How to be Stylish about You & Your Shirts
Men’s shirts, in one form or another, have been around for hundreds of years.
They’ve gone through many style changes, color experiments and purpose of uses which have all served a man well, and made him either look good, or look badly styled.
Your shirt defines a lot about which trousers, denims, or shoes you will choose to wear or purchase.
Some men claim that their appearance doesn’t matter, other men know that it does matter. So, they use a few basic rules of thumb to ensure that a purchase wasn’t a waste of time, or money.
Here are one or two ideas about how you can make sure you end up with the shirt that suits you
Of all the clothing that a man can wear, and if he has any sense of reason and wishes to appear stylish and elegant at work, or socially, then his shirt will always be responsible for setting a tone and composition that makes him appear elegant, stylish and dapper.
When choosing shirts to wear the first point to inspect is the collar of the shirt.
A large collar, not buttoned or pinned down, with pointed wings, will have a neck part which can accommodate a tie, or should stand alone, open necked without losing its balance and form.
Your neck length and shape of face determines a lot about how you will appear when you wear a shirt.
If the neck is covered by too much material, you’ll give the impression of having half a neck, or as if you are pulling your shoulders up around your ears.
Open neck shirts allow the neck to be shown more, but still a high collar will cover almost 90% of the neck and still create an odd look if you’re not careful.
A good shirt, made of fine cotton or brushed silk, creates a great look. Quality materials catch people’s attention as much as cheap materials do, too.
The place people look at will be the area below your face. This is full of attractive designs and shapes which affect how your neck and head appear to other people.
These designs and shapes are caused by the other clothes you wear, jackets, suit jackets, leather jacket, wool jacket — or, no coat or jacket which will mean that you better choose a nice fabric to show off in.
The neck band on a collar shouldn’t swallow your neck, or be so close that it creates an impression of a larger chin. The chin can be affected by a short collar that sits too high, because you have chosen a shirt with too much collar band depth for your body type.
The material you choose depends on the climate where you will wear the shirt. Hot countries are great for linen, which can hold more moisture than cotton fabrics, and not become uncomfortable and wet-looking while you wear it. Egyptian cotton, Sea Island Cotton are also quality fabrics for a shirt. They are better for cooler weather in northern countries. Both of these fabrics are considered the best.
Brushed silk is a beautiful material with a smooth feeling, and a weight that allows the shirt to drape well. It’s also too much for hot weather and will cause you to sweat quickly, autumn/Fall is a good time of year to wear silk shirts.
Silk is finely woven fabric that allows little ventilation through its pores. The brushing process creates a raised nap that is shown on the outside of the shirt and creates a soft and warm look.
Cotton will allow air to pass through the fabric and is best for warm days, and when you have to wear a sweater or heavy jacket. The practicalities of cotton is what has made it the best fabric for shirt makers.
Fabrics can be mixed, such as cotton and silk, or cotton with artificial fabric like rayon and nylon based materials.
Always buy 100% cotton, it lasts longer, feels better and looks better. Nylon and rayon offer no warmth and will look cheap after a couple of times in the washing machine.
The space below the collar of your shirt is the place that attracts most attention from people.
The V shape caused by a jacket, maybe a tie that creates a line up to the chin, the shadows under the downward V of the collar, all create an area full of compositions that are pleasing to a person’s sense of design.
If it’s haphazard, a person will see chaos and react accordingly.
In any composition there are questions and answers in the design.
A long face with high cheek bones can be balanced with a short collar that spreads out, and not too long a point. This creates a square looking collar that will allow the longer lines on a man’s face to be a main point of reference in the whole composition. If the collar is long and pointed, the long and pointed lines of the face will appear longer, too.
Think about how your face appears. It will basically always have the same bone structure, and roughly the same amount of muscle around the bones. Age will change the look, but the shape and “look” will always be the same.
It’s a composition that you live with and use as a marker for the clothes closest to it. Neck, chest, shoulders, and your hair, all create a wonderful composition around the face.
Your Size and Your Clothes in General
Knowing your body size is extremely important. Many men go shopping, look around and inevitably see a shirt or piece of clothing that they like. When it comes time to try something on, or simply buy a shirt, they seem to be baffled about what their exact size is.
This often leads to taking a guess and making do with a shirt that has too short sleeves, a collar that is too big and therefore flops around the neck.
You should always know your neck size, chest size and waist size. And double check it before going out to shop. It simply makes life more pleasurable.
A shirt collar should never be too tight, even if you like to look gangsterish with a tightly bound tie. If you buy a shirt that has an exact fit with no room for two fingers between your neck and the collar, then it’ll start to shrink after a few times in the wash.
You might think that it doesn’t matter, because you don’t wear a tie. In fact, you should remember that the collar is where the style and form of the shirt is shown. A small open collar with long points will still have the wrong effect when it has shrunk a size smaller than your real neck size.
Sleeve length should be judged according to how much play in material you are left with around the wrist.
Too much bagginess will be awkward and bunch up in a jacket cuff, and too little will cause the shirt sleeve to rise up and become uncomfortable when you bend your arm, or reach out to grab something.
The cut of the shirt body should be loose and have a waist tailored into its design. Avoid any shirt that looks like a box from top to bottom, you’ll regret having to wear a billowing tent like shirt even when it’s covered by a smart suit jacket. It’s just uncomfortable and defeats the purpose of style.
If the shirt is designed with a “blouse” like cut, check the arm-holes to see how low they are cut. Low arm-holes are a problem when you put a jacket on. The sleeves get caught up and will be dragged up into the jacket’s sleeves — again, uncomfortable and it won’t allow you to show off a nice crisp cuff at the end of the jacket.
The cuffs of a shirt can be long or short. Many off the peg shirts have average to short cuffs and are no longer designed to allow you to choose cuff links or buttons.
Depending where you live, cuff links seem to be gently making their way back into a man’s wardrobe with the occasional use when the mood takes.
Cuff links look good, they should be stylish enough to finish the extension of the sleeve, but not shown off like a medallion. There’s a big difference between working on an obviously complex area like the chest and head that is noticed all of the time, and trying hard to draw attention to the cuffs of a shirt as if it were a main point of reference — a cuff is a passing note that is interesting, for a moment.
If you are choosing a dress shirt, something special for dinner or to match a good suit, then a French cuff might be an option that lends a suave and elegant look to the wrist of a man. This is where cuff links are a must, and any shirt with folding cuff (French cuff), will have appropriate eyelets for the cuff links. Don’t use the buttons instead.
Either way, a cuff shouldn’t be too tight around the wrist and it should stop after the wrist but before the back of the hand. The extra shirt that bunches slightly before the cuff will deal with bending the arm and have enough slack to stay comfortable.
A couple of decades ago, slim fit shirts were fashionable. Slim fits are uncomfortable and make a man look skinny, or fat, or as if his shirt is too small. They are typical of high fashion and don’t belong in the classical and practical realms of shirt making. According to Alan Flusser, it’s an Italian thing.
Fashion is always based on a slight exaggeration of a design — to attract enough attention to get people to get that Wow! feeling about something. That’s why it lasts only a few months and then the next idea come along.
If you choose a shirt that is too tight and hope it will make you look good, you’re mistaken. You might be buff, but powerful shoulders that are stressing the shoulder seams, will also mean that a relaxed belly and a sloping back will be accentuated. It’s a shirt, not a Tee shirt.
When you shop for shirts you may be in the position to lash out a few bucks for a very good quality shirt, a great fit, good design and made from the finest materials. Go the whole hog and enjoy.
Some people have to make compromises. This doesn’t mean that choosing a shirt is an expensive game, you can still get great quality for a reasonable price.
I would say that firstly you should avoid bargains unless it’s obviously a good maker such as Ralph Lauren, and even then check the shirt’s cut and style to be sure it isn’t a copy. I’ve bought Ralph Lauren shirts on the spur of the moment when I saw them in a sale. Great shirts, when you wear one, you understand why.
When you are buying on a budget, you can still expect quality for your money if you focus on the collar and its best properties, how it fits your body type, shoulders and face shape/size, and to be sure that the collar is well designed so that it sits as it should with an open neck. Long collar should point downwards, and a short collar should slightly point outwards. The stitching and cut will ensure that they stay that way.
Spend a little more on a good shirt and you won’t regret it, just make sure that you use it. Many people have an idea that an expensive piece of clothing should only come out of the wardrobe once in a while on special occasions, clothes are for wearing and good quality lasts.