Best Men's Dress Shirts

Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for Best men’s dress shirts 

Whether you dress up every day for work or only go all out for special occasions, every man needs at least a few smart-looking dress shirts in the closet. However, looking for men’s dress shirts often feels overwhelming because there are so many options from which to choose.

Finding the best shirt for your wardrobe starts with getting the size and fit just right. When shopping, you will see that some men’s dress shirts are marketed as having a slim fit, whereas others may have a regular fit or a “full fit.”

You also have to choose from a wide array of fabric and style options, such as cotton, linen, and broadcloth. There are plenty of collar, cuff, and color choices, too. Most men need more than one dress shirt, so it helps to find a few options for your closet that are comfortable and look good. 

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Cotton holds onto dye well, so if you’re considering a brightly colored men’s dress shirt for your wardrobe, it’s best to stick to a cotton style. 

Key considerations

How to find your dress shirt size

Selecting the right size is essential if you want your dress shirt to look sharp and polished. To find your proper size, you must measure your neck, chest, arms, and waist. You can visit a tailor and have them take your measurements or ask a friend to measure you at home. 

For your neck, wrap the tape measure around your neck at the base where it meets your shoulders. Record the exact measurement if you prefer a tight fit. If you like your collar to have a looser fit, measure your neck with one finger beneath the tape. 

To get your chest measurement, hold the measuring tape around your torso, just under your armpits. You should cover the broadest part of your chest without holding the tape too tight. 

For your arms, measure from the center of the back of your neck to the end of your shoulder where your arm begins. Next, hold the tape measure from the end of your shoulder to your wrist. Flex your arm slightly to provide some extra room, so the shirt’s arms aren’t too tight. Add the first number to the second number for your full arm measurement.

Finally, to measure your waist, wrap the tape measure around the bottom of your torso, right where your navel is. If you want a loose fit at the bottom of your shirt, place a finger under the tape when measuring. 

Types of dress shirt fit

While you want to ensure you get the right size for your dress shirt, you can also choose from several fit options. 

  • Slim fit, sometimes known as a tailored or athletic fit, offers the closest fit of any dress shirt. It works well for men with a leaner build because its structure clings close to the waist. Slim-fit shirts are usually a poor option for men with a more muscular build. 
  • Regular fit, or a normal fit, is the most common fit for men’s dress shirts. It has a slightly relaxed fit throughout the body but can still look polished when the shirt isn’t tucked in. Regular-fit shirts work well for most men. 
  • Full fit, or a loose fit, has the most relaxed, casual look. It’s loose in the chest, arms, and waist and usually has a slightly longer hem. Full-fit shirts work well for men with a tall or muscular build.

Popular fabrics

Men’s dress shirts come in various fabrics, natural and synthetic. Choosing a fabric is mostly a matter of personal preference, but some materials are better in certain weather than others.

Some of the most popular materials for dress shirts include: 

  • Cotton: This is the most common fabric for men’s dress shirts because it breathes well, has a soft feel, and is easy to wash. 
  • Cotton blends: These shirts feature cotton as well as a synthetic material to give you the best of both worlds. A dress shirt with a cotton/spandex blend has some stretch for a more comfortable fit, while a cotton/polyester blend helps a shirt resist wrinkling. 
  • Linen: This material works well for a summer dress shirt because it breathes well and wicks moisture away from the body. However, it’s highly prone to wrinkling, so it requires ironing. Linen shirts tend to have a more casual look.
  • Oxford cloth: This material has a heavier, thicker texture than cotton, giving it a more rugged look. Dress shirts made with it are usually more durable and work well for outdoor wear. 
  • Broadcloth: This material has a tightly woven construction that gives it a silky feel and a slight sheen. It works well for occasions when you want to stand out. 

 

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Staff Tip
Want to try a patterned dress shirt? In addition to stripes, checkered and plaid shirts are usually the easiest to wear. 
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Dress shirt features

Collar style

Men’s dress shirts offer several collar types. Choosing a collar style also comes down to your preference, but some of the most common collar types include:

  • Straight-point collars: The most common option for men’s dress shirts. They have V-shaped points you turn down. This style can work for both casual and formal occasions.
  • Spread collars: Similar to straight-point collars, but the points are spread out further. They’re suitable for both casual and formal occasions.  
  • Button-down collars: Similar to straight-point collars, but the points fasten to the shirt with buttons. This design can help secure your tie, but it’s usually not appropriate for formal occasions. 
  • Tab collars: Similar to button-down collars, but the points are fastened with tabs under the collar. They’re designed only to be worn with ties. 
  • Pinned collars: Similar to tab collars, but the points are fastened with a straight pin. 

Cuff style

You can find men’s dress shirts with a few types of cuffs.

  • Barrel cuffs, also known as button cuffs, feature at least one button that closes them. If the cuffs have multiple buttons, you can easily adjust the fit. 
  • French cuffs, also known as double cuffs, feature fabric that folds over and is closed with a cufflink. Shirts with French cuffs are generally considered more formal.
  • Convertible cuffs can be fastened with either buttons or cufflinks.

Color

When it comes to choosing a color for your dress shirt, it all comes down to your personal style. 

Solid white dress shirts are a classic option and can work with any suit or pants in your closet. Light blue shirts are another popular option, versatile enough for use with many suit colors. Other light colors, such as dove gray or pale pink, are also versatile options. Brighter or darker colors typically work best for casual situations. 

You can also find men’s dress shirts with patterns. White or light-colored shirts with thin stripes are suitable for the office, but more vivid patterns generally work best for casual social occasions.

Pockets

Some men’s dress shirts have pockets. Styles with two pockets typically have a more casual look. If you plan to wear your shirt with suspenders or a vest, stick to options without pockets.

Stay away from shirts made of synthetic materials for the summer. Fabrics such as polyester and rayon don’t breathe as well as natural fabrics, so you can get pretty uncomfortable in the heat. 

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Accessories

Men’s dress shoes

When you need to dress up, men’s dress shoes are an essential part of your outfit. We love Allen Edmonds’ McAllister Wing Tips because they feature truly durable construction and padding in the footbed to make them more comfortable. 

Men’s dress watches

A dress watch can finish off your outfit perfectly when you’re dressing to impress. The Eco-Drive Stainless Steel Chronograph Watch from Citizen is a standout because it has a sleek modern look and is solar-powered, so you don’t have to worry about replacing the battery. 

Pricing

Men’s dress shirts usually cost between $15 and $300, but they can vary in price based on the fabric, fit, and style details. 

Inexpensive: The most affordable men’s dress shirts are usually made of cotton, a cotton blend, or synthetic materials. They typically have barrel cuffs and straight-point collars. These shirts generally cost between $15 and $50.

Mid-range: Mid-range men’s dress shirts are usually made of higher-quality cotton or linen. They can have either barrel or French cuffs and feature a few collar styles. These shirts typically cost between $48 and $115.

Expensive: The most expensive men’s dress shirts are usually made of high-quality cotton, linen, Oxford cloth, or broadcloth. Most feature French cuffs and are available in a wider range of collar styles. These shirts generally cost between $98 and $300

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Staff Tip
If your shirt has a stain, pre-treat the spot with a stain remover spray or pen before putting it in the washer.  
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Tips

  • The finger test. A dress shirt’s collar fits properly if you can comfortably stick two fingers between it and your neck. If more than two fingers fit, the collar is too loose. If only one finger fits, the collar is too tight. 
  • The button test. To make sure that your shirt’s overall fit isn’t too tight, check that none of the buttons are pulling across your torso. On the other hand, if there’s loose fabric at your waist, your shirt is too large. 
  • The length test. A well-fitting men’s dress shirt should be long enough that you can wear it tucked or untucked. When wearing it untucked, make sure the hem hits just under your back pockets. If you tuck it in, make sure you can raise your arms without the shirttail coming loose from your pants. 
  • The pocket test. Avoid shirts with pockets for formal occasions. They have a relaxed look that works better for casual situations. 
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When measuring yourself to determine your dress shirt size, make sure to use a cloth tape measure. It offers the most accurate measurements.

FAQ

Q. What’s the best way to clean a dress shirt?

A. It depends on the shirt’s fabric, so always check the care instructions on the label. Most cotton shirts can be cleaned in your washer, but some other materials may require dry cleaning or hand washing.  

For machine washing, start by undoing the shirt’s buttons and removing its collar stays before tossing it in your washer. It’s vital to use the delicate cycle to avoid any damage to the shirt. After washing, take it out of the machine as soon as the cycle is done to prevent wrinkling, and lay it flat or hang it from a line to dry. Before you put it back in your closet, though, make sure to iron the shirt to remove any wrinkles. 

Q. How many men’s dress shirts should I have? 

A. It varies depending on how often you wear one. Men who wear a dress shirt to work daily should usually have seven to 12 in their closet, so you always have clean options if you haven’t had a chance to do your laundry. If you only wear them for special occasions, though, you can usually get by with just two or three. 

Q. What’s the best color for a men’s dress shirt to be worn with a black suit?

A. A black suit makes a statement, so it’s usually best to go with a simple shirt. White is the most classic option, but a pale blue also works well. 

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