A dress shirt is an essential part of a man's wardrobe and can serve to finish an outfit perfect, frame face or body to highlight features or even mask the signs of being in a tough situation by absorbing perspiration. Dress shirts can be purchased at cheap prices or cost hundreds to get a high quality, perfectly fitting piece of clothing so they are available to every budget. But what makes a dress shirt and how should you pick one?

The most important thing to think about when selecting a dress shirt is the fit. Getting the right fit for taller and larger sized gentlemen can be a little trickier as many shirts are designed specifically for 'average' sized bodies. But by getting the right shirt with the right fit, your look will be complete and the epitome of class.

Definition of a dress shirt
But what is a dress shirt? Or when is a shirt a dress shirt and not a casual shirt? The basic definition of a dress shirt is that is has long sleeves, a collar and cuffs. Traditional materials include cotton and colours are normally neutral, without pattern, so gentle blues, fawns, and greens as well as whites and creams.

dress shirts

Picking a dress shirt fabric
As well as the fit of the shirt, the material it is made from can be important. As mentioned, cotton is the material most commonly used and has been for centuries. A cotton that is made from a fine weave is also a very practical material; it had great heat and moisture control, is long lasting and easy to iron. Good cotton is also smooth and comfortable to wear, something that is important for material that is close to the body.

There are also man-made fibres being utilised in dress shirts that make the shirts more affordable. They can be stain resistant and don't crease easily, making them ideal for everyday wear and for those who are conscious of the cost involved.

For the luxury shirt, go for silk. This is a shirt worn only on occasions as silk can be easy to stain and expensive to maintain. But for that special occasion when you really want to make a statement, a silk dress shirt may be the answer.

Selecting a colour dress shirt
If in doubt when it comes to selecting a shirt colour, go for white. Classical, easy to wear and easy to obtain, white dress shirts have been around for generations and are still the most popular colour.

What is a dress shirt

Blue has become a popular shirt shade as an alternative to white. It was introduced into the US market to give manufacturers alternatives to white and has remained in second place in the popularity stakes.

If you want to stand out from the crown, why not go for one of the less popular colours? Only around 10% of men dare to wear colours such as pink, lavender, forest green or red so by being daring and picking one of these, you will be noticed. Remember to ensure the shirt colour coordinates with the rest of your outfit and your complexion; otherwise, you will stand out for all the wrong reasons!

Dress shirts: Conclusion
When it comes to picking the perfect dress shirt, if you are uncertain then stick with a good quality cotton, white coloured shirt. This will perfectly compliment nearly any complexion and any outfit. It may been seen as the man's equivalent of the little black dress in a ladies wardrobe.

Dress shirts for men