Style tips on dress shirts - Choosing colours and patterns

Style tips on dress shirts - Choosing colours and patterns

When you woke up this morning and got yourself readied up for the work day, what made you decide for exactly ‘that’ dress shirt? Do you ever find yourself being ‘stuck’, not knowing what kind of dress shirt to pair with your suit jacket or trousers?

This article will walk you through everything that you need to know about dress shirts in order to help you present yourself as the true professional you are (or should be).

The businessman and his dress shirts

Most (business)men do understand that they are sized up rather quickly by others based on their physical appearance during their first encounter. The phrase “you have 2 seconds to impress them” is very much true. It is to their advantage to come across as professionally dressed. However, what constitutes acceptable clothing, and what does it really mean to dress professionally?

Understanding dress code etiquette, and how it affects the professional appearance, can start in many places. Today however we’ll begin the men’s dress shirt.

Colours & patterns for the working gentleman’s dress shirt

Dress shirts are available in a large range of colours and patterns. A vast range of choice, making the choice not an easy one, admitted. However, the smart businessman will make sure to limit himself to the tried and true colours that truly embodies professionalism, while giving himself room to display his own individualism. In addition to that, the observant businessman always makes sure to pay enough attention to his surroundings, and the unspoken dress code that he finds himself a part of. A conservative Law Firm in Boston is going to have different allowances than that search engine company in Cupertino, California.

Solid dress shirts

The solid coloured type of dress shirts, especially those in white and blue colours are the true epitome of the businessman’s wardrobe. He just needs to have several of those and always an extra one at the office, just in case of an accident. The solid white coloured type of dress shirt has a deep history. To not make it to extensive, here the short version. The man who wore a white coloured dress shirt was considered as one working his mind, not his hands, thus he could pull off wearing this colour without soiling it. Great business colours, in no particular order, are light pink, off-white, lavender, french blue, light blue, and actually just about any of these woven into an oxford.

Quick tip: if you are one of the gents that drink a lot of coffee or smoke and do not bleach your teeth, consider an off-white colour instead of brilliant white. Nothing will highlight a yellow smile like a white collared dress shirt.

Striped dress shirts

The more design that sits atop a dress shirt, the less dressy it ends up being. More casual than a solid white or blue, a striped dress shirt will fit well in almost every workplace in the world. It conveys a sense of business, and the thinner the stripe usually, the more formal the dress shirt. Just be sure that the stripe pattern on your dress shirt are of a different size than any other patterns there may be on the suit.

Checked dress shirts

A businessman’s dress shirt is the most casual pattern of the three we’ve mentioned here, and it is an excellent choice for the weekends, or when he is looking to create a more relaxed appearance. It matches naturally with the button down collar, and looks best on businessmen with a thin or athletic build. Businessmen who are on the craftier side of the scale, should avoid this pattern as it does exaggerate their width and weight.

The beginning of a solid businessman wardrobe

No matter the patterns or colours of a dress shirt, it should only be considered as the foundation of a well-dressed outfit. However, it should not be the most dominant piece. Don’t get us wrong, but the dress shirt is at heart a piece of clothing meant to be worn under a suit or sports jacket; thus it can never be complete without one.
Always ask yourself this; when you’re introduced to a new group of people that you’ll be working with, all similar in age, who do you perceive to be the team leader? Hint; it’s not the guy wearing a polo shirt or khakis. Right, its the gentlemen dressed smartly in a well-fitted dress shirt and sports jacket.  We have expectations of our leaders, and one of them is to dress like the successful people we believe them to be.


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