10 Dress Shirts You Need In Your Wardrobe
With almost twenty years of experience in tailoring bespoke garments, I can offer some solid advice on how to build your wardrobe with the shirts you will need to serve you day-to-day.
I am often asked where to start with attaining a collection of dress shirts that will suit a businessman’s wardrobe. My answer is always; start with the basics – solid colours, fine patterns, and subtle textures. Next, you can start adding a few stronger colours and patterns. You want to create your signature look, so make sure you choose colours and patterns that suit your skin tone, colouring, and personal style.
I have selected my top 10, which are some of the most popular made-to-measure shirts I make frequently for my clients and which I believe are the most versatile. Whether you wear a suit often, or your day-to-day look is more relaxed all of these fabrics and patterns will have a solid place in your wardrobe.
1. White Oxford
This is an absolute classic. Whether it is single, double, or triple-ply cotton; a crisp white Oxford shirt is the absolute basic. Go for a French cuff for a more formal look or a button-down collar for a more casual option.
2. White Twill
The other classic. I love Twill, it has a bit of a natural sheen to it, and therefore it is more formal looking than Oxford, but it has a place in your wardrobe. I would ensure this with has a nice Cut-Away collar and French Cuffs.
3. Ice-Blue Twill
I love this shade of blue. It is very subtle but looks beautiful under a navy or grey suit and it works with every skin tone. You could opt for this colour in either an Oxford or a Twill, but for businesswear, this is a winner
4. Pink Gingham
It’s time for some colour now. Every man should own a pink shirt, a tiny Gingham Check is the way to do it. The pattern is subtle enough to wear with a suit and tie and can also double as a lovely semi-formal or casual option with tailored chinos or denim.
5. Navy Bengal Stripe
Stripes are coming back, they are big, bold, and called Bengal. I love the Navy because it is potent yet versatile. You could go for any shade of blue but to round out your selection, I would do this with a Cut-Away Collar and French Cuffs for a very Wall Street banker look.
6. Blue Hounds-tooth
Now it’s time for some texture. I love the solid tonality of this shirt but up close you can see the tiny white/blue contrast in the weave. This shirt looks great with a tie, but I often wear my shirt open-collared.
7. Light Blue Prince of Wales
This cotton is a must-have, I love the traditional pattern. It comes in a few shades of blue and navy, but this soft baby blue shade makes it so versatile. It can look formal with a dark navy suit and dark blue tie, but also looks beautiful with a button-down collar for a more casual feel.
8. Lilac Buffalo Check
Here we are introducing a new colour. It doesn’t have to be lilac, it could be green, purple or any other colour you like. Lilac is soft enough to work with a variety of suits and casual attire. The buffalo check pattern always works well with solid ties but I generally like them open-collared for a more casual look.
9. Olive Linen Blend
We are entering our casual shirt section here. I love this Linen and Cotton blend shirt, it comes in around 10 different colours, but the olive is my favourite. I wear it in the warmer months with tailored chinos and a sports jacket. When your shirt is 100% linen the fabric wrinkles quite easily. This shirt is 55% cotton and 45% linen, which means it looks like linen but behaves like cotton.
10. Navy Stretch Cotton Crepe
Every man needs a dark shirt. Black can be too draining on paler skin types and a little Sopranos looking on others. A solid navy blue has depth, elegance, and versatility. I love this fabric because it is the easiest shirt in the world to iron and the stretch makes it super comfortable to wear. Ideal for a more casual look but can also be worn with a sports jacket ensemble.