Check any modern gentleman’s wardrobe and you are sure to find several varieties of men’s dress shirts. They are a staple garment in most men’s closets but most men aren’t aware of how to choose a dress shirt that is right for them. Men’s dress shirts have been worn for centuries and have changed throughout the ages to suit men’s tastes and position in life. Collars, cuffs, cuts, and colors all had a significant impact on how one was viewed in the past and this is still true today. Let’s take a quick look at these four key elements.



  1. Dress Shirts Collars Types
  2. Dress Shirts Cuffs Styles
  3. Cuts and Fits of Dress Shirts
  4. Dress Shirts Colors
  5. In The ends


Dress Shirts Collars Types

Fashion trends back in the 1700’s had men wearing shirts with rather large removable lace collars and frilly cuffs. Collar sizes and shapes varied widely throughout the history of men’s dress shirts. From high stiff collars to soft spread collars, pointed, rounded, starched and detachable. All these and more were available at one time or another and had their moments of trendy fashion fame. For more information on collar types through the ages click here.

While you can still find many of these collars on today’s men’s dress shirts, one thing you may want to keep in mind is how the collar shape can help to balance out the shape of your face and make you look your best. If your face is more round than square you might opt for a pointed collar to elongate your face. If you have a more angular face shape, try wearing a spread collar to add the semblance of width.


Men's Dress Shirts - collar styles


Dress Shirts Cuffs Styles

The cuff styles of men’s dress shirt have varied throughout the centuries from the plain and simple styles of the working man to the ornate lace of clergy and the rich. Since the cuff was the only part of a man’s shirt that could readily be seen for many years, the styles evolved wildly from fancy frills and laces to the three basic styles we have today.

The button or barrel cuff is most common in modern men’s dress shirts, having a button on one side and a hole for the button on the other. Link cuffs have holes on both sides of the cuff requiring a cufflink to be used for closure. The French cuff style shirt is the most popular style of link cuff shirt. It has cuffs that are twice as long as the barrel cuff style and are folded back over itself and fastened with the cufflink. And finally, the convertible cuff shirt has both buttonholes and buttons and can be worn either as a barrel cuff style or as a cufflink styled shirt. For more information on dress shirt cuff styles, click here.

Men's Dress Shirts - cuff styles


Cut and Fit Of Dress Shirts

The cut and fit of men’s dress shirts range from the classic fit to the modern fit styles. The classic fit has a boxy shape and generous amounts of fabric in the arms and torso. This helps larger sized men to be comfortable. This style of dress shirt was most popular at the beginning of the 19th century. They were most often worn with three-piece suits and provided comfort and mobility.

The slim fit or skinny fit dress shirt is popular with the younger professional male. They often times opt to wear this style dress shirt without the standard vest and jacket. While it is more restricting in movement, it shows off more of the physique. This style looks better when worn alone by men with slimmer builds.

The modern fit or contemporary fit style of men’s dress shirts is the best of both the classic and slim fit styles. It has less fabric like the slim fit style. Therefore it shows off more of the body while retaining the comfortability of the classic fit style. This style works well with those that have a more athletic build with larger arms and a trimmer torso.

Men's Dress Shirts


Dress Shirts Colors

The color explosion in men’s dress shirts did not take place until the early 1900’s. Up until then, men’s dress shirts were always white. This avoidance of color signified that men who wore white shirts were of a higher class. They didn’t have to toil in professions that required them to get their hands dirty. Thus resulting in clean white cuffs and shirts.

We have the fashion sense of British men to thank for bringing color and pattern to the modern men’s dress shirt. In the early 1900’s they introduced colored stripes and patterns of their more casual fashions into their business fashion. Colors like blue and green stripes on a crisp white shirt began the trend. They then moved forward with varying stripe styles and thicknesses. Followed by other patterns like polka dots and light colored checks.

Today’s modern gentlemen have a wide variety of colors and patterns to choose from in their dress shirts. White is still very high on the list of colors to choose from. White is such a versatile color and goes with everything. Newer more trendy colors are currently being spotted in modern men’s dress shirts. They include pastel shades of pink and lavender as well as darker more saturated colors of royal blue and purple. Even shades of green and orange are becoming more popular in men’s business fashions.



In The End

Wearing the standard colors of navy, gray or black will never go out of style for men’s fashion. These newer cuts and colors are evolving men’s business apparel into an era where the modern gentleman can express his style and fashion sense more freely.

Ultimately what a man chooses to adorn himself with is entirely a matter of his own tastes and style. However, the modern gentleman knows the tips and tricks to make himself look his very best with ease. Knowing the art of dressing well doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. When you look good, you feel good and your confidence shows.

With some of the basics of men’s dress shirts covered, we hope that you have some new found knowledge. Use to improve your own personal style as well as influence your dress shirt selections in the future. Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world“. This includes your world as well.

If you are ready to upgrade your dress shirt selection, your entire wardrobe, or just your accessory collection then click here to see the selections available now in our store.


One thought on “Men’s Dress Shirts – A Guide To the Basics

  1. Sariah Meagle says:

    Personally, I think the collar type of a dress shirt should always flatter the user. If the cuff of the white physique tailored button-up dress shirt needs a cufflink, I’ll be sure to buy it online. Thanks for mentioning that the fit should also work well with my cousin so I’ll make sure that he gets to wear a good shirt for his wedding.

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