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A dress shirt is simply a long sleeved shirt with a collar and buttons down the length of the front. The shirt is well designed to be worn together with a tie as opposed to the more casual sports shirt which tends to be worn with an open collar. Furthermore, the dress shirt goes hand in hand with a jacket or blazer, but doesn’t have to be worn with them – looking just as smart without.
A mans dress shirt can take on more than one guise though, with slight variations being evident in both the collar and the cuffs. These differences are often to compliment the different selection of gentleman’s jackets that can be worn. Nevertheless, a mans shirt is optimum for formal occasions as is the need in most office careers or corporate events.
Some would include short sleeved shirts in the ‘dress’ category but they are very difficult to wear beneath a jacket.
Men’s dress shirts have really come into their own in the last fifty years or so. Previously they were nothing more than just an undergarment to fit under a jacket and be worn for more special or formal occasions only. There was never a focus on the dress shirt itself – times are changing.
In this day and age, the dress shirt is commonplace in any man’s wardrobe and is rarely left to gather dust – being much more flexible than in the past with an array of colors, prints and styles. Another good point to make here is how the typical working mans job has changed significantly from being a ‘hands dirty’ labor to attending work in an office. Back in the day, if you were seen wearing a shirt then it instantly suggested that you were of some wealth and had heaps of dignity.
Like we said, times are changing and the shirt is worn much more widely in society – adding a touch of class to almost any style. Dress shirts are by far more affordable and accessible than all of the other components that make up a gentleman’s dress such as the shoes or the jacket.
There are a few general rules to wearing a shirt. Most importantly, as with all items of dress, the shirt must be a good fit – both snug and comfortable but with plenty of flexibility for moving around in. Another more bendable rule is the wearing of an undershirt. The purpose of this is to keep the shirt fresher for longer as body sweat does not spoil the material.
When choosing a mens dress shirts. you will undoubtedly be looking at the selection of color or prints first, followed by the material and shape. Once you know what colors compliment your own complexion or even hair color then the decision-making becomes far easier. The great thing about dress shirts is that there really are many to choose from – something for all. When you are unsure or want to avoid making a statement then it is perfectly fine to stick with crisp whites or single-color blues.
If you do want to make a statement though then try on some of the more bold colors such as golds or even shades of pink. Once you have found something that takes your fancy then have a look for a suitable suit to wrap it up.
In terms of fabric choice you will be right to consider the season and temperature, with man-made fabrics being warmer and natural fibers such as silk or cotton allow for more air circulation and can be cooler. We mentioned before the variations in shirts – the cuffs and the collar. There are other elements to a man’s dress shirt that can be played around with such as the addition of pockets to the breast or the types of buttons. You might even like to have a dress shirt that showcases a logo of the designer.
Your choice of cuffs, collars etc can really distinguish between the more casual shirt and the more formal dress shirt. If you are new to wearing a dress shirt then the best piece of advice is to begin with some neutrals which will be more versatile and can be dressed up or down. Gradually you will add bolder colors and prints if you feel you can carry it off with ease.
write by jeff gaither