Shirting is one of the easiest areas to refresh in our style arsenal, but with such a vast array of designs to choose from, where do you begin? Our easy to follow guide will help you sort your Oxfords from your Marcellas, and have you looking crisp and polished whatever the occasion.
The White Shirt
A backbone to both formal and casual looks, the white shirt remains a timeless menswear classic. With formal white shirts (defined by a stiff collar and long sleeves, sometimes with double cuffs), gents with a stockier or larger frame should opt for the classic fit, which offers a little more room. For slimmer gentlemen, opting for a closer slim cut can bring a more modern feel to the look. Lightweight casual white shirts are a great option for summer, and a loose-fitting linen or cotton style will be cooling whilst lending an artistic touch to your outfit.
Where to wear it: To work with your weekday tailoring, formal events and off-duty occasions layered beneath knitwear
Style tip: For a casual summer take, try a loose-fitting linen shirt with a pair of pastel chinos and loafers. Finish by nonchalantly rolling up your sleeves.
The Oxford Shirt
A menswear staple, every man will have one or two of these in his wardrobe. A casual style, the Oxford shirt is identified by its Oxford cloth, usually made of cotton or linen and woven with a fine basket-weave. Some Oxfords have a chest patch pocket, others are pocket-free and can either be plain or printed. Collars are often of the button-down variety. A casual classic, Oxford shirts are lightweight and ideal for layering with knitwear, or wearing solo in accordance with the season.
Style Tip: The Oxford shirt is a great all-rounder and can easily be smarted up with tailoring, or worn casually with denim. During colder spells, pair with a tweed blazer, swapping for a navy cotton jacket when the weather warms. On down days, simply team with a pair of indigo jeans and pop-colour diving loafers
Where to wear it: During casual weekends paired with chinos or denim, or smart- casual occasions with tailored trousers and a blazer.
The Printed Shirt
Menswear is largely dominated by solid tones, so a printed shirt can add a welcome dash of pattern to your aesthetic. Whether you opt for an artful micro-print style, a traditional check or stripe or a bold floral print, a printed shirt will bring a fresh dimension to plain wardrobe staples. If a more subtle approach is your aim, a geometric micro-print shirt is a great way to introduce pattern in a quieter fashion, while the check shirt remains an essential ingredient in today’s menswear offering. For the more daring gent, an abstract or bloom motif is will lend a summery edge to any casual look.
Where to wear it: To offices with a creative outlook, after-hours drinks, weekend gatherings.
Style tip: It’s best to avoid pattern overkill. If you’ve opted for a printed shirt, pair it with solid-tone separates for a more considered approach. A micro floral-print shirt will look great layered with a slim-fitting navy blazer and dark-hued denim.
The Short-Sleeve Shirt
Previously seen as a relic of our grandfather’s closet, short-sleeve shirts are back in a big way. Cotton or linen, plain or printed, the style is the perfect for the warmer months, making them a holiday wardrobe essential. Hawaiian shirts have shaken off their Magnum P.I. and tasteless tourist associations, and have become a bona fide summer style necessity, with high-end and high-street designers creating luxe, contemporary versions. Short-sleeve shirts have equal styling merit with shorts and sandals as they do with tailored trousers and chinos.
Where to wear it: Holidays in warmer climes, sultry days in the city, barbeques and summer outdoor jaunts
Style tip: Avoid dressing up a short-sleeve shirt too much, and leave it out of formal office ensembles. It definitely still works best in casual situations. Invest in a dark-hued Hawaiian shirt for your next jet-set break to warmer climes and team it with a pair of light grey linen shorts, leather sandals and your favourite retro-inspired sunnies for a nonchalant holiday look.
The Dinner Shirt
The dinner shirt or dress shirt is a style we see less and less of these days with the relaxation of dress codes and the waning of black-tie events. Traditionally worn with a dinner suit, the style is identified by a pleated, plain or textured pique ‘bib’ front (known as a Marcella shirt) and double cuffs and is fastened with either enamelled metal dressed studs, or buttons. This style of shirt can have a wing collar or a classic spread collar. Traditional dinner shirts are cut in a classic fit, but contemporary slim fits are a considered choice, particularly if you’ve opted for a close-fitting jacket.
Where to wear it: Formal black tie functions
Style tip: Don’t feel obliged to opt for the more ubiquitous wing collar when choosing a dinner shirt. A classic spread collar offers a neater look as it folds over the neckband of your bowtie and keeps it in place. This is particularly useful if you don’t know how to tie your own bowtie and wish to conceal the clip and adjuster.
Words by Shane Kurup