There are three main functions that need to be fulfilled by the shirts in a Gentleman’s wardrobe, namely, Formal, Informal and Casual.
Correctly speaking, a formal shirt is one worn with white-tie or morning dress, but for the purposes of this article we shall consider black-tie to be formal as well, as that seems to be the current everyday thinking.
The basic requirements are that the shirt should be white; 120s or 170s poplin fabric will work, but better still is a voile which is an almost sheer cotton fabric. This will ensure that the wearer does not get too warm during the evening’s proceedings. The front of the shirt should be made up with a bib, commonly using Marcella cotton, with the collars and cuffs also finished from the same fabric as the bib.
Preferred collars for formal shirts are the wing-collar, but for black-tie you may use a standard turn-down collar, a spread collar looking stylish with a bow-tie.
Contrary to what many believe, informal dress is not synonymous with casual. Informal is what would be worn in the day for business, that is, a lounge suit and shirt.
Informal shirts are often termed incorrectly, formal, by some online shirt vendors. The colour palette available for informal wear is much wider than for formal, but a few basics like plain white, light blue and cream are essentials for any businessman’s wardrobe. Poplins are suitable but an end-on-end or pinpoint can add some interest – but do not exceed 120s for the thread count as it is likely to leave you looking dishevelled after a busy day in a warm office.
We also suggest expanding on this range of plain colour shirts with a range of striped shirts, such as a Bengal stripe in blue, red and wine colours.
Collars for informal shirts should be turn-down. Cutaway, spread and point collars all work but the best for you will depend on the shape of your face and body dimensions.
Cuffs can be fold-back or barrel depending on personal taste.
Casual shirts are generally worn without a tie so a button-down collar is a popular choice here. Consider also a spread collar with soft collars.
The many varieties of checks are especially suitable to the casual environment. If plain shirts are what you want for casual wear then a shirt from oxford cotton fits the bill nicely.
Putting it together
Our suggestion for a wardrobe of shirts covering all social situations is as follows:
- Formal white shirt, wing collar, Voile Cotton, Marcella bib
- Formal white shirt, turndown collar, 140s Poplin, Marcella bib
- Informal white shirt, spread collar, 120s end-on-end, turn-back cuffs x 2
- Informal white shirt, spread collar, 120s poplin, barrel cuff
- Informal light-blue shirt, spread collar, 120s end-on end, turn-back cuff x 2
- Informal light-blue shirt, spread collar, 120s poplin, barrel cuff
- Informal bengal stripe shirts, 120s poplin, cuffs of your choice x 2
- Casual checked 100s poplin, barrel cuff x 3
- Casual plain oxford, button down, barrel cuff x 2
Fifteen shirts that should suit any situation or event you find yourself in.There are three main functions that need to be fulfilled by the shirts in a Gentleman’s wardrobe, namely, Formal, Informal and Casual.
black t shirt
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write by Leander