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How to Wear a Dress Shirt

The dress shirt has been a stable of well-dressed men’s wardrobes ever since men began wearing suits in the early 1800s.  There are certain traditions and rules on how to wear a dress shirt for a formal occasion.  There are also new trends in menswear that allow you to adopt a more modern approach to a dress shirt when the occasion is more casual.

how to wear a dress shirt

Image from The Sartorialist

The traditional rules for a formal dress shirt require it to be covered with a suit jacket.  The collar is buttoned and a tie is worn.  The shirt cuffs should be buttoned or fastened with cuff links and the cuffs should extend one quarter inch to one inch beyond the jacket sleeve.  The shirt is neatly tucked in to the suit trousers.

how to wear a dress shirt

Modern way to wear a shirt

The modern approach to wearing a dress shirt does not require a jacket and the shirt doesn’t need to be tucked.  A tie is not required and the collar may be left unbuttoned.  The cuffs may also be left unfastened.  The shirt may be left unbuttoned altogether and worn over a t-shirt that is meant to be seen.

how to wear a dress shirt

Justin Timberlake in Tengossip

Many younger men express their own personal style through their approach to a dress shirt, leaving it partially tucked or rolling up the sleeves.  They might wear it with a vest but no jacket or untucked under a pullover sweater.  However, there still a few fashion “don’ts” that apply to dress shirt style.  Wearing an unbuttoned dress shirt that reveals an expanse of bare chest is passé, as are tight dress shirts that bind at the neck or side seams.  Shirts with large patterns in neon colours went out of style in the 1960s, and unless you’re a cowboy or work for a rodeo, avoid wearing denim shirts with jeans.

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March 2019
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