The ultimate guide to buying perfect dress shirts

We all wear them to work, to a night out, to dates and to other events of leisurely or formal nature. You may not give them much credit if you’ve purchased your dress shirts off the rack. However, if you have custom-tailored your dress shirts at least once and felt the difference, decided on each detail of the shirt yourself – chances are that you’re laying much more focus into that, compared to the not so dapper gentleman next to you.
To those that buy off the rack and are new to the world of custom-tailoring – this is for you. We present you, the ultimate guide on how to buy a bespoke dress shirt!

Off the rack shirts

Imagine yourself in your new off the rack shirt you bought in the local retail store the other day. You went in, found what you needed and went ahead buying it without wearing it on. Why did you not try it on? Probably because it was sealed all in plastic, or because there’s just no time for it.
The waking up comes the next time you’re getting geared for work. You put on the shirt, but when you look into the mirror, you see that it is kind of loose here and there, the collar looks to be too stiff, the cuffs are covered by your jacket sleeves – in shirt. It looks a mess – and ultimately – so do you wearing it.
Don’t downgrade on dress shirts, ever. It will show and you just don’t need that kind of attention at the office.
Does it take a lot of time to master the art of wearing dress shirts with a perfect fit? No. With these 6 factors in hand, you’ll hold a dress shirt in hand in no time, with a guaranteed perfect fit. These 6 factors will help determine whether you are making, or breaking the outfit – a thing you should carefully consider before buying a shirt.

Don’t we all want dress shirts that make us look good and feel great? We sure do. Dress shirts with a perfect fit can do wonders for your confidence and self-esteem.

Factor 1: The right fit

Fit is what is all comes down to when talking fundamentals of men’s style. If clothes don’t fit you properly, they’re surely not worth buying. It’s as short as that.

A dress shirt that fits you perfectly:

• Ensures comfort and freedom of movement
• Shows off your body in a flattering way

We keep asking ourselves, why it still ends up being a struggle for men, that are trying to shop for off the rack shirts. Instead of going through all this experimenting just to save a buck, opt for a bespoke tailor instead, that can craft custom-made shirts for you, to your exact body measurements and style preferences.

Factor 2: The Fabric

If you know what you’re going to wear your dress shirt for, whether it is for everyday use, or for special events, you’re already one step closer to a custom-made dress shirt.
Most men will need dress shirts for the office and formal occasions, or for outdoor environments. No matter what your unique need is, it is important that you’re aware of the different material options. There’s a suitable fabric for any occasion.

Cotton –Cotton is woven in a way that provides good moisture and heat conduction. It feels quite smooth against your body and it easily takes space while being ironed.

Fiber – this can come in the form of nylon, polyester, etc. It doesn’t have the same desirable properties as cotton. But it does create shirts which are wrinkle-free, stain-resistant, and very affordable. This is often a fabric you find in off the rack shirts, but never with us.

Linen – a more comfortable alternative for casual button downs or sports shirts.

Flannel – another good choice for casual shirts.

Factor 3: The Collar

The right choice of collar is important as it helps you “frame” your face. It either highlights or downplays your facial features, which you can use to your advantage. Because there are lots of collar styles to choose from, you first have to understand the functions of each style available to you. First then you can find out which one will do you and your shirt the most justice.

Here are some of the basic collar styles for dress shirts:

The Spread collar – the points on the collar are spread out, roughly 10 cm apart. This collar style can be dressed up or down and goes well with any fabric, color or pattern. It’s great for men with long or medium-shaped faces.

The Widespread collar – the points here are pulled back even further (about 14 cm apart). It’s compatible with fuller tie knots. It looks elegant even when it’s worn unbuttoned.

The Wing Tip – this is the style that works on a tuxedo. It’s the most formal among the collar types and is noted for having two “wings” at the front (tucked behind a bow tie).

The Classic collar (Straight Collar) – this is a versatile style that you can wear to both casual and professional settings. It’s known for a small spread of around 8 cm. It tends to elongate the face, making it best suited for men with fuller or rounder faces.

The Button-down collar – it’s similar to the classic collar but with buttons on the collar points (tips). The buttons are used to keep the collar in place. It’s the least formal and most casual among the collar styles.

The Band collar – the band is a piece of fabric that’s wrapped around your neck. It’s never worn with a tie since it’s quite casual. It stands up straight at the top of the shirt without the standard collar points. It looks great with a linen dress shirt.

Factor 4: Buttons

Why are buttons important? They are such a small detail, right? Wrong. If you look at your dress shirt as a while, with all the buttons lined up nicely at the front placket and along the sleeves (if you’re having sleeves at all), one missing or loose button can spoil the whole look.
You’ll therefore want to take the material of the dress shirt buttons into account.

Your options for this include:

Plastic buttons – they’re common, fairly strong and affordable. But they can also be prone to breakage if a low-quality resin was used in their construction. So there’s always a risk that comes along with them.

Mother of Pearl buttons – these are the preferred type. They aren’t made of pearl but of the shell containing the pearls. That’s why they’re extremely resilient. But these buttons are also a bit pricier so they’re often used for higher-end clothes.

Horn/Wooden buttons – durable alternatives for the buttons of casual shirts.

Factor 5: Cuffs

If you’re opting for a long sleeved dress shirt, you need to consider cuffs. It may not be important to other people, not the first thing that meets the eye, but it is still important to be educated about the choices you’re left with.

Cuffs on a dress shirt should extend about one inch past the sleeves of a jacket. Keep that rule in mind and you’re already halfway there.

As for the cuff style itself – you have these options:

Button cuffs – the most common style that can feature round, square or angled corners. They’re meant to wrap around the wrist and be buttoned into place. Round button cuffs promote a more casual feel so they’re normally partnered with a button-down collar.

Barrel cuffs – a formal style where each cuff has 2-3 vertical buttons. Multiple buttons are generally recommended for taller men. The larger barrel length also provides a nice snug fit around your wrist. This helps create a sharper look for more formal/professional settings.

French cuffs – these are twice the length of regular cuffs. They’re designed to be folded back on themselves and sealed with cuff links. They’ve got a distinct look and are usually paired with a wing tip collar style or a formal shirt. Cufflinks must be used for these.

Last, but not least.

Factor 6: The colour and pattern

Nothing adds personality to your dress shirt than the choices of colour and pattern. This is the first thing that people notice, so this is perhaps the most important part of this guide. Ask yourself, is it compatible with the rest of your outfit? Does it either showcase your personality (if you’re wearing it to a casual event) or match the seriousness of the occasion?
To answer these questions accurately – you want to really define the message you’re aiming to send to others.
Whether it’s trust and credibility, uniqueness and boldness, or a laid-back vibe… knowing that message will guide you in choosing among these sets of dress shirt designs:

Solid white/blue – for office/business attire and formal events

Checked/striped pattern – for more social/casual environments with friends or family

Multiple colours, bright colours, floral details – for weddings, informal dinner parties, afternoons at the beach (try incorporating this into your wardrobe during the summer)

With that being said, we hope that this little guide could help you on your way to become the next master of style in the office.

For more information, style guide and inspirations, please get in touch with us at: Contact Us