Just like a well-polished pair of shoes or a crisply starched shirt, a sharp crease in a pair of pants shows you're dressed to impress.
Step 1: Check label Check the label on the pants for proper care instructions, then heat the iron on the appropriate setting.
TIP: For wool pants, put a clean, damp cloth—called a "pressing cloth"—between the iron and the fabric so the iron doesn't cause a permanent shine, and press the iron against the pants repeatedly instead of sliding it back and forth.
Step 2: Iron inside waistband Iron the inside of the waistband first—if the iron is too hot, turn it to a lower setting and wait for it to cool before proceeding.
Step 3: Iron back pockets Turn the back pockets inside out and iron them.
Step 4: Iron back Iron the outside of the back of the pants, then tuck the pockets back inside and iron the seat of the pants.
Step 5: Iron front pockets Flip the pants over, turn the front pockets inside out, and iron them.
Step 6: Iron front Iron the outside of the front of the pants, then tuck the pockets back inside and iron the front of the pants, including any pleats.
TIP: Pull the waistband up over the narrow end of the ironing board, as if you're pulling the pants onto the board, to create a flat front area to iron.
Step 7: Line up seams Line up the four seams on the pant legs so they're neatly stacked and lay the pants down along the length of the ironing board.
Step 8: Iron inner leg Fold back the top leg to expose the inner leg below. Iron this from the cuff up to the seam of the crotch.
TIP: On flat-front pants, the front crease should begin between the middle of the zipper and the crotch; on pleated pants, it should continue from a pleat down.
Step 9: Flip pants over Fold the top leg back down and flip the pants over.
Step 10: Iron other inner leg Fold back the top leg again, and iron the other inner leg from the cuff up to the seam of the crotch.
Step 11: Iron outside leg Fold that top leg back down again and iron the outside of this leg.
Step 12: Iron outside other leg Flip the pants over and iron the outside of that leg.
Step 13: Hang pants Immediately after ironing, hang the pants from the waistband or cuff, keeping the four seams lined up as you ironed them to keep your creases crisp.
Step 14: Unplug iron Turn off and unplug the iron, and step out in style.
FACT: Ironing dates at least as far back as the 1st century B.C., when the Chinese used hot coals in metal pans to smooth their clothing.