We discussed sport shirts last week and I believe you are enjoying wearing them right already. Today’s the day for the most important shirt for office people – Nigerian bankers spend a percentage more than the salary of many Nigerians on these shirts monthly, but that’s because they need it, they have to wear the dress shirt four days a week, and they have to wear quality to live up to the way most of you expect them to be. You may not need dress shirts as more as they do, but I’m sure you’ll need it once a while, so don’t stop reading here.
Dress shirts are the more expensive shirts you’d wear with a suit and a tie. They should be 100 percent cotton, and will be made of dressier, smoother, more luxurious cotton than your sport shirts, since they’re meant for dressier occasions.
If you don’t wear a suit to work every day, odds are you’re not going to need many dress shirts. Since they’re expensive…yes, the real, good dress shirts are expensive, there’s no need to make that investment. All the average guy needs is a few really great dress shirts, so get yourself a white one, a blue one, and maybe a stripe and you’ll be fine. If you have to wear a dress shirt to work every day and you can wear your shirt more than one daily due to the weather condition that means you’d sweat so much your shirt gets dirty, well, maybe you’d need more dress shirts than the average guy. Whichever category you belong to, make sure you invest in quality and not quantity. You’d be better of that way, I promise.
Dress shirts are meant to fit precisely, so it’s important to pay attention to sizing. If you’re in doubt about your size, go to a fine quality department store or menswear store and have them measure you.
The first thing to consider is sleeve length. When you have your suit jacket on, you want to see about one quarter inch of the shirt cuff. The cuffs should fall roughly one inch below your wrist bone. Not sure about this claim though, but I heard if your mum smoked during pregnancy, chances are your arms are longer than usual.
Dress shirts are also going to fit differently in the neck from sport shirts. When you button the neck on a sport shirt, it’s not going to be an authentic fit. It will be sized bigger than your neck, because it’s meant to be worn open, not all buttoned up, like we see on some ‘fashion-twisted’ men these days. Dress shirts, on the other hand, are true to fit. When you button them closed to wear a tie – which is what they are meant for, they should fit your neck snuggly. That means you should be able to slide in two fingers easily inside the collar; no more, no less. You don’t have to choke yourself to follow the ‘fit your neck snuggly’ rule.
Good dress shirts are made of fine cotton that is not pre-shrunk like sportswear is. So, when you try them on for the first time, the neck may be a teeny bit large, and the sleeves may be a little long. That’s still okay because after about three washings, they’ll shrink to the right size. Dress shirts may also be leaner in the side seams; this is to ensure they’re not bulky under your suit jacket. The shirt tail may also be longer than a sport shirt, so it stays tucked into your pants. You won’t look responsible or tidy if your keeps jumping out of your pants on different sides.
A lot of men are understandably lost when it comes to choosing the right kind of collar. Worry no more. Collars sure are important because your face is your art, and in case you don’t know, your collar frames your face and draws the eye upward. Find the collar type that looks best on you, and don’t you worry yourself about the rules you see in men’s magazines about the kind of collar that fits a long round face or whatever face they describe. There is no absolute rule my friends, just make sure you keep it in balance.
If you are wearing a POINT COLLAR, which is dressier than a button-down, the point collar is the most common and versatile. You can wear it open without a tie if you want to, or pair it with a sweater or suit.
You have to wear a SPREAD COLLAR with a tie. Because it’s a spread collar, without a tie there would be a big gap in the middle. It will only make you look like a nun who has lost his white collar. It’s never right to wear it without a tie.
A tie has to be worn with a TAB COLLAR too. The little bridge of cotton that holds the collar in place behind your tie makes for a very neat and conservative, dressed-up, and well-tailored look, meant to go with a dressier suit.
WHITE CONTRAST COLLAR. This is where the body of the shirt is a colour, but the collar is white. This is a very dressed-up, very English look. It’s really sharp, and looks very nice on everyone. Try it if you haven’t.
There is more to discuss on dress shirts, but we can’t say it all today. Be here again next week to read more.