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Men’s dress shirts: What’s important to know

men's dress shirts

Men’s dress shirts are a key element of a gentleman’s attire and here’s why. A fact that is little known outside of the fashion world is that the lines of men’s dress attire should always draw the eye upwards to the face.  The face is the most identifying and expressive part of the body and men’s clothing has traditionally been designed to subtly accentuate it.  With its close proximity to the face, there is no article of clothing that better serves this purpose than men’s dress shirts.  The next time you see a man in well-put-together business or formal attire, observe how the “V” formed by the jacket lapels and the contrast of light and dark fabrics catches your eye.  Then notice how the collar opening resembles an arrow that points to the face, with the tie as its shaft.

The dress shirt collar is one of the more critical elements of dressy attire, dictating the function of the shirt and framing the face of its wearer.  The dress shirt collar’s shape and proportion can determine whether it enhances or detracts from the features of the face.  In particular, the length and spread of the collar points should complement the shape and contour of the neck, head and facial features.  While a classic point collar works well for most faces, a spread collar can be more flattering for thin faces.  Men with longer necks can wear higher collars, while a shorter collar will camouflage a shorter neck.

After the collar, the next most noticeable thing about men’s dress shirts is their fabric, colour and pattern.  The majority of men’s dress shirts are white or blue, but a man who understands which colours will complement his complexion has a wider range of colour options.  In addition to blue, acceptable colour choices for men’s dress shirts now include gray, red, pink, yellow and lavender.  Wearing a coloured shirt with a striped or checked pattern allows a man to highlight his complexion and skin tone.  It also makes a statement about his originality and fashion sense.

Some men understand instinctively how the various elements of a dress shirt can enhance and complement the face.  For those who aren’t born with this knowledge, some research and observation will provide the background needed to select fabrics and design details that display the face to its best advantage and speak volumes about personal style.

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March 2019
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