What Dress Shirt Should I Wear With a Suit?

What Dress Shirt Should I Wear With a Suit?

If you're planning to wear a suit, you'll need to pair it with the right dress shirt. Whether it's a two-piece suit consisting of a jacket and matching trousers or a three-piece suit with an added bow tie, a dress shirt is an essential garment that can't be overlooked. Unfortunately, choosing a dress shirt isn't as easy as grabbing the first button-up shirt you come across in your closet. You must consider your suit trousers, jacket, shoes and other elements of your outfit. Only then can you create an attractive, cohesive outfit. So, what dress shirt should you wear with your suit?

Choose a Color That Compliments Your Suit

Your dress shirt should feature a color that compliments the color of your suit. This doesn't necessarily mean that it should be the same color. If you wear a black button-up dress shirt with a black suit, the garments will blend together -- and that's not a good thing. A smarter approach is to wear a dress shirt in a color that's either similar to or contrasts with the color of your suit. Using the same example, dress shirt colors that are appropriate for a black suit include charcoal (it's similar), white (it contrasts) and other variations.

Check the Fabric

Don't forget to check and see what fabric or fabrics the dress shirt is made of. Cotton is undoubtedly the most popular fabric used to make men's dress shirts. Not only is it inexpensive, but it's also soft, fluffy and breathable. But there are different types of cotton, some of which have unique characteristics. Pique cotton, for example, is prized for its superior comfort and quality. In addition to cotton, though, other fabrics in which men's dress shirts are made include silk, linen and polyester.

Pattern or No Pattern

Do you want a dress shirt with a pattern on it? This is a question you'll need to answer when choosing a dress shirt to wear with a suit. Some dress shirts feature a single, solid colors, whereas others feature a single or multiple colors in a pattered design. Some of the most patterns in which dress shirts are made include stripe, checkered and polka-dot. Generally speaking, pattered dress shirts such as these aren't as formal as single-colored dress shirts. Therefore, you should only wear them if you aren't trying to achieve a highly formal, black-tie look. If you're getting dressed for a black-tie event, it's recommended that you stick with a single-color dress shirt.

Check the Sleeve Length

Of course, you should also check the sleeve length when choosing a dress shirt. A good rule of thumb is to choose a dress shirt with cuffs that fall about 1/2 inch past your suit jacket (when wearing the jacket, of course). In other words, you should try on the dress shirt and then put your suit jacket over it. If the sleeve length is right, you should about 1/2 inch of the shirt's cuffs exposed. If you don't see any of your dress shirt, and your suit jacket fits properly, the sleeves are too short. On the other hand, if you see more than 1/2 inch, the sleeves are too long. Always check the sleeve length when choosing a dress shirt to wear with a suit. dress-shirts-2619989_960_720


Pay attention to the placement, stitching and overall quality of the dress shirt's buttons. Some companies cut corners by using cheap plastic buttons. Although this lowers the price of production, it results in an inferior shirt that's susceptible to damage. Cheap buttons such as this are likely to break when washed and dried. Even bumping against a hard surface while wearing the shirt may damage the buttons. Therefore, it's recommended that you choose a dress shirt with high-quality buttons and excellent stitching. If you see flaws or other visible signs of defects on the buttons, put the shirt back on the shelf and choose a different shirt/


Many men overlook the cuffs when choosing a dress shirt. While most dress shirt cuffs have the same basic design -- they are used to secure the wrist area -- there are subtle nuances between the different types. For example, some dress shirt cuffs have built-in buttons, whereas others require the use off cufflinks. And if you don't have any cufflinks, you won't be able to wear the shirt. You'll also find dress shirts with French cuffs. This is the most formal type of cuff in men's dress shirts. It's essentially a double cuff in which the fabric is folded and sewn together twice. The end result is an attractive, formal look that's perfect for a two- or three-piece suit.

Pockets or No Pockets

Do you want a dress shirt with pockets on the front or without pockets? You'll find high-quality men's dress shirts available in both design configurations. Normally, dress shirts with pockets have a single small pocket on either the left- or right-side breast. It's a minor feature that won't play a significant role in the shirt's appearance. With that said, most people will agree that dress shirts with pockets are less formal than their pocket-less counterparts. The addition of a pocket, even if it's just a single pocket, creates a slightly more casual appearance. This means you can wear a button-up dress shirt with a pocket on the front for business casual and other less-formal attire. You shouldn't wear them, however, for strict formal attire like black-tie dress code. Stick with pocket-less dress shirts for occasions such s this.

White Shirt With a Tuxedo

Finally, if you're going to wear a black tuxedo, which is technically still considered a suit, you should wear a white button-up shirt. There's no substitution for a white dress shirt with a black tuxedo. It's a simple yet stunning combination that's guaranteed to improve your appearance. Just remember to follow the other tips listed here. As long as you choose the right white shirt, you'll create a formal, attractive outfit that's perfect for formal occasions.