How To Choose a Dress Shirt

While menswear is not as prone to the natural evolution and cyclical nature of the fashion industry as women’s fashion, men’s fashion still evolves, and there are some sartorial classics that stand the test of time.

Shirts, for one, have never attained such popularity and importance in a man’s wardrobe as at present; if suits, jackets, overcoats, and shoes have traditionally taken centre ground, , shirts were often relegated to the background – no more. We’re going to present you with our guide to the well-made shirt.

Fabric

 Fabrics are the core element of a high-quality shirt, and are immediately appreciated by the wearer. An easy method to check the quality of a shirt is how well the pattern of a checked shirts is lined up at a few critical seams. If it is well done, then you will probably find all the other hallmarks of a good shirt. The following areas should be matched perfectly:

  1. shoulder to sleeve
  2. pocket (if is has any)
  3. split yoke
  4. sleeve to sleeve placket
  5. shirt fronts and front placket
  6. Of course you can match the pattern on the side seams as well, though this is not seen very often

Matching the fabric pattern in all these areas demands great skill from the manufacturer.

Pattern Development

Once you have a shirt that fits you perfectly, you come to expect the same fit and workmanship for all future shirts. However, as you may have experienced yourself, consistency is not always a priority of lower end labels. Even for experienced tailors, it can be difficult to produce the exact same fit time and time again, since high end shirt manufacturing  requires so many manual steps, and humans do things ever so slightly differently each time.

To deliver the best of both worlds, most shirt manufacturers rely on carefully developed patterns that are used every time that particular model is produced. Body patterns are cut from thick paper, whereas collars and cuffs may be made out of  metal to ensure absolute accuracy.

Stitch density, as well as consistency, is a reliable way to judge the workmanship of a shirt. Tightly woven fabric should have a very high density of stitches, which results in an elegant look and durability.

The Collar

The collar is the most striking feature on a shirt, since it is usually visible at all times. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right collar for your face and wardrobe. One thing to aim for is perfect symmetry between collar points: both ends should sit exactly at the same distance from the centre of the collar — this is easily perceived on a striped shirt, for instance, where the two points should sit exactly over the same stripe.

Shirts have certainly come a long way since their evolution from undergarment to fashion statement, If you’re seeking a quality shirt to impress, follow the tips above and you can’t go wrong.

 

 

Get Shirty

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.

Checked Shirt

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.

Denim Shirt

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.