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Business Dress Shirts – The 12 Essentials

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by J. Cogburn, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    In the last 6 months, the most stylish guys I have met from Italy and the UK have all been wearing blue and white stripped shirts with spread collars.

    There is more to life than solid white or solid blue.
     


  2. Mr. White

    Mr. White Senior member

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    Absolutely. He said he goes to formal occasions and speaking engagements. For more formal business dress, a white shirt is the best option.

    Even beyond that, I think white shirts are quite underappreciated, if not exactly maligned, on SF. Sure, they're "boring" in context of a WAYWRN dandy-off. But they are classic in everyday dress, and they provide a wonderful canvas for just about any tie and suit.

    Light blue shirts are great, but white shirts have their place as well.


    +1.

    Your complexion begs for pink, white, and light grey. If your eyes aren't blue, then blue really isn't your hue.
     


  3. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    I have the dollars to invest in only a limited number of bespoke shirts for the office. While I have a preexisting rotation, I hope to retire my existing stock of retail dress shirts and use them only for casual wear. And while I hope and expect to buy more than 12 bespoke dress shirts eventually, it's unclear when that day will come. My question to you all - what 12 would you commission?

    The pertinent considerations are (1) I must wear a suit four days a week; Friday's are "casual" and I don't need a bespoke shirt for those days, (2) I am a "summer" (grayish hair, ruddy skin tone, (3) I wear grey and blue suits (two of each) with a tan suit for warmer weather months, (4) I am in a somewhat conservative field and like to dress "quietly into the day" to quote ASW, (5) I live in DC so there are four seasons to consider.

    My tentative roster of purchases is as follows:
    "¢ two soft white shirts with French cuffs for more formal evening occasions, speaking engagements, etc.;
    "¢ a soft white pinpoint Oxford with barrel cuffs because I like some texture in my shirts;
    "¢ a light blue broadcloth with white collar and French cuffs;
    "¢ a medium blue end-on-end with barrel cuffs;
    "¢ a relatively tight light blue Bengal stripe on white with barrel cuffs;
    "¢ a medium blue micro-check with barrel cuffs;
    "¢ a medium blue small box tattersall check on white with barrel cuffs;
    "¢ a light pink broadcloth with white collar and French cuffs;
    "¢ a Champaign end-on-end with barrel cuffs;
    "¢ a dark red blue Bengal stripe on white with barrel cuffs; and
    "¢ a bottle green medium check on white with barrel cuffs.

    Seems like a reasonable balance to me. Of the ten daily shirts:
    "¢ five are solid and five are patterned; and
    "¢ half are blue with five other colors represented with one shirt each.

    Do you give my tentative roster of purchases a thumbs-up or would you make changes? If so, how so and why?

    Thanks ye sartorial brothers ....


    JMO, but since you wear a suit 4 days a week that is where I would focus:

    Two white french cuff spread collar for formal business gatherings (that are not black tie).
    Blue end on end with french cuffs and contrast collar. (I wear this with charcoal on the regular)
    Multi-stripe blue/navy on white with a spread collar
    Blue Bengal stripe spread collar
    Blue bengal stripe in poplin with a button down collar (tan suit, but also for navy blazer/slacks)
    blue OCBD
    white OCBD
    blue/white oxford stripe OCBD
    light blue main color with a stripe in a spread collar

    Two 'fun' options like a pink gingham, ect.

    I rarely wear OCBDs with a suit, but I would definitely include them in this. I avoid champagne colors or pink shirts with a contrast collar.
     


  4. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    In the last 6 months, the most stylish guys I have met from Italy and the UK have all been wearing blue and white stripped shirts with spread collars.

    There is more to life than solid white or solid blue.


    +1 I did mostly solid white shirts in the summer and now I'm really bored of it, enjoying bengal stripes, multi stripes and contrast collar shirts. I never get negative remarks on them.
     


  5. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Not true. Blue can be very attractive on brown-eyed people and especially green eyed.

    +1.

    If your eyes aren't blue, then blue really isn't your hue.
     


  6. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    If the OP enjoys Oxford Cloth texture I would urge him to experiment more with end-on-end, especially medium blue and pinks for visual interest and visual texture.
     


  7. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    I hear a lot of people doing this but am curious what you wear them with? I'm assuming that most wear them unbuttoned, tucked in with chinos on weekends?

    I end up tossing my older dress shirts b/c they look weird untucked w/ jeans.


    I never wear shirts untucked. And I don't get the standard bias for button-down collars in casual wear. The neck looks fine dammit! And a collar outside the sweater looks just fine in old shots of James Dean, etc.

    I'm not against button-downs and have a few for casual wear, but I think many classic white or blue dress shirts wear excellent casually.
     


  8. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    +1.

    Your complexion begs for pink, white, and light grey. If your eyes aren't blue, then blue really isn't your hue.


    Eyes are blue.
     


  9. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    If the OP enjoys Oxford Cloth texture I would urge him to experiment more with end-on-end, especially medium blue and pinks for visual interest and visual texture.

    Not wild about oxford cloth but do like texture. But do I have any texture options beyond pinpoint oxford and end-on-end that won't kill me in the summer (disqualifying twill)?
     


  10. landshark

    landshark Senior member

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    Why is there so much hate on the darker blue? I'm no style guru by any means; however, the compliments I get are when I wear my French blue shirt, while the 3 light blue's I have don't get anything. Plus the gf says I look better in darker colors.
    If you look good in dark blue, then wear navy or blue suits, sport coats, or trousers. Dark blue shirts look awful. They look terrible with a tie that is lighter than the color of the shirt, which most are, and manage to look even worse with ties that are darker that provide no contrast. Stay away from anything darker than a light blue. I have always felt like shirts are a canvas. They should be relatively blank and easy to build on. There are so many areas where you can appropriately and stylishly add color and pattern to your outfit. Your shirt is not necessarily the place to do that. Colored and patterned suits, ties, pocket squares, socks, shoes, etc. There are so many ways for expression wearing a suit and tie. The shirt is the foundation. There is no instance in which a white shirt would be inappropriate or look bad, and few where light blue would be And never listen to your girlfriend for style advice. That is what 99% of men do, and that's why 99% of men look the way they do. The same goes for people who tell you what your best "color" is out of a color wheel or because it matches your eyes. I'll tell you what your best colors are without even looking at you: Gray and blue for suits, white and light blue for shirts Ties, socks, pocket squares, etc. are fair game so long as you don't over do it. Simply put, you cannot look bad in a well fitting gray or blue suit with a white or light blue shirt. It is, quite literally, impossible. Don't make it more difficult than it is. And I'm sorry, not all of this rant is directed specifically towards you.
     


  11. jnm23q

    jnm23q Well-Known Member

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    This is what I'd go for:

    6 plain shirts
    white, french cuff
    white, button cuff
    repeat above for light blue
    repeat above for pink (or another pastel shade such as lilac or cream)

    2 stripe shirts
    blue and white vertical stripe french cuff
    red and white vertical stripe french cuff

    1 check shirt
    blue and white or pink and white button cuff

    3 others
    medium blue with white collar/ white french cuffs
    ocbd in plain fawn button cuff
    ocbd in plain blue button cuff
     


  12. The Louche

    The Louche Senior member

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    I'm going to chime in, as someone who has been getting his shirts made for a little while (albeit MTM, not bespoke), and join the dark blue haters. I've tried time and again to give darker blue shirts a chance, and, regardless of the quality of the fabric, they always look cheap and in-elegant. They remind me of 1) the 90s, 2) those guys in the office that think that their brown, corrected-grain, square-toed shoes with lug soles are styling, and 3) guys that wear hard-roll black three button suits. Or all three. Just can't do it.

    FWIW, If I were ordering 12 from scratch, I'd get this:

    4 White - (2 broadcloth w/ FC, 1 royal oxford w/ BC, I oxford w/ BC)
    6 Blue - (1 broadcloth w/ FC, 1 broadcloth w/ BC, 1 royal oxford w/ BC, 1 bengal broadcloth w/ FC. 1 bengal broadcloth w/ BC, 1 gingham broadcloth w/ BC)
    2 Pink (1 royal oxford w/ BC, 1 gingham broadcloth w/ BC)
     


  13. The Louche

    The Louche Senior member

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    If you look good in dark blue, then wear navy or blue suits, sport coats, or trousers. Dark blue shirts look awful. They look terrible with a tie that is lighter than the color of the shirt, which most are, and manage to look even worse with ties that are darker that provide no contrast. Stay away from anything darker than a light blue.

    I have always felt like shirts are a canvas. They should be relatively blank and easy to build on. There are so many areas where you can appropriately and stylishly add color and pattern to your outfit. Your shirt is not necessarily the place to do that. Colored and patterned suits, ties, pocket squares, socks, shoes, etc. There are so many ways for expression wearing a suit and tie. The shirt is the foundation. There is no instance in which a white shirt would be inappropriate or look bad, and few where light blue would be

    And never listen to your girlfriend for style advice. That is what 99% of men do, and that's why 99% of men look the way they do. The same goes for people who tell you what your best "color" is out of a color wheel or because it matches your eyes. I'll tell you what your best colors are without even looking at you: Gray and blue for suits, white and light blue for shirts Ties, socks, pocket squares, etc. are fair game so long as you don't over do it. Simply put, you cannot look bad in a well fitting gray or blue suit with a white or light blue shirt. It is, quite literally, impossible. Don't make it more difficult than it is.



    And I'm sorry, not all of this rant is directed specifically towards you.


    +1
     


  14. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    I'd avoid the pink with white collar and cuffs. Given your limited number of shirts, it will stand out too much in your rotation.

    For the blues, I'd stick with ligher unless thay are patterns with a fair amount of white so as to diminish the intensity of the medium (to dark) blue.
     


  15. Will

    Will Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I'd change only the last two of your initial dozen, replacing them with two more light blues. Perhaps a royal oxford and a nailhead. I could probably wear light blue nailheads happily every day of the week.

    And don't let anyone scare you off shirts with dark blue, so long as there is at least 50% white in the mix. Navy stripes on white, for example, is a great shirt, particularly with a white collar and cuffs.
     


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