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Black Dress Shirts

tcmquincy

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1

You may want to ask the gentleman on the left next time you are in the restaurant.

Yeah the guy on the left totally has a better outfit than me lol. Where can I cop those shoes
 

BigBadBernard

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A few general observations:

1. People don’t come on this forum looking for advice. They come to have their predilections reinforced by like-minded fellow travellers.

2. The heading of the forum is “classic menswear” and, whatever else they might be, black shirts are not that, unless one is an ex-footballer or a supporter of an outre political movement.

3. A black shirt will make most people look like a tit.
 

TimothyF

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This was started to ask for advice on wearing them (how to wear them) not if they should be worn or not. Literally nothing else. I really don't think I lectured anybody and I have been respectful since my original post.

Alright, you did ask for advice, but also tried to justify your choice. Hence the many responses; it's an internet forum after all.

My advice is, if you want to wear them, focus on fit and quality of fabric, then details like collars and cuffs. A good first step is moving off non-iron fabrics. All this would apply to any other colored shirt.
 

tcmquincy

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My advice is, if you want to wear them, focus on fit and quality of fabric, then details like collars and cuffs. A good first step is moving off non-iron fabrics. All this would apply to any other colored shirt.

I appreciate that. I always bought non-iron because I figured they either lasted longer or were easier to take care of (as in not needing to iron them lol). This is something I hadn't thought of before. I usually always get them tailored well so I'm not too concerned about fit. But I would def try different fabrics. Any recommendations for non-non-iron dress shirts?
 

TimothyF

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Ready to wear black untreated cotton shirts will be hard. Black tennis shirts are more plentiful, although equally abhorrent to me lol. Not knowing your price point, my shot in the dark is to suggest online custom shirts, so-called MTM. They can be as low as $50-60 a shirt, but you have to be nimble and knowledgeable to avoid an unwearable shirt.

May I suggest a navy shirt, with some pattern such as stripe, gingham, or plaid? A patterned navy shirt is plenty dark, but classic at the same time.
 

FlyingHorker

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Fair question and my answer is totally subjective. Monochromatic looks are monolithic to me. Especially all black ones. They remind me of the abyss, the void, darkness. Monochromatic looks are sober and quiet or loud and obnoxious depending on the color. Either way, I think they are a bold choice in their starkness and lack of contrast. Artist make the choice all the time to use one single color instead of several. It can set a mood that several colors cannot. The above look is ok. I really love all the textures. I wish there was no square. The ticket pocket is silly IMO. I've never been a huge fan of shawl lapels.

I like this one more.

3ce30412-b5f7-44f9-9c18-0cf60f82afb3-jpeg.1183076
I can agree with the bolded.

I love shawl collars, though I wonder why they're never shaped like a notch lapel in terms of width. Wide at the top, narrower towers the middle of the sternum.
 

tcmquincy

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Ready to wear black untreated cotton shirts will be hard. Black tennis shirts are more plentiful, although equally abhorrent to me lol. Not knowing your price point, my shot in the dark is to suggest online custom shirts, so-called MTM. They can be as low as $50-60 a shirt, but you have to be nimble and knowledgeable to avoid an unwearable shirt.

May I suggest a navy shirt, with some pattern such as stripe, gingham, or plaid? A patterned navy shirt is plenty dark, but classic at the same time.

I would be looking for 50-75$ a shirt. Couldn't I just get a CT or Lands End or similar shirt that is not specifically labeled as "non iron". I'm also in the market for some French cuff shirts but I'm fairly new to them. and yeah im looking for a black one too lol
 

FlyingHorker

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I'm still gonna wear them, I'm not asking for y'all to give me the OK on it, I'm asking who else does it, how they do it, and how I could improve on how I've done it. Why is that so f*cking complicated on here?
Then I'll make it simple.

If the majority of us on classic menswear view black shirts as being a useless item in a wardrobe, why would it make sense for us to advocate on how to do it?

This is the equivalent of going to a Mexican restaurant and asking for Indian food.

Personally I'm not averse to black, just black dress shirts. I wear a black t-shirt, and I also want a black turtleneck. A black knit tie is also surprisingly versatile. I've also worn a black polo before.

Black can work quite well in a wardrobe.

https://dieworkwear.com/post/178996587639/the-brilliance-of-black
 

tcmquincy

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Then I'll make it simple.

If the majority of us on classic menswear view black shirts as being a useless item in a wardrobe, why would it make sense for us to advocate on how to do it?

This is the equivalent of going to a Mexican restaurant and asking for Indian food.

Personally I'm not averse to black, just black dress shirts. I wear a black t-shirt, and I also want a black turtleneck. A black knit tie is also surprisingly versatile.

Black can work quite well in a wardrobe.

https://dieworkwear.com/post/178996587639/the-brilliance-of-black

If I could only wear one color it would easily be black. I'm just really surprised there aren't a few more people who have tried it. I would try a streetwear forum but I definitely feel like this is the closest forum for suits/sports coats/dress shoes, just adding in a black shirt
 

dieworkwear

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If I could only wear one color it would easily be black. I'm just really surprised there aren't a few more people who have tried it. I would try a streetwear forum but I definitely feel like this is the closest forum for suits/sports coats/dress shoes, just adding in a black shirt

Black is fine, but black shirts don't really work with suits and sport coats unless you're in an avant-garde outfit, like Yohji Yamamoto. More often than not, the person ends up looking like a waiter or prom DJ. It looks kinda goofy.

I've said this before, but I think sometimes guys who are just starting out tend to think of outfits in terms of artistic expression. So they think they'll add this for a pop of color or this wild accessory to give an outfit a zing. Oftentimes, you'd be better off focusing on the fit and silhouette of your clothes and then stay close to the rules so you don't make mistakes. It's hard to get the fit and silhouette right -- if you do, you'll stand out from the corporate drones anyway because few people wear tailored clothing well. Once you really get those things down, you can break the rules here and there when you know what you're doing. Think of dressing more like writing a sentence, rather than creating a painting. Think about how things are coming together as a coherent expression, rather than trying to add a pop of color or do something different. Once you learn how to write a sentence well, you can do something creative to make a point. But if you're just randomly putting words together, nothing makes sense.

I linked to Vox's "Coherent Combinations" PDF earlier. I think you'd benefit from reading it. There's no real way to convince you that black shirts are a bad idea because this is all aesthetics and there's no logical proof for anything. Aside from Common's black tie ensemble, I don't really care for any of the outfit posted in this thread, but it's a matter of taste. If you've received bad reactions on MFA and StyleForum though, maybe ... your outfits don't look as good as you think?

Will say, this outfit will get an even worse reception on the SWD side of the board. There's nothing here that's really SWD-ish.
 

Andy57

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Is that legitimately what you think I started the thread for? Did you actually read my initial post? I was looking for advice to do it better or as best as possible.
Honestly, yes, I think that is why you started this thread. It happens fairly often. But so what? It truly shouldn't matter what I think your motivations are.

I also said a few times I don't want to talk philosophy, and I never said I wore them for a "non-conformist" look. Why is everybody fixating on this? I'm pretty sure all I said was that it is more outside the box than a white or blue shirt; which it is.
Explain to me the difference between wearing something because you think it is "outside the box" and being non-conformist. To be outside a box, you presumably have some idea of what the boundaries of that box are. It seems not unreasonable to take the position that wearing clothes that are inside the box, then, is the same thing as conforming to some set of norms that define the box. Therefore, wearing an item of clothing because you perceive it to be outside of that box, is to wear something that is by your own standard, non-conformist.

I know you didn't come here for a philosophical debate. No one ever does. But, you know, it's the internet.

@Andy57 after checking your Instagram, I think you could rock a black shirt and make it look stylish as hell. I really dare anybody that has never tried it to try to put an outfit together and make it look as best as possible. That was another point I was trying to make. Nothing about conformity or anybody's opinion on the philosophy of fashion. And for the record I'm stylish and cool and I don't need a sf thread to prove it :) This thread is about black shirts and I'd appreciate if we stuck to that topic.
The only thing I wear that is black is a dinner jacket. In all other cases, I believe there are better choices I could make, and so I make them.

There is nothing new to say about black shirts that hasn't already been covered. If you want to wear them, then you by all means should and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. Regardless of what you wear, all that matters is how you feel about it, and how anyone whose opinion matters to you feels about it. No one on this forum should fall into that latter category.

One piece of advice, though, that is not specific to black shirts (and that has already been mentioned) is to move away from non-iron shirts. In general, the non-iron process diminishes the feel of the cloth (I think they feel stiff or certainly less soft than regular shirts and uncomfortable). The process also doesn't really work. Buy good quality, cotton shirts and either learn to iron them yourself, or have them laundered. Your overall appearance will improve. There are many vendors of decent ready-to-wear shirts that have not has a non-iron process applied to them. Then there are online MTM vendors like Proper Cloth or Ratio that do a competent job, too.

Another issue with black shirts is, should you wish to wear a tie, there are few colors or patterns that look all that good against the black background. Solid colors, especially solid-color, shiny ties don't work all that well. It seems difficult to put anything against black and avoid looking like a gangster or a waiter. So, I would say, don't wear a tie at all with a black shirt. So that limits the shirt to more casual looks and it also means that you should choose a collar that stands up well under a jacket when worn without a tie. Two that come to mind are a button-down collar and a one-piece collar.

Finally, I suspect a black shirt doesn't really look black for all that long. I have no data to back up my suspicion, but I wouldn't be surprised if, after 10 or so washes, a black shirt will start to look a bit grey, especially around the edges of the collar and cuffs. If that's not the case, then all to the good.
 

TimothyF

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I would be looking for 50-75$ a shirt. Couldn't I just get a CT or Lands End or similar shirt that is not specifically labeled as "non iron". I'm also in the market for some French cuff shirts but I'm fairly new to them. and yeah im looking for a black one too lol

I don't think Lands End has must-iron in black. CT might. A black French cuff shirt might just be such a unicorn that you'd have to get it made.

If I could only wear one color it would easily be black. I'm just really surprised there aren't a few more people who have tried it. I would try a streetwear forum but I definitely feel like this is the closest forum for suits/sports coats/dress shoes, just adding in a black shirt

Why presume most people haven't tried black shirts? In my earlier days I got a package of white and black "uniform" shirts. To the extent you are asking others to keep an open mind, I think it's fair to ask you to keep an open mind that other colors are much more useful than black. If to you black is just another shirt color, to others, shall we say more experienced, black is on the other side of a gulf separating acceptable and faux-pas. Different perspectives.
 
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An Acute Style

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If I could only wear one color it would easily be black. I'm just really surprised there aren't a few more people who have tried it. I would try a streetwear forum but I definitely feel like this is the closest forum for suits/sports coats/dress shoes, just adding in a black shirt

There are many pockets of individuals in this forum who enjoy particular genres of style. I personally really like Ivy/Trad style. There is a thread dedicated to Trad style. Those who enjoy British style don’t frequent it or post in it. I was under the impression that’s how threads work: if you don’t like a certain idea you don’t have to post or read that thread. I’m surprised at how many people are up in this thread and hate the idea so much. I personally appreciate the comic relief from @dieworkwear, but in general this thread is getting out of control.

The other side of the forum, Streetwear and Denim, may be more open to this black shirt and jacket idea. I’d recommend posting something over there.

I think this thread may have tanked. You may want to direct your stylistic efforts elsewhere on the forum. Anyway, best of luck to you.
 

An Acute Style

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Black is fine, but black shirts don't really work with suits and sport coats unless you're in an avant-garde outfit, like Yohji Yamamoto. More often than not, the person ends up looking like a waiter or prom DJ. It looks kinda goofy.

I've said this before, but I think sometimes guys who are just starting out tend to think of outfits in terms of artistic expression. So they think they'll add this for a pop of color or this wild accessory to give an outfit a zing. Oftentimes, you'd be better off focusing on the fit and silhouette of your clothes and then stay close to the rules so you don't make mistakes. It's hard to get the fit and silhouette right -- if you do, you'll stand out from the corporate drones anyway because few people wear tailored clothing well. Once you really get those things down, you can break the rules here and there when you know what you're doing. Think of dressing more like writing a sentence, rather than creating a painting. Think about how things are coming together as a coherent expression, rather than trying to add a pop of color or do something different. Once you learn how to write a sentence well, you can do something creative to make a point. But if you're just randomly putting words together, nothing makes sense.

I linked to Vox's "Coherent Combinations" PDF earlier. I think you'd benefit from reading it. There's no real way to convince you that black shirts are a bad idea because this is all aesthetics and there's no logical proof for anything. Aside from Common's black tie ensemble, I don't really care for any of the outfit posted in this thread, but it's a matter of taste. If you've received bad reactions on MFA and StyleForum though, maybe ... your outfits don't look as good as you think?

Will say, this outfit will get an even worse reception on the SWD side of the board. There's nothing here that's really SWD-ish.

Honestly, yes, I think that is why you started this thread. It happens fairly often. But so what? It truly shouldn't matter what I think your motivations are.


Explain to me the difference between wearing something because you think it is "outside the box" and being non-conformist. To be outside a box, you presumably have some idea of what the boundaries of that box are. It seems not unreasonable to take the position that wearing clothes that are inside the box, then, is the same thing as conforming to some set of norms that define the box. Therefore, wearing an item of clothing because you perceive it to be outside of that box, is to wear something that is by your own standard, non-conformist.

I know you didn't come here for a philosophical debate. No one ever does. But, you know, it's the internet.


The only thing I wear that is black is a dinner jacket. In all other cases, I believe there are better choices I could make, and so I make them.

There is nothing new to say about black shirts that hasn't already been covered. If you want to wear them, then you by all means should and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. Regardless of what you wear, all that matters is how you feel about it, and how anyone whose opinion matters to you feels about it. No one on this forum should fall into that latter category.

One piece of advice, though, that is not specific to black shirts (and that has already been mentioned) is to move away from non-iron shirts. In general, the non-iron process diminishes the feel of the cloth (I think they feel stiff or certainly less soft than regular shirts and uncomfortable). The process also doesn't really work. Buy good quality, cotton shirts and either learn to iron them yourself, or have them laundered. Your overall appearance will improve. There are many vendors of decent ready-to-wear shirts that have not has a non-iron process applied to them. Then there are online MTM vendors like Proper Cloth or Ratio that do a competent job, too.

Another issue with black shirts is, should you wish to wear a tie, there are few colors or patterns that look all that good against the black background. Solid colors, especially solid-color, shiny ties don't work all that well. It seems difficult to put anything against black and avoid looking like a gangster or a waiter. So, I would say, don't wear a tie at all with a black shirt. So that limits the shirt to more casual looks and it also means that you should choose a collar that stands up well under a jacket when worn without a tie. Two that come to mind are a button-down collar and a one-piece collar.

Finally, I suspect a black shirt doesn't really look black for all that long. I have no data to back up my suspicion, but I wouldn't be surprised if, after 10 or so washes, a black shirt will start to look a bit grey, especially around the edges of the collar and cuffs. If that's not the case, then all to the good.

Excellent input, Gents. Maybe this thread is not headed to the dumpster.
 

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