What Type of Dress Shirt Should I Wear With a Suit?

What Type of Dress Shirt Should I Wear With a Suit?

If you're planning to wear a suit, you'll need to pair it with an appropriate dress shirt. As you may know, a two-piece suit consists of trousers with a matching suit jacket. As a result, you'll have to purchase a dress shirt separately. But you shouldn't choose just any dress shirt to wear a suit. For the highest level of style as well as comfort, follow these tips when selecting a dress shirt to wear with a suit.

Choose a Basic Collar Style

Men's dress shirts are available in nearly a dozen different collar styles. While the collar style may sound like an insignificant feature, it can drastically affect the aesthetics of a dress shirt. Therefore, it's recommended that you choose a dress shirt with a basic collar style, such as the spread collar, point collar or sport collar. Spread collars are the most formal of these three collar styles, but you can't go wrong with any of them. They all offer a clean, crisp appearance that's guaranteed to help you look your best.

Long Tails

In addition to a basic collar style, choose a dress shirt with long tails. What are tails exactly, and why do they matter? When used in the context of fashion, tails refer to the back section of a shirt or top that extends past the front section. If you look at the back of a typical men's dress shirt, you'll probably notice the fabric is longer than the fabric on the front of the shirt. Known as "tails," the purpose of this extended fabric is to provide greater security when tucked into your trousers. If you wear a dress shirt with short tails -- or no tails at all -- it may come untucked throughout the day. But if you choose a dress shirt with long tails that extend to your thighs, it should remain tucked into your trousers with relative ease.

Symmetrical Placket

Before buying a new dress shirt to wear with a suit, inspect the placket to ensure it's symmetrical and cleanly designed. You can find the placket on the front of men's dress shirts -- it's essentially the small band of narrow, vertical fabric on which the buttons are placed. The placket doesn't serve any functional purpose. Rather, it's designed strictly for aesthetics. But if the placket is poorly designed, it may feature an unsymmetrical shape that's not properly aligned with the rest of the shirt. For a stylish appearance, you need to wear a dress shirt with a clean, symmetrical placket.

Seasonally Appropriate Fabric

You can find men's dress shirts available in dozens of fabrics, some of which are light, whereas others are heavier. A good rule of thumb, however, is to choose a dress shirt in a seasonally appropriate fabric. During the summer, for example, a dress shirt made of a lightweight fabric like cotton or linen will offer the highest level of comfort and breathability. But during the winter, you may want to dress shirt made of a heavier fabric for increased warmth and protection from the elements.

Choose a Different Color Than Your Suit

Don't choose a dress shirt in the same color as the suit with which you intend to wear it. Instead, choose a dress shirt in a color that contrasts with that of your suit. If your dress shirt is the same color as your suit trousers and jacket, there won't be any distinguishing features separating them. As a result, it will look like you're wearing a one-piece jumpsuit, which isn't particularly flattering no matter how it's worn. You can avoid this headache, however, by choosing a dress shirt in a different color than your suit. Ideally, the color of your dress shirt should contrast with that of your suit. If you're wearing a dark-colored suit, for instance, you should wear a light-colored dress shirt.

Consider a Wrinkle-Resistant Dress Shirt

If you're tired of constantly ironing your dress shirts, consider choosing a wrinkle-resistant dress shirt. There's no such thing as a completely wrinkle-proof dress shirt. With that said, some men's dress shirts are designed to resistant or discourage wrinkling. Known as wrinkle-resistant dress shirts, they are typically made using both organic and synthetic fabrics. When an elastic synthetic fabric is included in a dress shirt, it makes the shirt more resistant to wrinkling. You can still choose a traditional dress shirt, but many men prefer the convenience and ease of maintenance associated with wrinkle-resistant dress shirts.

Get the Right Sleeve Length

Something else to consider when choosing a dress shirt is the sleeve length. If the sleeves are too long, they'll look baggy and unflattering. If they are too short, they'll look tight and equally unflattering. So, how long should the sleeves be? A properly fitted dress shirt should have sleeves that stop right at your wrist bones. If they stop before your wrist bones, the sleeves are too short. If they stop past your wrist bones, they are too long. Choose a dress shirt with sleeves that stop right at your wrist bones for the best possible appearance as well as comfort.

Go With a Pleated Back If You Sit Frequently

You can find dress shirts available with either a flat or pleated back. If you sit for long periods at a time during a typical day, however, the latter style will probably offer the highest level of comfort. With a pleated back, the dress shirt will naturally crease when you sit. With a flat back, on the other hand, it will constrict and tighten when you sit, which may cause discomfort.

Check the Care Label

It's always a good idea to check the care label before buying any new garment, and a dress shirt is no exception. Typically found inside the collar, this label contains instructions on how to clean and care for the dress shirt. By looking at the care label, you'll have a better idea of how much work is required to maintain a dress shirt. If it sounds too difficult, you may want to put the dress shirt back on the shelf and choose a different one instead.