Having a good set of shirts will take you far in this live, and although it’s not a sin these days to wear a tee-shirt with your suit, shirts are certainly a more dressed up look. Their ability to dress up jeans also means you can look good in the comfort of your favorite denim.
I recommend 100% cotton, which will last longer than almost any other fabric. Although it creases easier than a polyester (or poly-cotton) it breaths easier and doesn’t retain moisture as badly as other fabrics. Silk and linen shirts do breath easier, but can be scratchy and are difficult to keep clean and pressed.
Your collar (when buttoned up) should fit snug around your neck while allowing one finger to pass around between the collar and your neck comfortably. The fit of the collar can only be altered about 1cm smaller or larger, so getting a good fit here is important. You can also cheat with elasticated collar extenders if you struggle to feel comfortable in a tie.
Even though wearing a tie these days is considered strictly formal, it’s non negotiable for dandy’s, so remains an important part of a shirt’s fit. Unless of course you’re opting for collarless shirts, in which case you’d only need to consider your shoulder fit.
A shirt’s shoulder should end on top of your shoulder bone, with some fullness in the sleeve to allow for the best arm reach, the arm hole of the sleeve should also be high to help with comfortable movement.
If you’re opting for a short-sleeved shirt, know that it’s irrational to wear a tie with a short sleeve shirt unless your a Mormon, in which case you should also be wearing the name tag.
On long sleeves your cuffs should cover the wrist entirely without falling over the hand, and be loose enough to slide over your watch. Dandy rules insist you get the cuffs fitted larger on your watch arm. This is the reason some shirts come with two buttons on the cuffs. I like to lift my thumb when my arm is at rest, and if it *just pushes up the cuff that’s the perfect length. Sliding one finger around my wrist or watch is then the perfect width. Collars and cuffs are a great place to incorporate some uniqueness in your shirts, so don’t be afraid to try different options and combinations here.
The length of your shirt will vary with style. Generally straight hems are shorter and worn untucked, while curved hems are longer and remain more easily tucked throughout the day. Although untucked shirts are more acceptable these days, the sharp look of a tucked shirt is always worth the effort. For the die-hards there are always shirt stays, though I feel these may only be available in museums soon.
Finally the chest, waist and seat area should fit comfortable, with enough room to move comfortably. Depending on your body and taste, back darts can give a great look and fit, though they can restrict movement a bit if too tight.
If you’re just starting to build out your wardrobe, a few shirts in different colours will easily give you a sufficient styles to pair between your jeans and suits, according to the situation.
– More on Suits –
—Introduction to Suits– Brief History of Suits – Suit Fit, The Trousers – Suit Fit, the Jacket – Suit Fit, the Waistcoat – Suit Fit, the Shirt — Off the Peg Suits – Made to Measure Suits – Bespoke Suits – Some Suit Mistakes –