When it comes to building a shirt collection, you want a few different styles to hand so you’ve got one for every occasion. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got to splurge your cash on a whole wardrobe full of them – there are basically five different styles of shirt, two of which – the Oxford and the dress shirt – are absolutely mandatory components of any man’s wardrobe.
Shirts are versatile, and can fit any outfit from a smart suit to summer beachwear. We’ll shows you how to make your choice of shirt fit your outfit.
The Dress Shirt
The dress shirt is the most formal shirt – essentially worn with a suit or in business casual settings, they can be distinguished by their collars, which can be spread (or Windsor) collars, point (straight or small) collars, or detachable collars.
What makes the dress shirt different from the Oxford shirt is its fit and its finish. It’s usually a slimmer fit, with a more structured finish, a little shorter in length, but with a longer back. This is because the dress shirt should be tucked into trousers, so you neither want excess material hanging, nor to come untucked when you’re bending over.
The Grandad Collar Shirt
The grandad shirt may have been associated with Irish and Northern labourers in the first half of the twentieth century, then with Indian President Nehru and the Beatles in the second, but the collarless shirt is back in style in the twenty first. Traditionally made from flannel, brush cotton or Irish linen and traditionally only have four buttons. Their current incarnation often has four buttons, but the collarless effect still makes a striking addition to any outfit.
The Oxford Shirt
The oxford shirt should need no introduction, with its long history dating back to 19th century Scotland. Thanks to its strong fabric and comfortable fit, but it would find cult status amongst Ivy League students in the 1950s, becoming a staple of the preppy style.
The oxford shirt was a trailblazer in blurring the lines between smart and casual in menswear, making it the vital shirt that everyone owns, as you really can wear it anywhere, for any occasion. The oxford shirt can be as smart – with a smart suit and shoes, or as casual – paired with jeans and trainers – as you want.
The hipster’s default dress mode, and the perfect way to smuggle some colour into your ensemble. Like everything about hipsters, it’s not original; the checked shirt first appeared in the 16th century, but would end up being banned in Britain in 1746 in the aftermath of the Scottish Rebellion, due to its links with clan tartans.
Now they’re unbanned and ubiquitous; thick flannel shirts are the thing for keeping cosy in winter, while looser lightweight checked shirts are perfect for the summer months.
An American classic with a bit of history, the denim shirt was manufactured by Levi Strauss when dressing hardworking miners and prospectors in the California Gold Rush. Levi Strauss would become more famous for his jeans, but the denim shirt has stood the test of time. Do you dare to wear double denim though?
As you can see, the shirt’s had a long and rich history, so you should make a place for some in your wardrobe.