8 Features to Look for in a Men’s Dress Shirt

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A dress shirt is an essential component of a men’s formal outfit. Technically, a suit only consists of a jacket and matching trousers. Of course, you can’t wear a suit jacket and matching trousers without a dress shirt. Typically featuring a long-sleeved, button-up design, dress shirts provide the foundation for an attractive formal outfit. But if you’re planning to create a formal outfit, you’ll need to choose the right type of dress shirt. In this post, we’re going to explore eight important features of men’s dress shirts.

#1) Pleated or Flat Back

Pay attention to the back of dress shirts to see if they are pleated. Some men’s dress shirts feature a pleated back where two areas of the fabric are pinched together, whereas others feature a flat back. Wearing a dress shirt with a pleated back can prevent the fabric from bunching together when you are sitting. When standing, however, pleated-back dress shirts can look somewhat awkward. Therefore, you should only choose a pleated-back dress shirt if you plan to wear it while sitting for a long period of time.

#2) Buttons

You should also inspect the buttons on the front of a dress shirt to see what they are made of. All buttons are designed for the same purpose of fastening, but they are often made of different materials. Some low-quality dress shirts feature cheap buttons made of plastic. While inexpensive, these buttons are highly susceptible to damage and often break in the washing machine. Pearl buttons, on the other hand, are stronger and more resistant to damage. Dress shirts featuring pearl buttons may cost more than those featuring plastic buttons, but you can expect to get more use out of these shirts thanks to their high-quality construction.

#3) Collar Type

What type of collar does the dress shirt have? When you’re busy inspecting the size and quality of a dress shirt, you may overlook the collar type. There are several different types of collars used in men’s dress shirts, however, each of which has a unique appearance. The straight point is the most popular type of collar for men’s dress shirts. It features long collar points with the tips of these points being very close together. The end result is a clean, concise and attractive collar that compliments most men’s suits and formal outfits.

The straight point is just one type of collar used in men’s dress shirts. Other collars include the following:

  • Cutaway
  • Spread
  • Club
  • Wingtip
  • Semi-spread
  • Tab
  • Pin
  • Eyelet
  • Band

#4) Cuff Type

Not all men’s dress shirts feature the same type of cuffs. There are a few common types of cuffs found in men’s dress shirts, the most common of which is the barrel. Barrel cuffs are characterized by one or two buttons that are fastened to secure the cuffs in place. There are also double cuffs that feature an extra piece of fabric that’s folded back and fastened in place using cufflinks. And single cuffs are similar to double cuffs but without the extra piece of fabric. Generally speaking, barrel cuffs are recommended for casual and semi-formal occasions, while double cuffs and single cuffs are recommended for black-tie and other highly formal occasions.

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#5) Fabric

The fabric from which a men’s dress shirt is made will affect its appearance, strength, softness and other characteristics. Cotton is an all-around great choice for men’s dress shirts. It’s semi-strong, warm, soft and long lasting. During winter, however, some men prefer dress shirts made of thicker fabrics, such as flannel, for added warmth and protection from the cold weather. Regardless, you should check the label to see what fabric or fabrics a dress shirt is made of before buying it.

#6) Extra Buttons

Don’t just pay attention to the actual buttons located on the front of a dress shirt, but also look to see whether the shirt contains any additional buttons. Many high-quality men’s dress shirts are sold with additional buttons sewn into a discreet area of the fabric. These extra buttons don’t serve any functional or aesthetic purpose. Rather, they are intended to be used as backup buttons if you lose one of the shirt’s buttons. When a button falls off, you can remove one of these extra buttons and use it to replace the missing button.

#7) Pockets

How many pockets does the dress shirt have? When shopping for a men’s dress shirt, you’ll probably discover that most don’t have any pockets. Rather, they feature a flat front and back without any pockets. There are some dress shirts, however, that feature a single pocket on either the left- or right-side breast. These shirts offer a more casual look, though you can still them wear them as part of a formal suit outfit.

#8) The Fit

Yes, fit is a feature of a men’s dress shirt. Conventional wisdom should tell you that’s important to choose a fitted dress shirt to achieve the best look and highest level of comfort. If your dress shirt is too big, it will look baggy. If it’s too small, it will look awkward and be uncomfortable to wear. You can avoid these problems by choosing a men’s dress shirt that fits. Don’t just choose a size that you “think” you wear, but instead take the time to get your body measurements. Using your measurements, you can choose a dress shirt in the perfect size for your body.

#9) The Tail

What is the tail on a men’s dress shirt, and why does it matter? The tail is a long piece of fabric that extends past the waistline section of the shirt. Most dress shirts actually have several tails, including those on the front as well as those on the back. The tails aren’t visible when the shirt is worn, however. This is because you tuck the tails into the top of your trousers. Tails aren’t a critically important feature to look for when choosing a men’s dress shirt. But some men prefer wearing dress shirts with tails because it prevents their shirt from coming untucked.