How to Buy a Dress Shirt Like a Pro in 2023: Expert Tips and Tricks

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how to buy a dress shirt

Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Dress Shirt

When buying a dress shirt, there are several key factors to consider to ensure you make the right choice. These factors include:

1. Fit:

The fit of a dress shirt is crucial in achieving a polished and professional look. It’s important to choose a shirt that fits well around the shoulders, chest, and waist. The two main types of fits are slim fit and regular fit.

  • Slim fit: This style is more tailored and hugs the body closely, creating a sleek and modern silhouette.
  • Regular fit: This style provides more room in the chest and waist area, offering a relaxed and comfortable fit.

2. Fabric:

The fabric of a dress shirt greatly affects its overall quality, comfort, and durability. Common fabrics used for dress shirts include:

  • Cotton: Cotton is the most popular choice due to its breathability, softness, and ability to resist wrinkles.
  • Linen: Linen is lightweight and perfect for warm weather but tends to wrinkle easily.
  • Synthetic blends: These blends often incorporate polyester or rayon for added durability and wrinkle resistance.

Determining Your Correct Size for a Dress Shirt

To find your correct size for a dress shirt, it’s important to take accurate measurements of your neck size, sleeve length, chest circumference, and waist circumference. Here’s how:

1. Neck Size:

Measure around your neck at the base where the collar would sit comfortably. Make sure to leave enough room for two fingers to slide between your neck and the measuring tape.

2. Sleeve Length:

Start from the center of the back of your neck and measure to your shoulder, down your arm, and to your wrist bone. This measurement determines the sleeve length you need.

3. Chest Circumference:

Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your chest, under your armpits, and across your shoulder blades. Make sure it’s snug but not too tight.

4. Waist Circumference:

Measure around your natural waistline, which is usually just above your belly button. Ensure that the measuring tape is parallel to the floor and not too tight or loose.

Once you have these measurements, refer to a size chart provided by the brand or retailer to find the dress shirt size that corresponds to your measurements. Keep in mind that different brands may have slightly different sizing standards, so it’s always helpful to check customer reviews for insights on fit.

Finding a Wide Range of Options for Dress Shirts

When it comes to finding a wide range of options for dress shirts, there are several avenues you can explore. One option is to visit department stores or specialty clothing stores that offer a variety of brands and styles. These stores often have a dedicated section for dress shirts, making it easy to browse through different options.

Another option is to shop online. Many websites offer an extensive selection of dress shirts in various colors, patterns, and sizes. Online shopping allows you to compare prices and styles from the comfort of your own home. Additionally, some online retailers offer customization options, allowing you to choose specific features such as collar style or cuff type.

Shopping at Department Stores

Department stores are a great place to start when looking for a wide range of dress shirt options. They typically carry multiple brands and offer different fits and styles. Some popular department stores known for their dress shirt selections include Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s.

Browsing Online Retailers

If you prefer the convenience of shopping from home, online retailers like Amazon, ASOS, and Men’s Wearhouse have vast collections of dress shirts available. These websites often provide detailed product descriptions and customer reviews to help you make an informed decision.

  • Visit department stores like Nordstrom or Macy’s
  • Explore online retailers such as Amazon or ASOS
  • Consider specialty clothing stores for unique options

Common Types of Fabrics Used for Dress Shirts

Dress shirts come in various fabrics, each with its own characteristics and benefits. Understanding the common types of fabrics used can help you choose a shirt that suits your needs and preferences.


Cotton is the most popular fabric for dress shirts due to its breathability, softness, and durability. It is versatile and can be worn in different seasons. Egyptian cotton and Supima cotton are known for their high quality.


Linen is a lightweight fabric that is perfect for warm weather. It has a natural texture and provides excellent breathability. However, it tends to wrinkle easily.

  • Cotton: breathable, soft, and durable
  • Egyptian cotton: known for its high quality
  • Supima cotton: another premium cotton option
  • Linen: lightweight and breathable, but wrinkles easily
  • Polyester: less breathable but resistant to wrinkles
  • Silk: luxurious and smooth, but requires delicate care

Choosing the Right Color and Pattern for a Dress Shirt

The color and pattern of a dress shirt can significantly impact your overall look. When choosing the right color, consider factors such as your skin tone, hair color, and the occasion you will be wearing the shirt for.

Neutral Colors

Neutral colors like white, light blue, or gray are versatile options that can be paired with various suits or trousers. They are suitable for both formal and casual occasions.

Bold Colors

If you want to make a statement or add some personality to your outfit, consider bold colors like burgundy or navy blue. These colors can add depth to your overall look while still maintaining a professional appearance.

  • Neutral colors (white, light blue, gray): versatile and suitable for various occasions
  • Bold colors (burgundy, navy blue): add personality and depth to your outfit
  • Patterns (stripes, checks, polka dots): can add visual interest to your shirt
  • Consider your skin tone and hair color when choosing colors

Different Collar Styles Available for Dress Shirts

The collar style of a dress shirt can greatly influence its overall look. There are several common collar styles to choose from, each with its own aesthetic appeal and suitability for different face shapes.

Point Collar

The point collar is the most traditional and widely used collar style. It has a narrow spread between the collar points and works well with most face shapes.

Spread Collar

A spread collar has wider collar points that create a larger distance between them. This style is more modern and suits individuals with longer or narrower faces.

  • Point Collar: traditional and versatile
  • Spread Collar: modern and suitable for longer or narrower faces
  • Mandarin Collar: band-like collar without points, often seen in formal attire
  • Cutaway Collar: wide spread between points, provides a bold look
  • Button-Down Collar: casual style with buttons to secure the collar tips
  • Choose a collar style that complements your face shape and personal style

Features and Details to Look for in a High-Quality Dress Shirt

A high-quality dress shirt should not only look good but also have certain features and details that contribute to its overall durability and comfort. When shopping for a dress shirt, pay attention to the following aspects:

Fabric Quality

Check the fabric quality by feeling the shirt. Look for smoothness, thickness, and overall construction. High-quality fabrics tend to have a softer feel and better drape.

Stitching and Construction

Inspect the stitching of the dress shirt. Look for tight and even stitches, especially around stress points like buttons or collars. Well-constructed shirts are less likely to develop loose threads or seams.

  • Fabric quality: look for softness, thickness, and good drape
  • Stitching and construction: check for tight and even stitches
  • Collar reinforcement: ensure proper collar stiffness and shape retention
  • Button quality: buttons should be securely attached with reinforced stitching
  • Cuff style: choose between barrel cuffs or French cuffs based on your preference
  • Consider additional features like wrinkle resistance or moisture-wicking properties

Ensuring Proper Fit Around Shoulders and Arms in a Dress Shirt

The fit of a dress shirt is crucial for both comfort and style. Paying attention to the fit around your shoulders and arms can make a significant difference in how well the shirt looks on you.

Shoulder Fit

The shoulder seam of the dress shirt should align with your natural shoulder line without hanging over or pulling too tightly. A proper shoulder fit ensures that the rest of the shirt drapes well on your body.

Sleeve Length

The sleeves should end at your wrist bone when your arms are relaxed at your sides. Avoid sleeves that are too short or excessively long, as they can detract from the overall appearance of the shirt.

  • Shoulder fit: ensure the shoulder seam aligns with your natural shoulder line
  • Sleeve length: sleeves should end at your wrist bone when arms are relaxed
  • Consider slim fit or regular fit based on your body type and personal preference
  • Try different brands or get professional measurements for a more accurate fit

Deciding Between Slim Fit or Regular Fit for a Dress Shirt

The choice between slim fit and regular fit dress shirts depends on your body type and personal style preferences. Understanding the differences between these fits can help you make an informed decision.

Slim Fit

Slim fit dress shirts have a narrower cut through the chest, waist, and arms. They provide a more tailored and fitted look, suitable for individuals with a slimmer or athletic build.

Regular Fit

Regular fit dress shirts have a looser cut that provides more room in the chest, waist, and arms. They offer greater comfort and ease of movement, making them suitable for individuals with a broader build or those who prefer a relaxed fit.

  • Slim Fit: narrower cut for a more tailored look (suitable for slimmer builds)
  • Regular Fit: looser cut for greater comfort and ease of movement (suitable for broader builds)
  • Consider trying both fits to see which one flatters your body type better
  • Some brands may have their own variations of slim or regular fits, so check their size charts

Appropriate Price Range and Affordable Options for Dress Shirts

The price range for dress shirts can vary greatly depending on factors such as brand, fabric quality, and additional features. It’s important to find a balance between your budget and the quality you desire.

Budget-Friendly Options

If you’re looking for affordable dress shirts, there are several options available. Many department stores offer budget-friendly brands that still provide decent quality. Additionally, online retailers often have sales or discounts that can help you find affordable options.

Mid-Range to High-End Brands

If you’re willing to invest in higher-quality dress shirts, mid-range to high-end brands like Brooks Brothers or Charles Tyrwhitt offer a wide range of options. These brands often use premium fabrics and pay attention to details like stitching and construction.

  • Department store brands: offer budget-friendly options with decent quality
  • Online retailers: look for sales or discounts for affordable dress shirts
  • Mid-range to high-end brands: invest in higher-quality shirts from reputable brands
  • Consider the cost per wear when evaluating the price of a dress shirt
  • Take advantage of seasonal sales or clearance events to find discounted options

In conclusion, buying a dress shirt involves considering factors such as fit, fabric, style, and price. By following these guidelines and conducting thorough research, one can confidently select a dress shirt that meets their needs and preferences.

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