How A Dress Shirt SHOULD Properly Fit
How to Wear a Dress Shirt
Wearing a dress shirt sounds simple enough, but when the options are in front of you and you're panicking about that job interview or first-date, everything can come crashing down. Tucked or untucked? Solid colored or patterned? The options can be dizzying, but take a deep breath—there are a few dos and don’ts to remember, but after that it all gets easier!
Choosing a Color and Style
Wear a solid colored dress shirt for a classic business look.Solid colors—especially blue and white—are a dress shirt staple. You can also wear a dress shirt casually, but if you're wearing your shirt underneath a suit or with a tie in a formal setting, solid is your best bet.
- If you want to change it up, other great business colors are off-white, gold, light blue, light pink, lavender, and French blue.
- Don't wear yellow unless you have a dark skin tone.
Try a striped dress shirt for slightly more casual option.In general, the more design that's on your dress shirt, the less dressy it is. But striped dress shirts sit in between solid and checkered in terms of class. Wear striped in workplaces and more casual settings, or if you're not sure whether you should dress classy or casual.
- Choose thinner stripes for a more formal look and thicker stripes for a casual look.
- Make sure that the stripe patterns are a different size than other patterns in your outfit, such as on your tie.
Wear a checkered dress shirt for a relaxed, casual look.If you want to look nice for a barbeque or just create a relaxed look, checkered dress shirts are the best choice. Wear checkered dress shirts if you have an athletic or thin build.
- Pair checkered dress shirts with button-down collars.
- Avoid checkered dress shirts if you're on the larger side—they will accentuate your weight and width.
Selecting a Fit
Choose a classic fit dress shirt if you value comfort over style.The classically-fitted dress shirts are more boxy in shape than the slimmer fit shirts of the modern era. There's no shortage of fabric in the body and sleeves and they often have 2 vents on the back near their yoke—the fabric panel behind the collar that extends over the tops of your shoulders.
- Select a classic fit dress shirt if you plan to wear it with a jacket.
- Avoid classic fits if you're on the slim side.
- Try a classic fit if you have a rounder stomach.
Wear a slim fit dress shirt if you value style over comfort.Slim fit shirts are a more modern style with a shaped fit that rests closer to the body with higher armholes. They constrict your movement more than the classical style, so don't wear one if you value comfort over everything. But if you find excess fabric annoying or are planning to wear your shirt without a jacket, go with a slim fit.
- Don't wear a slim fit if you have a belly or love handles.
Try a modern fit for a nice balance of loose and slim.Modern fits have high armholes and sleeves that are a bit wider than slim fits. If you're not feeling the classic or slim shirts, try a modern. Wear modern fit shirts without a jacket or pair it with a jacket and it you can still be comfortable.
- Wear a modern fit if you're not slim but don't have a belly.
Test your dress shirts for proper fit using tried-and-true rules.Fitting a shirt is different for everyone—slimmer people are complimented by a form cut, while larger people look best in looser fits. Regardless, there are some rules to follow for every style: you should be able to fit 2 fingers into the collar when it's buttoned; be able to pinch 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm) of fabric from the chest and waist; have enough tightness at the wrists so the cuffs slip off only when unbuttoned.
- Raise your arms to the side as if they were wings—do the cuffs pull down the forearm? If so, try a shirt with longer sleeves.
- Let your arms hang—if more than 1 inch (2.5 cm) of fabric bunches at the cuff, you need shorter sleeves.
Creating Your Outfit
Wear a classic white shirt for the most outfit possibilities.White goes with pretty much every color, meaning you can pair it with pretty much any tie choice: stripes, modern textures, solid colors, you name it. You also have lots of suit options, like black, gray, navy, or tan. If you're going for a casual look, you can even pair your shirt with some dark denim jeans.
- Pair your white shirt with a black suit and black tie for a classic look.
Choose a blue shirt for a more modern look.Blue is a change from the classic white shirt, but can still be worn in formal and conservative settings. It works best if you have a deep tan complexation, although you can try pale blue if you have pale skin. Stick with powder blue for corporate settings. For suits, go with gray, tan, or savy.
- Mix your blue dress shirt with deep crimson silks or dark patterned ties.
- Try dark green tie variations for a unique corporate look.
Try a black shirt for a sleek, versatile look.If you want to change your outfit up, buy a black dress shirt and experiment! Pair it with a black suit and a blue tie, or wear it without a jacket and choose a white tie. You can also go casual with some black jeans, but always keep your shirt untucked.
- When it comes to suits, go with black and pair it with a lighter colored tie, like white or red.
- Pair your black dress shirt with gray trousers for a semi-formal look.
- Wear your black dress shirt with some lighter toned jeans like blue or gray for a nice contrast.
Mix your patterns with complementary or identical color patterns.If you're going to mix patterns, remember that large scale patterns mix best with small scale patterns. For example, if you're wearing a gray suit with a large scale window pane pattern, don't wear a dress shirt that also has a large scale pattern. Instead, wear a solid colored dress shirt like white or navy blue. And if you're going to add another pattern, make it small scale, such as a polka dot tie.
- Always take note of the pattern of your shirt (solid, polka dot, window pane) and its scale, and be sure that nothing else in your outfit falls into the same 2 categories.
- For example, wear a checkered blue dress shirt with a tie that's a darker shade of blue and a light beige or white suit.
Tuck your shirt in if it's an uneven hem.The bottom hem is the region that is turned under and sewn to the edge of the shirt. If the hem is uneven and has tails in the back or front, it's designed to be tucked in. For shirts that are even in shape across the waist—like a polo or t-shirt—it's up to you!
- If you tuck in a shirt with an even hem, prepare for it to come loose.
- Flannel work shirts, chambray work shirts, and long-sleeved dress shirts are typically always tucked in, even if the hem is even.
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