For the working gentleman, the dress shirt is not just an innocuous piece of clothing that requires little aesthetic consideration. As a matter of fact, it actually contributes multitudes when it comes to how you present yourself — regardless if it is the centerpiece of your outfit, or just playing a supporting role to a fashionable jacket. This is because details matter far more than you might think. This, in turn, means that your dress shirt speaks for you as an individual, and the key is in making sure that it is conveying the right message.

But first thing’s first – what exactly constitutes a dress shirt? In a nutshell, this is a button-down shirt with a collar, long sleeves, and cuffs on the wrist. It is safe to say that the dress shirt is the ultimate clothing must-have. And depending on the colour and/or pattern, it can get you ready to go on a date or meet the president in a jiffy.

The Fit

When choosing a dress shirt for whatever purpose, possibly one of the most important considerations is the fit. Unfortunately, most men tend to settle for ready-made shirts that are designed to fit many and no one at the same time, so they end up compromising somewhere. The length of the sleeves might seem fine, but it’s quite loose around the stomach. Or the chest fits just right, but the sleeves are a bit short. Ill-fitting dress shirts are not only unsightly, but can be rather uncomfortable, as well. Which is why it is very, very important to invest in a well-tailored dress shirt — or two — that has been custom-made especially for you.

The Fabric

Now, most dress shirts are made out of cotton – and for good reason. This is because cotton is durable and smooth and is arguably the most comfortable thing you can wear next to your body.

Other man-made fibers can also be used to create dress shirts with varied results. Some of these fibers are wrinkle-free and even stain-resistant, which make them very agreeable. They also cost considerably less than pure cotton, which makes them quite the viable alternative, indeed. As a rule of thumb, though, never go beyond 50% man-made fiber as this could affect the shirt’s comfort and durability.

Colour and Patterns

For centuries, gentlemen only wore white shirts to signify their social standing (meaning, they didn’t have to do menial, dirty work). To this day, white still reigns supreme when it comes to dress shirts. This is because white is an incredibly versatile colour that can go from casual to formal in a heartbeat. It is safe to say that white shirts will never go out of style.

These days, other colours have also started to become mainstream – particularly lighter hues of blue, green, gold, lavender, and even pink. Indeed, it does take quite a bit of courage to dabble into different shades when it comes to dress shirts, but if done right, it can easily set one apart in a roomful of men.

Patterns are also fast gaining popularity. Subtle stripes of accentuating colours can be quite gorgeous, especially when worn with a solid-coloured suit or trousers. Plaids, on the other hand, may seem a bit intimidating and can overpower a good suit, so it needs to be worn with more careful consideration.

 

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