Dress shirts play an essential role in any man’s wardrobe.
They are used for every formal occasion, be it the good times of a wedding, the anxious times of a job interview, or the sad times of a funeral – a dress shirt must be worn.
While the dress shirt is essentially the cog in the wheel of your wardrobe, do you understand the different types and styles of dress shirts and what purposes they serve?
This post will go through the types of dress shirts for men and how they are different.
Related: Best Non-Iron Dress Shirts for Men
Different Fits of Dress Shirts for Men
There are several different fits of dress shirts for men. Here’s a brief overview of the most popular fits:
- Skinny Fit: A skinny fit dress shirt is, as the name suggests, a shirt that hugs your body snugly. This type of shirt is best worn by slender men.
- Slim Fit: Dress shirts that are slim fit hug your body tightly. They don’t have a lot of excess fabric and they show off your physique. This type of dress shirt is best for men with a slim or flat stomach, chest, and arms.
- Regular Fit: A regular fit dress shirt is a happy medium between slim fit and loose fit. There’s some excess fabric, but not enough to make you look baggy. This type of dress shirt is best for men who are of average build.
- Loose Fit: Dress shirts that are loose fit have a lot of excess fabric. They are baggy and can be uncomfortable if you’re not used to them. This type of dress shirt is best for men who may have a larger frame.
- Athletic Fit: As the name infers, athletic fit dress shirts are for men who have a more muscular build. The shirt has extra room in the chest and arms to accommodate larger muscles.
Different Collar Types for Men’s Dress Shirts
The type of collar you choose for your dress shirt is a matter of personal preference. However, there are different types of collars that serve different purposes. Here are some of the more popular options:
- Straight Point Collar: The straight point collar is the most versatile of all the collars. It can be worn with a tie and works well for both formal and informal occasions.
- Spread Collar: The spread collar is a bit more formal than the straight point collar. It is worn with a tie and is best suited for formal occasions.
- Button-Down Collar: The button-down collar is a formal collar that only looks best when worn with a tie.
- Club Collar: Featuring a rounded edge, the club collar is a very formal collar that is best suited for black tie events.
- Mandarin Collar: The mandarin collar is a collar that stands up on its own without the need for a tie. It is a very casual collar and is best suited for informal occasions.
- Band Collar: Similar to the Mandarin collar, the band collar is a collar that goes all the way around the neck. It is a very casual collar and is best suited for informal occasions.
- Cutaway Collar: The cutaway collar is a formal collar and is considered a statement piece. We think it is best suited for white tie events.
- Wingtip Collar: The wingtip collar, also known as a tuxedo collar, is very formal and worn with bow ties.
- Pinned Collar: The pinned collar is a collar that has been fastened with a pin. It can be worn with or without a tie.
Different Dress Shirt Cuffs
The type of cuff you choose for your dress shirt is a matter of personal preference. However, there are different types of cuffs that serve different purposes. Here are some of the more popular options:
- Button Cuff: The button cuff is the most common type of cuff. It is a simple cuff that is fastened with buttons.
- French Cuff: This is a more formal cuff that is fastened with cufflinks.
- Barrel Cuff: This is a simple cuff that is fastened with buttons. It is similar to the button cuff, but the barrel cuff has a bit more fabric.
- Convertible Cuff: The convertible cuff is a cuff that can be worn either with buttons or cufflinks.
Different Dress Shirt Materials
The material of your dress shirt is important as it will affect both the comfort and look of the shirt. Here are some of the most popular materials used for dress shirts:
- Cotton: This is the most popular material for dress shirts. It is a natural fiber that is soft and comfortable to wear. Cotton dress shirts are available in a variety of weights and weaves.
- Linen: This is a natural fiber that is made from the flax plant. Linen dress shirts are perfect for warm weather as they are very light and airy. However, they can get very wrinkly.
- Polyester: This is a synthetic fiber that is often blended with other fibers to create a dress shirt fabric. Polyester is a very strong and durable fiber. It is also wrinkle-resistant, making it a good choice for travel. However, it can make a swooshy sound when you move.
- Nylon: This is a synthetic fiber that is often used in sports shirts as it is very strong and durable. Like polyester, nylon is also wrinkle-resistant, making it a good choice for travel.
- Silk: This is a natural fiber that is made from the cocoons of silkworms. Silk dress shirts are very soft and have a luxurious feel. They are also very expensive.
- Wool: This is a natural fiber made from sheep’s hair. Wool dress shirts can regulate temperature exceptionally well.
Dress Shirt Fabric Weaves
The weave of the fabric impacts how the shirt looks and feels. Here are some of the most popular weave types:
- Poplin: This is a basic weave has a corded surface (source). A poplin dress shirt will have a smooth, crisp feel.
- Oxford: This is a basket weave that is made with two yarns. The yarns are interlaced to form a fabric that is sturdy and has a textured surface.
- Twill: This is a diagonal weave that is made with two yarns. The yarns are woven together to form a fabric with a textured surface that is durable.
- Herringbone: This is a twill weave that has a V-shaped pattern. The herringbone weave is often used for winter fabrics as it is very warm.
- Sateen: This is a weave that is made with a satin weave structure (source). The result is a fabric with a smooth, lustrous surface.
- Broadcloth: This is a plain weave that is made with a 2-ply yarn. The fabric is very smooth and has a bit of body to it.
- Dobby: This is a weave that is made with a dobby loom. The result is a fabric with a textured surface.
- Jacquard: This is a weave that is made with a jacquard loom. The result is a fabric with an intricate design.
- Seersucker: This is a striped fabric that is made with a puckered surface. It is often used for summer shirts as it is very light and airy.
Different Dress Shirt Colors & Patterns
There are a variety of dress shirt colors and patterns to choose from. The most popular colors are white, blue, and gray.
- White dress shirts are the most versatile and can be worn with any color and pattern.
- Blue dress shirts are also very versatile. They can be worn with any color and pattern, but look best with a suit.
- Gray dress shirts are less versatile than white or blue dress shirts. They should be reserved for formal occasions.
- Patterned dress shirts are a great way to add some personality to your look. The most popular patterns are stripes, plaids, and checks.
Tailoring Your Dress Shirt
Tailoring is the process of altering a garment to better fit your body. A good tailor can make a big difference in how your dress shirt looks and feels. Here are some of the things that a tailor can do:
- Take in or let out the sides of the shirt to make it fit your body better
- Shorten or lengthen the sleeves
- Raise or lower the collar
- Tapering the shirt to create a more slimming look
A good tailor will also be able to make other adjustments to the shirt, such as moving the buttons or changing the shape of the collar.
If you find a dress shirt that you love but it doesn’t quite fit right, don’t hesitate to take it to a tailor. It is worth the investment to have a shirt that looks and feels great.
Different Dress Shirt Details
From monogramming to chest pockets, there are a variety of details that you can find on dress shirts. Here are some of the most popular details:
- Monogramming: This is a way to personalize your dress shirt with your initials.
- Chest Pocket: This is a small pocket on the chest of the shirt, typically used for holding a handkerchief.
- Collar Stays: These are small pieces of plastic or metal that are inserted into the collar to keep it stiff.
- Button Colors: Dress shirt buttons are usually white, but they can also be black or the same color as the shirt.
- Contrasting Cuff: This is when the cuff of the shirt is a different color than the rest of the shirt.
- Trim: Some shirts have a trim detail on the collar or cuff. This is a strip of fabric that is a different color or pattern than the shirt.
- Darts: These are small folds of fabric that are sewn into the shirt to give it a more tailored look.