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.

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Job Interview Coming Up? 4 Ways to Look and Feel Confident

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You’ve prepped your résumé and cover letter, contacted your references, and thought about your answers to common interview questions. Now, the best thing you can do to prepare for your job interview is to increase your confidence. Your assured appearance and demeanor will impress your interviewers. It will also put to rest any concerns they may have about hiring you.

Research shows that when you look more confident and act more confident, you’ll also feel more confident. Here’s how you can increase confidence from the outside in.

1. Get a Custom Suit or Shirt

the best custom clothiers in D.C.

Wearing professional clothes makes you look more secure and self-assured. It also helps employers better imagine you in powerful leadership roles.

To further enhance your confident appearance, consider a custom suit or clothes. Since everyone’s body type and frame is unique, it’s difficult to find a perfect fit at the store. Have a custom clothier evaluate your body type, take your measurements, and design a suit or shirt that’s perfect for you and your body.

You’ll look and feel like a million dollars in your new custom clothes, and you’ll portray that confidence to your interviewers.

2. Strike a Power Pose

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy recommends a practice called power posing before your interview. This practice involves standing in a confident posture for about two minutes. Power poses involve opening up your body rather than bringing it in. Try these power poses:

  • Stand straight with your hands on your hips.
  • Lean back in a chair with your legs on a desk and your arms crossed behind your head.
  • Lean forward on a desk and look forward, with your arms spread wide on the desk.

Cuddy found that these poses actually change hormone levels in your body. In her study, research subjects who struck these poses before an interview were more likely to be viewed favorably by the employer.

If you strike these poses, your brain will begin to align with your body and you’ll believe you’re powerful and capable. Plus, your interviewers will believe it, too.

3. Wear a Powerful Color

JobInterviewTies

According to color psychology, certain colors evoke feelings of boldness and power. Red commands attention and is a good choice if you want to appear confident and passionate. Purple is also a powerful color because it reminds people of royalty and distinction. Blue can be a good choice as well, since it symbolizes intelligence and strength.

Of course, the classic black or gray suit jacket is always a stylish look. Men could choose a tie or shirt in a power color, and women could choose a shirt or suit jacket in a power color. It can give you an extra boost of self-assurance during your interview.

4. Practice Confident Body Language During Interviews

Body-Language D.C. job interview

Just as you should strike power poses before the interview, you should also portray confident body language throughout the interview. Do a practice interview with a friend and use the following body language:

  • Stand straight with your head held high and shoulders back.
  • When you sit, lean back and put your arms on the armrests (leaning forward makes you look less confident).
  • Try interlacing your fingers and resting your elbows on the table in front of you.
  • Avoid fidgeting or nervous habits, such as tapping your feet.

Ask your friend to point out anything he or she notices that you could change about your body language.

Even if you have the right education and experience for a job, you need to show confidence to nail the interview. Use these tips and you’ll help convince your interviewers that you’re right for the job. If you need a custom suit or shirt, count on custom tailor Mario Rojas.