The Top 10 Dress Shirts To Own

The Top 10 Dress Shirts To Own July 17, 2013 By Joe | Heads up: Buying via our links may result in us getting a commission. Here's why. When assembling your wardrobe, what styles of shirts are best to buy first? What shirts can you do without? That’s what this list is for. The shirts you’ll want to have on hand at all times (and maybe buy multiples of) will rank higher than the shirts you could probably do without. Also, keep those collars a substantial but not over-sized semi-spread. Button down, cutaway, and tiny-sized collars are great for certain situations, but you just can’t go wrong with a nicely sized semi spread. Specific examples for each are shown below. Pics are clickable.

When assembling your wardrobe, what styles of shirts are best to buy first? What shirts can you do without?

When assembling your wardrobe, what styles of shirts are best to buy first? What shirts can you do without? That’s what this list is for. The shirts you’ll want to have on hand at all times (and maybe buy multiples of) will rank higher than the shirts you could probably do without. Also, keep those collars a substantial but not over-sized semi-spread. Button down, cutaway, and tiny-sized collars are great for certain situations, but you just can’t go wrong with a nicely sized semi spread. Specific examples for each are shown below. Pics are clickable.

#1.  White, semi-spread, light to mid-weight Poplin/Pinpoint/Twill

#1. White, semi-spread, light to mid-weight Poplin/Pinpoint/Twill

Quick, think of a white dress shirt.  Yahtzee.  That’s the #1 shirt we should all have in our closet.  The collardoes not button down on these, and they’re made from a mid to lightweight fabric.  Some call these “oxfords” even though that’s not quite right. It’s a shirt that’ll look just as good with a suit as it will under a v-neck with jeans.  It’s crisp, it’s clean, and you want a collar with enough beef  to look substantial. Melt your brain with the differences between poplin, pinpoint, & twill.

#2. Light Blue, semi-spread, light to mid-weight Poplin/Pinpoint/Twill

#2. Light Blue, semi-spread, light to mid-weight Poplin/Pinpoint/Twill

Pretty much the same thing as the white dress shirt at #1, only in a very pale, light blue color.  Not royal blue, not kinda light blue with grey buttons, light blue with standard off-white/bone colored buttons.  Slightly less formal than white, but still able to be dressed way up. It’s actually somewhat difficult to find a very pale blue dress shirt for a reasonable price. The Banana Republic option shown here doesn’t even come in Neck & Sleeve measurements.

#3. White, mid-weight to heavy-weight Oxford Cloth Button Down Collar

Honestly? Not a “dress” shirt. At least not most of them, especially if they’re cut in thicker, more rumpled cloth. But still needs to go on the list just because of its versatility. The OCBD (surprisingly, not a member of WuTang) stands for Oxford Cloth Button Down. And the “button down” part refers to the collar, not the fact that you button the shirt in front. A few lighter, pressed OCBDs can pull some duty at the office, but just make sure it’s not that much thicker than a standard poplin. The thicker the fabric, the less dressed up it can get. A workhorse for layering.

Honestly? Not a “dress” shirt. At least not most of them, especially if they’re cut in thicker, more rumpled cloth. But still needs to go on the list just because of its versatility. The OCBD (surprisingly, not  a member of WuTang) stands for Oxford Cloth Button Down.  And the “button down” part refers to the collar, not the fact that you button the shirt in front. A few lighter, pressed OCBDs can pull some duty at the office, but just make sure it’s not that much thicker than a standard poplin. The thicker the fabric, the less dressed up it can get. A workhorse for layering.

#4. White base, blue windowpane / tattersall

#4. White base, blue windowpane / tattersall

Lots of white and blue right?  Well, yes. An orange and green check just won’t go with as much stuff in your closet.  Meanwhile, a windowpane is just different enough from the usual striped shirts most guys default to.  When under a jacket of some kind, they’ll give your look a bit of depth.  And unlike gingham (we’re getting there) they’ve got plenty of white which is more business ready.  When it comes to the office, for patterns, Tic-Tac-Toe > Checkers.  And for the size of the squares, the ideal size is between a pencil eraser and a quarter.

#5. The Bold Gingham

Color is up to you.  Black and white obviously offers the most contrast, but deep blue, red, even purple can deliver.  It’s a dressed up version of a dressed down pattern.

#6. White base, thin stripe

#6. White base, thin stripe

The stripes on these are razor thin. Not a double stripe of different colors (say, a light blue and dark blue next to each other), but just one color, real thin, evenly spaced. That white base is dominant, but the stripes add a bit of depth. Clean and mean.  Thicker striped ties look just fine worn over these.  Keep your stripes slim and you can even take some color risks like a pink or light green.

#7. The micro  pattern

Whether it’s a tiny check, tattersall, micro-plaid, gingham, or houndstooth, these are shirts that have two (three max) colors going on with a very small pattern. Not stripes, but something more geometric. From a distance they look solid, but up close they’re not. Lots of visual depth with these, and they often look great when you wear a suit without a tie.

#8. Thick/Bengal stripe

#8. Thick/Bengal stripe

#9. The Pink or Red Subtle Patterned Shirt

Pretty sure we’re all past the pink = YOU PLAY BALL LIKE A GIRL thing. Beware though. Some of us whiter dudes might not look so great wearing solid pink.  Lil’ too close to the skin tone.  So, harken back to #7, and maybe opt for a red micro-check on white. That’s not a  bad option for a similar look. It helps make the pink look less like flushed flesh.

#10. The Grey

A grey shirt with collar stay slots (not a floppy collared chambray) is a good shirt to have on hand for under black sweaters or black sportcoats/blazers.  Works surprisingly well with a navy suit as well. Not a bad getup to wear when grabbing a cocktail post sunset.  It’s still put together, has an evening out feel to it, but it’s thankfully still very far from clubby when tucked in and layered over.

Final Notes

  • 2 is the magic number:  Less is more.  Two is sort of the speed limit when it comes to dress shirts.  Meaning:  Anything more than two colors or two different thicknesses of lines in a pattern on a shirt and things can get weird.  There are exceptions, but solids, and pattern shirts with just one color on a base are safest.
  • Try and stick with all cotton:  Prices are rising (evidence is up above…) but limiting the level of poly used in your dress shirts will keep you cooler.  Sometimes synthetic just can’t be avoided, like in the shirts from Target.
  • Neck and Sleeve = More dressed up:  Sometimes a S/M/L/ neck will fit.  Sometimes it won’t.  Try it on.
  • No-Iron is up to you:  Some people love wrinkle free.  Some hate it.  Up to you.
  • Collar Stays:  Always.  Unless it’s a button down collar.  Wurkin Stiffs are even better.

BUY HANDMADE SHIRTS OR CUSTOM SUITS FOR MEN IN WASHINGTON DC, BALTIMORE, MD
By Appointment Only
Our tailors will fit, measure and deliver your garments in the comfort of your home or office. Schedule a fitting today
(202) 390-3996
We will travel to your location in Washington metropolitan area, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, New York, New Jersey.
Showroom: 1875 K St NW, Washington, DC 20006

Cuffs, Lapels, and Fits: The Basic Anatomy of a Suit

Do you need to find a Washington, DC, Baltimore, Maryland, custom clothiers for a new suit? Contact Mario Rojas to get the expertise and quality that you are looking for!

Every man need s a good suit. But if you’re new to wearing a suit, you might not know exactly howto craft the right suit for your needs. In this blog, we outline several elements of a suit and discuss your options for suit-wearing success.

Cuffs

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The cuff of your suit actually refers to the wrist closures of the shirt you wear under it. You have three main cuff options.

French Cuff

If you want to wear cufflinks, you need the French cuff. French cuffs fold back and have holes for cufflinks. The cufflinks you choose can dress this suit up or down, though typically French cuffs are reserved for more formal occasions.

Barrel Cuff

Barrel cuffs, also known as button cuffs, are the most common type of cuffs. Barrel cuffs are spectacularly easy and don’t require any extra thought from you when you’re getting ready for the day. Any shirt you buy at the store will typically have single buttons on each cuff. Custom suits, however, give you the option of having two or three buttons.

Turnback Cuff

The turnback cuff, sometimes referred to as the James Bond cuff or cocktail cuff, is a mix of a barrel cuff and a French cuff. It folds back just like a French cuff, but instead of requiring cufflinks, this cuff buttons. As its nick name suggests, this type of cuff was popularized by Sean Connery’s James Bond, so if you’re feeling a little more daring than usual,choose this cuff.

Lapels

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Lapels are the folded flaps on the front of your suit jacket. There are three basic shapes of lapels, all fit for different occasions.

Notch Lapel

The notch lapel is the most common variety of lapel. It’s named for the notch made when the bottom of the collar meets the top of the lapel. You may find slimmer or wider notches, but they’re all based on the same principle. This lapel is versatile, perfect for anything from job interviews to a typical day of work.

Peak Lapel

Peak lapels can be found on formal suit jackets like tailcoats or morning coats. The edges of the lapels point upwards to your shoulders, which makes you look slightly taller. These cuffs are difficult to put together correctly, so they’re a bit more expensive. Weddings and formal dinners are common sites to see peak lapels.

Shawl Lapel

The shawl lapel, unlike the notch or peak, has one long continuous curve, instead of any breaks or points. You’ll usually only find this lapel on a tuxedo or smoking jacket. The shawl lapel represents a classy choice that works for red-carpet galas or black-tie events.

Fits

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The fit is how your suit conforms to your entire body. When choosing a fit, take your body type into consideration.

Classic Fit

A classic fit, or traditional fit, is good for movement and growth. While it’s clean cut, it’s not fitted tightly enough to make any person who’s not used to wearing a suit uncomfortable.

Slim Fit

You may also hear slim fit suits referred to as Italian fits. As the name suggests, this suit is fitted closely to the body in the arms, the chest,and the legs. This doesn’t mean only skinny people can wear it; it just means the suits its closer to the skin.

Modern Fit

Modern fits aren’t as relaxed as a classic fit or as trimmed as a slim fit. Choose this fit if you want to look sharp but are uncomfortable or unsure about a slim fit. Modern fitted suits are also easy to dress up or down depending on your needs. Once you decide which of these options you like best, you can start making more detailed decisions and taking measurements. Use this general guide as a starting point,and get in touch with a custom suit maker to build the most comfortable,classiest suit for your body type.

BUY HANDMADE SHIRTS OR CUSTOM SUITS FOR MEN IN WASHINGTON DC, BALTIMORE, MD
By Appointment Only
Our tailors will fit, measure and deliver your garments in the comfort of your home or office. Schedule a fitting today
(202) 390-3996
We will travel to your location in Washington metropolitan area, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, New York, New Jersey.
Showroom: 1875 K St NW, Washington, DC 20006