How to Select and Wear the Perfect Dress Shirt

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“You never get a second chance at a first impression.” – Emily Post

Research shows that visual presentation counts for more than half of the impression we make on others. In most cases, when your visual image is top notch, it will be assumed that you possess all other talents, personality and characteristic traits that accompany that image. Selecting the best dress shirt for your physique, and wearing it properly, is integral to presenting a successful image!

  • Button-Down or Spread Collar? – A button down-collar is considered informal and academic and should never be worn for evening events. A spread collar is considered the dressiest collar. The spread of the collar should be selected based on your face shape. If you have a round face, select a narrower spread collar with longer collar points. If you have a long face, select a wider spread collar with shorter collar points. Men with a short neck should purchase shirts with a shorter collar and men with long necks should select shirts with a higher collar to create a visual balance.
  • T-shirt or No T-shirt? – The choice as to whether or not to wear an undershirt is really a matter of personal preference and style. You may decide to wear an undershirt for reasons of warmth, comfort, hygiene or style. A few reasons to consider wearing a T-shirt include the following. If you perspire, the T-shirt will keep your dress shirt looking fresh and less wrinkled. The T-shirt will also keep your shirt from unsightly underarm stains. If your shirt is light color or slightly see through, the T-shirt will keep the world from viewing your nipples!
  • What About French Cuffs, Pockets and Short Sleeves? – French cuffs send a message of class, so you need to be keenly aware of your audience. If you are going to be in a more casual environment I do not recommend French cuffs, as you will appear overdone or flashy. If you are at a formal business function or an evening event the French cuffs will make you stand out from the crowd looking marvelous. Dress shirts worn with a suit should not have a pocket. Keep your business cards, etc., in your coat pocket or briefcase and never wear a short sleeve dress shirt!
  • What About Color and Pattern? – Color is great, although avoid extreme colors such as dark blue, burgundy, or black. Various shades of blue, peach, soft yellow, pink, and lavender are all good choices. Anyone can wear a solid shirt, but stripes and checks can add variety and personality to your ensemble.
  • Does Your Shirt Fit Properly? – Know your body. . . If you are trim wear a tapered shirt. If you are trying to hide an extra 10+ pounds, definitely wear a full-cut shirt (no one wants to look at the shape of your belly button!). If you are wearing a tie you must be able to put two fingers between your collar and your neck, otherwise, your shirt is too tight. Conversely, if you can fit your more than two fingers in between the collar and your neck, the shirt is too big! The sleeve length should extend ¼ to ½ inch beyond your jacket.

You are better off to wear a mid-priced shirt that is the right style and fit for you, versus wearing an expensive designer shirt that does not work best for your face, neck, and body shape. Custom made shirts are a great investment, and should definitely be considered for those of you who are hard to fit or desire unique styling accents/options.

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