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The fundamentals of dress shirts

The fundamentals of dress shirts

Posted on: 2nd Dec, 2016

With the festivities of Christmas and New Year about to begin, it’s a good idea to start thinking about dress shirt fabrics. A must for all those formal events, dress shirting can transform your look from mediocre to wow! If you’re not sure what to consider when choosing dress shirting, we’re offering a helping hand. You’ll find everything you need to know about dress shirts in today’s blog with recommendations for bespoke shirting fabrics too.

The key design features of a dress shirt

white dress shirts

Starting with the top of the shirt, the first thing to get right is the collar. You’ll find a few variations and styles f collar but the most important thing to consider is the shape of your face. As a rule, your collar should complement and balance out the shape of your face. Those with a round face type should opt for a point collar while those with a more angular shaped face will want a spread collar.

The cuffs are also a key element of dress shirting, as they are one of the only elements of the shirt visible when wearing a jacket. Two popular types of cuffs are button cuffs and French cuffs, the latter the most formal of the two and a great option for lavish affairs.

If you’re splashing out on a dress shirt, it’s worth considering every detail – including the buttons. While plastic buttons will suffice and are extremely common, a great alternative is Mother of Pearl. You’ll also want to consider the panel of fabric that runs down the middle of the shirt where the buttons are sewn. This is called the placket. Standard and seamless plackets are both popular although another alternative is concealed.

The shape and style of a dress shirt

the design of a dress shirt

There are a number of design features that give the dress shirt its formal shape and style.

  • While traditional dress shirts featured box pleats, modern dress shirts don’t – in order to achieve the popular slim fit.
  • Darts are also utilised to create this look, with tapered seams of fabric creating that tight fit.
  • Shoulder points should also be considered and shouldn’t extend further than the end of the shoulder.

Everything else you’ve ever wanted to know…

white dress shirt and cuff links

Once you know the fundamentals of style and design, it’s time to consider fabric and colour. Cotton has to be one of the most versatile picks, suited to dozens of formal events and popular for centuries. We personally recommend our Black Tie Event fabrics. If you’re on a tighter budget, you can get away with man made fibres too.

When it comes to colour, keep things simple. White is a great choice for any event and reigns as a formal colour. You might also like to choose a black fabric, like our Gargrave Plain Black Panama Fabric. Pink, lavender and blue have also become popular over the years but are better suited to less formal events.

While you’re at it, why not invest in some winter-ready textured shirts too? Our Oxford and Pinpoint fabrics are ideal for this time of year and extremely wearable year-round.

What’s your go-to fabric for dress shirts? Let us know over on Twitter @AcornFabrics