So we are at the last of the posts dealing with the building of a wardrobe. In past posts we had addressed suits, blazers and sportcoats and the relative strengths of each. Today we move.to the most casual element of the gentleman’s wardrobe, the dress shirt.
Many men today think that the dress shirt is no longer needed except when being worn with a suit or blazer, even suggesting that those can be paired with a Polo shirt or crew neck shirt or light sweater and this is sufficient. While I agree that such looks can be fun and attractive when executed properly, I still believe that the level of class and elegance demonstrated by a properly cared for and stylishly worn dress shirt is worth the effort and investment.
Dress shirts come in two basic types, solids and patterns, and then can be broken down even further. The solids can be defined by color, weave and stitching accents while the patterns can be broken into stripes, checks, window-panes. . . you get the idea. And that is before we even approach the idea of collars (point, button down, spread, narrow, nehru, and on it goes). The point, then, of the dress shirt is to know what it can do and how to make it do what you want as effortlessly as possible. Accomplishing that requires 1 tool and 1 piece of awareness.
The tool is an iron. Despite what celebrities may look like when the paparazzi catch them off guard, an un-ironed dress shirt is an indication that the wearer is not paying attention to details, let alone to the message that his haphazard choices send about him without even trying. If you want to be taken seriously more quickly, especially by people who are meeting you for the first time, consider the time it takes to iron a dress shirt as time well spent.
The awareness is of the way the shirt looks on you and how comfortable you are wearing it. For instance, I like plaids in flannel shirts, but not in dress shirts. I feel uncomfortable when I wear them, and as a result, I avoid the plaid dress shirt even when my friends and the fashion world say they are an indispensable piece of the season’s wardrobe. If I can wear it with confidence, I won’t add it into the mix. By the same token, I love a good sturdy cotton twill. I don’t care if they look dated and somewhat stodgy, I feel much more confident in the piece, so it makes the grade even when some around me would go for anything but.
Remember that these tips are all about putting in place the pieces that allow you to move within professional environments comfortably and confidently.
Hopefully this has given you some things to think about. Do you have questions about the various tiers? Leave them below, and I will answer them ASAP. Til then, live magnificently!