- Leave for 30 minutes
- Drain the water carefully making sure the ties move as little as possible
- Rinse the ties thoroughly pouring more cold water in the bucket, and draining repeatedly
- Hang the ties to dry. Place a towel underneath them because they will drip water for a long time. You may want to put a fan in front of them
- Many of your ties will wrinkle and may shrink a little. This step will take the most time. Set the iron's temperature to silk (if your iron doesn't list a setting for silk, set it fairly low), flip the tie on its back so the tag faces upward, and gently run it over your ties. This will keep you from ironing an imprint of the tag's shape on the front of your tie. You can also put a cloth on top of your tie and set the iron to a warmer setting, ironing the cloth. Make sure the cloth is made out of a smooth fabric, or you will iron in whatever bumps, shapes, or checker is on it into your tie.
You can also fold your ties into a small plastic container with a lid with cold water and a little stain remover, close the lid and shake the container. Then rinse, dry, and iron as above.
You won't have to wash your ties often. Maybe only a few times on your mission. But you will notice a difference in color after the tie is washed.
A few words on hairstyles
Like clothing, hairstyles range from the very trendy to the timeless. While not a rule in most missions, parting your hair to the side is a timeless hairstyle common among professionals in many fields. Almost anyone can part their hair after they a while of training it to move that way again and again for an extended period. Where you choose to put the actual part is up to you. Some put it on the side of their head and others a little closer to the middle (straight in the middle is not timeless, but old fashioned). If you choose to put a part in, give some thought as to where you will place it. The most important thing is to not have a crooked part or one that slants across the head. The easiest way to make sure your part is straight is to look straight at the mirror, tilt your head down (don't tilt to the side), and comb directly down (note: comb directly down, not down along the curvature of your head). This creates a few running lines of your hair. Along those line is where you will want to place your part.
The basic guidelines for Elder's hairstyles in the Missionary Handbook is: "Keep your hair relatively short (not clipped to close) and evenly tapered. Extreme or fadish styles---including spiked, permed, or bleached hair or a shaved head---are not appropriate. Sideburns should reach no lower than the middle of the ear." You can expect this standard to be enforced.
- Missionary Handbook: 2006: 10
- Missionary Handbook: 2006: 10-11
- Missionary Handbook: 2006: 10
- Missionary Handbook: 2006: 11
- Missionary Handbook: 2006: 11