How to Choose the Right Dress Shirt for the Modern Man

A dress shirt is a staple of every man’s wardrobe. Whether it’s worn on a daily basis or once in a year, a dress shirt expresses a man’s personal style. It helps one feel more confident and in control even during stressful situations. The fit, material, color and style form an appealing garment that can last for a considerable number of years. Below is a guide on how to choose the right dress shirt for the modern man.

Why Dress Shirts?

A well-fitting dress shirt complements a man’s appearance without causing any discomfort. Elements like the collar type, cuff style, sleeve length and the neck size discretely indicate whether a certain dress shirt is meant for play or work. You can easily find dress clothes for weekend catch-ups, client meetings, daytime conferences or worksite supervision.

Dress shirts suit both white-collar and blue-color jobs, although the material selections may differ. Men can purchase dress shirts for both formal and informal occasions, including first dates, simple dinner with friends, late night drinks and weddings. The color, pattern and characteristics are all factors which indicate whether one is serious about their work or is simply out for a good time.

How to Select the Right Dress Shirt

The kind of shirt a man wears speaks volumes about him. Case in point, an ill-fitting dress shirt is more likely to convey that the wearer cares very little about his appearance. Still yet, it can indicate that the wearer disregards fashion rules. A blue button-down Oxford that has rolled-up sleeves can signify that the guy is ready to work. A slim, white broadcloth shirt worn under a tailored suit would suggest that there are executive offices within sight.

Note that finding the right dress shirt isn’t a simple, one-step process. A specific shirt style or designer won’t suit all men, just like one size won’t fit everyone. Realizing which dress shirt suits you best will require that you consider several crucial factors. These include fitting, the neck size, collar, cuff, sleeve length, color, pattern and material.

Pick the Right Fit

A dress shirt’s fit basically means how it contours along a man’s body. The standard for this industry is the classic fit dress shirts, although it’ll vary from one brand to another. A slim fit shirt tapers towards the waist, hence reflecting an athletic or tailored look. On the other hand, full fit shirts are usually longer and looser. These are mostly designed for those who fall into the Big’ and Tall’ categories.

Regardless of your body size, a dress shirt shouldn’t pucker across your chest or even billow out of your pants. Such looks are simply unflattering. The shoulder seams ought to follow along the man’s shoulders. Cuffs ought to be of the right lengths. Unless the shirt is designed otherwise, it should also be tucked into the pants.

Pick the Right Material/Fabric

The material used to make a shirt determines how durable and comfortable it will be. Also, it determines how easily it’ll wrinkle and how easy stain removal will be. Dress shirt materials that are mostly used include cotton, cotton blend, polyester, linen and silk. All these materials possess different characteristics.

Dress shirts made out of silk, for instance, may prove difficult to launder. Linen dress shirts are light and perfect for summer wear. The cotton dress shirts breathe easily for comfort and hold dye better for brighter colors. Cotton blend shirts won’t wrinkle as easily as those made out of cotton alone.

Pick the Right Cuff Style

There are two different cuffs on men’s dress shirts: standard and French cuffs. The former are closed with one or more buttons. A single-buttoned cuff shirt is seen as casual while multiple-buttoned cuff ones are regarded as semi-formal. Sometimes, these shirt cuffs are referred to as button or barrel cuffs.

On the other hand, French cuffs feature extra material that’s folded back and held together using cuff links. Sometimes referred to as double cuffs, French cuff dress shirts are usually worn for formal occasions and meetings. All cuffs ought to fit tightly so that the wrist can’t escape them. They should be long enough to cover the wrist and end near the base of the wearer’s hand.

Pick the Right Neck Size

Neck sizes in dress shirts rise in half-inch increments from 14 inches to 23 inches. To acquire the right neck size, one must make use of a flexible tape measure to measure around their neck, right below the Adam’s apple. A half-inch must be added to the distance measured, which is approximately the spacing that’s needed to insert a finger between the collar and the neck. This gap ensures that the man’s feeling comfortable without choking him.

Various shirt labels list the general sizes (Small, Medium, Large, etc.), rather than the specific measurements. For instance, a 16-inch dress shirt may be listed as a large. Big and Tall shirts feature special design characteristics. For tall men, dress shirts end with T’ like LT for large tall. Men, who’ve larger waist sizes than their chest sizes but whose height is 6 feet or less, typically look best in the Big’ sizes. The Big-size’ shirts have neck sizes ranging from Big 1X to Big 6X.

Pick the Right Sleeve Length

The right sleeve length of a dress shirt depends on the person’s arm length and formality level of that shirt. Long-sleeve shirts come in exact sizes such as 33.5, meaning a 33.5-inch arm length. They may also come in estimated sizes such as 31/32, meaning the shirt’s sleeve can accommodate arm lengths between 31 and 32 inches. Short-sleeve dress shirts are usually worn in hot weather and are more casual than long-sleeve ones.

You might need assistance from another person to determine your arm length. You’ll hold an arm out at a 90 degrees angle. Your assistant will then make use of a flexible tape measure to measure from the tip of your shoulder to the spine at your neck, down to the elbow and lastly to the base of your wrist.

Pick the Right Collar Size

The collar frames your face and brings attention to the tie, or lack thereof. Men with seemingly round faces or more robust physiques prefer narrow collars as they tend to lengthen their face. Wide collars, on the other hand, broaden long or thin faces. The collar of a dress shirt immediately indicates how formal that shirt ought to be, although they’re not always worn as intended.

Dress shirts come in different collar types: wing, spread, straight and button-down collars. The type to choose is dependent on a man’s dress code, occasion, facial shape and/or neck size. For example, the spread collar would best suit men with short necks. However, it may not suit men with round faces. The wing collar would best suit men wearing tuxedos or bowties.

Pick the Right Color and Pattern

Note that you won’t find an official dress shirt color guide anywhere. Men can wear whichever shades and hues they prefer. Fashion rules ought to be broken, and color is among the few examples proving this philosophy. Generally, a man should wear colors similar to those worn by people around them. Investment bankers may prefer white dress shirts. Rich, muted tones are usually popular during fall and winter. Livelier colors signal spring and summer seasons.

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Similarly, the above guidelines apply for patterns in dress shirts. Stripes and solids have become staples. However, plaids, checks and animal prints are acceptable under various circumstances. Patterns are an excellent way to show off personal style while still adhering to the workplace dress code.

Apply the Necessary Guidelines

Men’s dress shirts can be professional, formal, casual or funky. Finding the best dress shirt is essential for ultimate enjoyment and enhanced comfort. A wrong shirt can make one look bad to others, and even feel bad to himself. The choices are plentiful. Practice knowing your measurements. Narrow down the fit, style, sizing, colors and patterns. After all that, the remaining decision to make will be how many shirts you’ll purchase.