Ultimate Men's Shirts Guide - Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Men's Shirts - Odd Nugget

Contents

A while back I wrote about shirts for guys and what general styles look half-way decent.

This article is the monster that birthed that last shirt-related one.

Here, you'll find the result of months of men's shirt research, transformed into what I hope will be the most useful upper garment expose you've ever set your eyes upon.

when you ask your ventriloquist friend to help with your shirt

It's all here.

Everything of reasonable importance in the wide world of top half adornment that I could sling into a single 6,000+word article has been included - all sectioned off and quartered up in consumable bits for your convenience.

Basically, this is a short book on shirts, masquerading as an article.

It is also the main reason I haven't posted much for a few weeks. I mean, I even missed St. Patty's day!

luck of the eilish

If demand exists, I might make something similar for women's shirts. (Female readers of Odd Nugget would have to force me at gunpoint though.)

Go ahead and read this article if you're interested in upgrading your style, but only half of it.


What Colors Work Well on Men's Shirts?


tie-dye shirts are unique I guess

All colors can work well on men's shirts, but for different reasons, under different circumstances and for different physical builds.

Cool Colors

cool color samples

Cool toned skin pairs perfectly with cool toned clothing - cool is cool.

Warm Colors

warm color samples

Bright hair colors and warm skin tones do particularly well when paired with warm colored clothing.

Light Colors

light color samples

The lighter your clothing, the more informal you will appear.

For example, a hippie's devil-may-care approach to life is easily deduced by his tie-dye shirt and brightly patterened harem pants. Well, that's one way you can tell...

Dark Colors

dark color samples

Darkness is synonymous with formality.

Just look at Batman! Everyone but the Joker takes that guy seriously - and he's dressed up as a bat for crying out loud.

batman has a highly varied wardrobe

Bright white suits aside, most formal events call for men's clothing palette to involve a whole lot of black, navy blue and, on occassion, a splash of deep burgundy.


What Shirt Materials Should Men Choose?


toiletpaper shirt

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To get a better understanding of the many different fabrics you have to choose from, it helps to learn how fabric is actually made.

Threads and yarn are created through 'spinning' and 'plying' fibers. This is super important for making cloth, but we're more interested in the step that comes after this...

The core process of weaving turns mere threads and yarn into actual wearable cloth.

The absolute basis for all forms of weaving is the relationship between 'warp' and 'weft'. No I haven't lapsed into cutesy baby talk here...

Warp is what the long, straight lengths of thread or yarn in the cloth are called. Weft is what we call the length of yarn or thread that goes over and under the warp threads from side to side.

warp and weft

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The three fundamental types of weaves are the plain weave (over and under), twill (over and under two at a time) and satin (over four or more at a time).

plain weave twill weave and satin weave

We won't go into the wider world of weaving for now because we'd get lost and die before we made it back out, but the fabric descriptions that follow will make a lot more sense with warp, weft and weaves well understood:

For Dressing Up

plush suits are only for miami vice

Not all fabrics are ok for formal wear. The following options work best:

Dobby cloth is every bit as magical as Harry Potter's house elf friend of the same name. Ok, fine, it isn't really that magical, but it is pretty nice.

what is dobby cloth joke

Fine varieties such as Piqué used to be very common for white tie occassions. However, less refined varieties are commonly used now to make polo shirts, which aren't all that formal, so don't get the wrong idea there.

Poplin or 'broadcloth' is a great, all purpose fabric made with a plain weave for durability.

For purists, poplin is made of silk warp and a worsted yarn (a type of wool yarn) weft. However, it is now made of many other materials, including synthetics like rayon and polyester.

poplin cloth example

Poplin shirts are great for dressing up as they do not wrinkle much and are very easy to iron. Not to mention, this fabric is a great middle-of-the-road option for varied weather conditions.

Twill comes in many variations with patterns ranging from standard diagonal to herringbone and back.

Twill is typically made from wool and is commonly used for suit jackets, etc.

Mind you, as twill is such a versatile cloth type, its many variations are not all ideal for formal wear; after all, denim is technically twill as well.

twill cloth example

Twill cloth comes in houndstooth, herringbone, sharkskin and other assorted animal parts. These three twill varieties in particular are perfect for suits and other formal outerwear garments.

Tweed fabric is also usually a type of twill, though it is commonly used for sporting activities and semi-formal outerwear.

Look for twill to get a shirt that drapes well and holds up to stress with the best of 'em.

For Casual Wear

Satin is synonymous with luxury thanks to its uniquely shiny appearance and fine draping capacity.

Although satin is pretty fancy stuff, it is actually a bit too fine for use as men's outdoorswear. A satin shirt tends to be so loose and flowy that is is best suited to use as underwear and indoors loungewear.

satin cloth examples

Remember, satin is a weaving pattern; it is not to silk what silk is to silk.

Satin can be made from multiple materials and is the ultimate relaxing around the home in opulent luxury while feeding the fireplace with stacks of money kind of cloth to wear.

Although women often wear satin dresses and shirts for formal outings, a man in satin while welding or riding a bike isn't really a thing - best not to be THAT guy.

Wear this cloth when you're expecting cozy, private company and general fanciness, not to go bowling.

Linen has a storied and ancient past, being one of the oldest known fabric types in the world.

This type of cloth is always made from flax fibers and its threads are so straight that they quite literally are linked in origin to the english word for 'line' (linen without the end 'n').

linen cloth examples

Look to linen for its absorptive, airy qualities. It is light and breathable to wear even in the hottest weather, plus it dries exceptionally fast, helping heavy sweaters stay dry.

Flannel cloth is soft and often a bit fuzzy.

Contrary to popular belief, flannel is NOT synonymous with plaid, it is simply a type of fabric. If you're looking for the grunge-style plaid stuff, that's called 'tartan' cloth - it can be made with many different materials and weaves.

flannel cloth example

Flannel is essentially cloth with a coarse weft that has been brushed to soften it in a process called 'napping'. Yes, flannel pijamas are pretty popular, but that's not what napping means here.

Choose flannel for casual outings, especially in cold weather, as well as outdoors activities where warmth is well appreciated.

Oxford cloth is specifically used for shirtmaking and can technically work for both formal and casual affairs. However, you're likely to find varieties like Pinpoint Oxford especially versatile compared to Royal Oxford, which is specifically for formal use.

oxford cloth example

Go for oxford if you need a solid all-arounder of a shirt.

Seersucker is a puckered cotton cloth type that works very well for heat-mitigating garments.

By varying the speed at which warp threads are fed into the cloth, seersucker takes on its characteristic puckered appearance.

seersucker cloth example

When the weather is hot and sweltering, this cloth kisses your skin with an assortment of air pockets, cooling you down consistently.

Seersucker shirts are often striped in alternating colors and give off a light, summery vibe when worn.

For Excercise and Outdoors

Synthetic cloth varieties are numerous and include special fabrics like Gore-Tex, SuperFabric and Ripstop which wick away moisture extremely well, protect the wearer from scrapes and resist tearing, respectively.

synthetic cloth example

These types of fabrics are usually best confined to sports activities and outdoors work when used unmixed with organic fibers.

Synthetics are capable of some very interesting things - stretching like freshly chewed bubble gum, insulating like fine fiberglass, itching like fine fiberglass, burning like kerosene sprinkled over hellfire...

But, they breathe like Egyptian cotton!

incredibles synthetic super suits

Polyester, nylon, rayon... They're ALL synths. Oh, and my superhero joke above makes a lot more sense considering materials like Kevlar and Spandex are also synthetics. Up, up and away!


How to Match Shirt Types to Face Shape


burt wonderstone face

Face shapes are super important for picking out the perfect shirt.

For simplicity's sake, we'll draw a hard line between narrow and wide faces. If your face measurements are closer to being square than rectangular, you have a wide face. If your measurements are pushing rectangular in shape, you have a narrow face.

how to tell your face type

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With the above in mind, you can quickly determine whether a shirt will look best on you - for face pairing purposes, all that counts is the collar.

Wide Faces

pops from regular show

If your face is wide, dress shirts featuring collars with less bulk will look better on you, as will collars that accentuate neck length instead of hiding it.

Button-down collars, pointed collars, club collars, mandarin collars and the like will really work well for you, whereas cutaway collars and classic collars will exaggerate the width of your face.

Narrow Faces

narrow face meme

Narrow faces benefit from the very collars wide faces fear most - bulky, wide collars pair perfectly with a slender visage.

Try cutaway collars, classic collars, 2-button collars, etc. to get great resuls, but steer clear of neck-elongating varieties like pointed and button-down collars if you know what's good for you.


How to Match Shirt Types to Body Shape


tom and jerry in great shape meme

Everybody's body is unique and clothing creators can't possibly factor in your exact dimensions for every item they offer.

If you don't know where to start when it comes to shirt choices, check out the tips below for skinny, athletic and large body types:

Skinny

so skinny meme

Heavy fabrics are a frail male's best bro.

Look for jerseys, polos and other similarly thick options. Wool and seersucker are good. Multiple layers are gooderer. Satin weaves and single layer linen? Not the gooderest.

As for patterns, avoid lengthening optical illusions in favor of their thickening brethren. Pick plaid over pinstripes.

Shun vertical lines. Choose lighter colors over dark. Banish 'super-slim fit' from your life.

Excorcise micropatterns from your wardrobe with holy water and hefty bags. You'll be glad you did.

Athletic

athlete dodgeball cheerleading donkeys

If you have the physique of a gold-medalist, or any medalist for that matter, finding the right shirts comes down to finding the right fit.

Many muscle-men mess up by going either way too large or far too small. Err on the side of effortless tailoring over try-hard slim fit options and definitely don't overshoot your size unless you like being mistaken for sentient furniture.

If you are broad-chested and boasting broad shoulders to boot, the best you can do is achieve a sharp, custom fit with the shirts you choose. Too tight and you'll just look ridiculous. Too loose and you'll go from buff to just big with no in-between.

Burlap sacks have never been in, so unless you aim to look like a friar, avoid the baggy stuff as much as possible.

If you want to accentuate your arms, give cap sleeves, sleeveless and ringer type tshirts a try.

Large

kirby meme face

Micropatterns make perfect. Large patterns can accentuate your size in the wrong ways, but more ornate patterns can play to your strengths.

Try not to hide behind especially large sizes, a classic or regular fit option can prove to be perfect for you, especially in heavier fabric.

Although you aren't likely to face quite the same issues as athletic guys, ensuring your shirts fit at the shoulders and consulting with a qualified tailor to tend to the waist can benefit you just the same.

Weather permitting, it helps to think of shirts as one piece of a layered look when shopping for a larger physique. You don't need each shirt to stand on its own if it can be paired with an overshirt or coat.


Common and Not-So-Common Shirt Patterns


spaghetti patterned shirt is stainproof

Shirt patterns are plentiful, but the patterns below are the ones you're likely to come across while shopping for shirts:

Stripes

zebra black with white stripes meme

There is a metric ton of stripes to sort through in menswear, but the stripes below are among the most common...

Hairline stripes are extremely thin and alternate consistently over cloth.

Pinstripes are comprised of a single warp thread, making a stripe as thin as hairline stripes. The difference lies in the line separation.

These can be narrowly spaced or wide apart and colors can vary greatly.

stripe size examples

Bengal stripes are just a bit thinner than candy stripes and are usually done in alternating colors.

Candy stripes are not actually bigger than bengals (the stripes, not the tigers), but some sources claim they are. A prime example of candy striped fabric is seersucker, which usually pairs pastel hues with white for contrast.

Butcher's stripes make for a bold, standout look in alternating colors.

Double and multitrack stripes group complex stripe patterns together for a more unique look.

Check

check pattern cloth example

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These types of patterns form squares with intersecting lines. There are loads of check variations, but these are relatively common:

Graph checks are fairly fine gridlike patterns that closely resemble, well, graphs.

Houndstooth patterns are created by weaving four or more light threads and the same amount of dark threads in an alternating twill pattern. The result - an abstract take on checks, that breaks what would be squares into jagged stars and space invader silhouettes.

check pattern types

Windowpane patterns use thin lines arranged in a wide array of squares.

Tattersall patterns place thin lines in a check pattern, alternating colors over a typically light background.

Checkered patterns are also known as 'dicing', bringing to mind chess games, racing flags and the like.

Plaid

plaid cloth example

The most common type of plaid is the kind that is usually associated with flannel, called 'tartan'.

Argyle

argyle cloth example

Argyle patterns are made up of squares set diagonally to form diamonds.

Print

print cloth example

Printed patterns range from floral artwork and paisely to abstract images and photographs. With shirt cloth as a canvas, almost any image can be printed and worn.

Burnout

burnout cloth example

No, not Burnout the classic racing game... Burnout patterns are known as 'devore' and are otherwise normal embroidered patterns treated with sulfuric acid to add distinct character. Everybody knows acid is cool.

The texture of a burnout fabric is pretty unique and the look equally so, but watch out - these tend to fall apart pretty quickly.

Also, this type of fabric is often produced fairly thin, so your new shirt could be a bit too sheer for your taste. Not everyone wants to dole out nipple salutes to passersby, so be advised.

Solid

solid cloth example

Solid colors are essentially an antipattern. The very antithesis of patterns altogether.


Understanding Shirt Sizes


shirt ordering meme

Getting shirt sizing just right is like getting applesauce just right - there is no 'just right', and even if there is, it can never be replicated.

However, for the stubborn, starry eyed romantics of the shirt purchasing world, I searched long and hard to find the guidelines gathered below:

US Sizing

US measurements meme

Shirt sizes in the US are made up of two numbers - for extra confusion. Just kidding!

The first number often has a fraction - for extra confusion. I'm not kidding anymore.

The second number often LOOKS like a fraction, but isn't one - for extra confusion. I wish I was kidding right now.

professor meme young frankenstein

The first number in a US shirt's size is actually the exact neck girth it is designed to fit in inches.

The second number is the length of the sleeve (in inches) from the middle of the shirt's back to the edge of its cuff.

If the second number looks like a fraction, it means it fits the sizes on either side of the backslash.

Unfortunately this common sizing convention is both incomplete and kinda dumb.

Neck girth only really matters for dress shirts and sleeve length matters quite a bit less for short sleeve shirt varieties, dressy or plain.

Larger men are likely all too familiar with waist size being a complete mystery when purchasing shirts based on such sizing standards; that is, until you put them on and find common ground with a freshly stuffed sausage link.

your shirt is way too small bro meme

Leaner types, on the other hand, have an assortment of "fit" variations to contend with: "Fitted", "athletic fit", "trim fit", "slim fit", "tailored fit" and so on...

Unfortunately, shirt manufacturers are mean-hearted lunatics.

Or, at least, it would seem that way given their size options and definitions are ALL different and sometimes completely insane.

Think I'm exaggerating? Look no further than the S-XL gambit...

Small, Medium, Large, etc.

goldilocks meme

Shirts sized in the standard small-to-XL fashion can be loosely bound to reasonable measurements.

For instance, a US small tends to be around 14 inches in neck girth, 35 inches in chest circumference, 30 inches in waist circumference and 32 1/2 inches in sleeve length.

With that out of the way, let's be a bit more realistic here and just throw those numbers out the window.

Shirt manufacturers don't care about numbers or consistency or war crimes... They care about SALES!

mr krabs the money is always right

Sometimes that means creating a 'small' that is actually small, out of the goodness of their hearts.

Other times, it means creating a 'small' that is a medium, a 'medium' with the waist size of a small and an 'extra large' with the sleeve length of a medium, the neck size of an extra small and the spirit of a tailor tossing and turning in his grave.

Truly the devil's work.

this pug asks why world, why

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Getting a great fit from any new brand you have no experience with means putting items on, snorting in disgust and taking them off again.

With a baseline size to work with (just check your current favorite shirt), you can guess your way to a good fit when you buy ready-made shirts from new brands.

European Sizing

mona lisa size meme

If you were expecting Europeans to have outclassed Americans in the shirt sizing arena, I grieve for you.

Euro sizing conventions for shirts are just as much fun as the US varieties, but at least with more manageable centimeters in place of inches and just one number for you to deal with.

If in doubt, remember 100 centimeters = 1 meter, but 100 inches = look, it's just 100 inches, ok?

I digress...

Eurpopean shirts go by the painfully vague s-xl system or the marginally less confusing neck size number. Yep, just the neck size, because who needs any more information than that?

Your shirt could turn out to be anything from a necklace of ragged cloth to an ill-fitting poncho for all they care, so long as that neck fits snug.

If your US neck size is 15.5 (inches), then your European shirt size should be roughly 39 (centimeters) or 'medium' depending on the phase of the moon and your mother's maiden name.

Asian Sizing

japanese shirts are normally too small

LOL, you're kidding right?

I won't profess to know why a European neck size of 39 is a 97 in Japan. Maybe it's whimsy. Maybe it's malice. Maybe, oh maybe it's a wee bit of madness.

You be the judge there, bub.

The general consensus for Westerners making clothing purchases in Asian markets is to shop like a kaiju and buy one size up (maybe even two sizes up) to account for major differences between sizes like 'small', 'medium' and 'large'.


T-Shirts


tea shirt T-shirt

Tshirts or t-shirts have all but taken over since the industrial age as the casual shirt of choice for most men worldwide.

Nothing else can compete with a tshirt's simplicity and relative ease of use, but these types of shirts are far more varied than many men are aware of.

The shirts below are all technically tshirts, but the style and fit possibilities they can afford you are vastly varied:

Basic

crewneck tshirt

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The standard tshirt we all know and love is named after its incredibly simple shape, which resembles a 'J'... I'm kidding, that'd be nuts!

Tshirts look like a 'T' thanks to their simplified sleeves and torso sections.

A humble shirt with humble beginnings, the tshirt used to be worn underneath another shirt by default. As comfort became more important than fancy-shmanciness, the shirt it was hidden under got hidden in a garbage bin instead.

Ringer

ringer tshirt

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This type of tshirt is named after its characteristic colored hems on the sleeves and collar. They form rings, so it's a dead ringer for its name.

These were huge in the 70's and have seen a resurgence in interest of late with the younger crowd (read: 'hipsters').

Use ringers to make your arms look bigger without being obnoxious about it.

Raglan

raglan tshirt

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These shirts boast of two-tone diagonal seams joining the sleeves and collar to the torso section.

Believe it or not, raglan tshirts were actually invented for high society utility; Lord Raglan of the British Army had them fashioned to fit his swordfighting style.

So, if you need a shirt to slay in, this one's for you.

Half Sleeves

half sleeves shirt

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Tees with half sleeves expose half your biceps and all of your forearms to the breeze.

3/4 Sleeves

3/4 sleeves tshirt

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Tees with 3/4 sleeves extend to that awkward spot halfway between your wrists and your elbows.

With these, it's never time to roll up your sleeves.

Cap Sleeves

cap sleeves shirt

Cap sleeves only cover your shoulders, making for an unrestrictive fit range-of-motion-wise.

Sleeveless

sleeveless tshirt

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If you're looking for the gun show, you've come to the right place.

These types of tshirts have absolutely no sleeves, leaving just your torso enveloped in fabric.

Tank tops of all types fit the bill here and are your best bet for showing off your arms to innocent passersby.

Just promise never to wear this...

sleeveless shirt gone horribly wrong

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Tunic

tunic tshirt

These shirts extend much lower than your average tee, touching knees and beyond more often than not.

Particularly popular in the East, tunic tees have a timeless exotic look to them and pair surprisingly well with the new bohemian aesthetic some men live and die by.

Halfshirt

halfshirt

A look for the bold, no doubt.

Halfshirts are almost everything a shirt needs to be, except for that pesky lower torso section they're ostensibly missing.

Unless you've got confidence for days, these are likely to be about half shirt/half embarassment to wear anywhere.

Pockets

pocketed tshirt

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Any variation of pockets can be added to tees to make them more interesting. Common variants include the classic chest pocket, shoulder pockets, etc.

These pockets are always useless, thanks to the thin, yielding types of fabric used to make tshirts, so don't plan on packing utility into your tshirts just because they have these.

Save the hand-grenades and mace for your Batman belt, ok? Also, maybe leave those at home.

Hooded

hooded tshirt

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Hooded tees may or may not have long sleeves to complement their hoods, but the hoods remain.

No, your tshirt having a hood does not make it a coat or hoodie. Sorry.

Neck Types

There are a number of neck types to choose from when it comes to tshirt selection. Here are the most common options:

Crewnecks are the standard neck type on most tshirts.

Crewnecks are round and get their name from late 30's rower attire.

Scoop type necks literally scoop out a little extra space under the neck in an elongated dip, exposing a bit more skin on presumably confident men.

These begin to drop down from closer to the shoulders than other neck types and vary in depth.

tshirt neck types

V-shaped necks come to a sharp, angular stop a bit lower on the chest than crew necks, accentuate developed upper bodies with a bit more restraint than scoops.

Slit necklines fall from the usual collar position in a sharp, narrow slit.

These are common on tunic type tees and similar shirt varieties.

Placket necks on tees, aproximate the types of frontal appearances button-down shirts normally have, though often without full functionality and also without extending all the way down the shirt.


Button-Down Shirt Collars and Cuffs - All the Main Types


tuxedo chimp

Collars are just as important to man as they are to dogs, and maybe cats... They wear collars too, right?

Shirt collars on button-downs, specifically, are definitely not made equal, so a bit of knowledge goes a long way towards making sure you get something both comfortable and venue-appropriate.

Oxford Collars

oxford collar

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These collars are commonly buttoned down and, owing to an oxford shirt's thicker fabric, they are not as sharply contoured as standard dress shirt collars.

Oxford shirts with oxford collars are overwhelmingly considered casual wear, though they can be made presentable enough for the office, etc.

Revere Collars

revere collar

Some men long to be admired, others to be revered.

No, I will not apologize for that joke.

Revere collars are the ghetto twerkers of the collar world - they dip, and they dip LOW. Well, maybe not THAT low.

You can find revere collars on classic short-sleeved evening shirts in soft fabrics. The softness is leveraged to let this type of collar hang in a deep 'V' shape without standing or bunching up awkwardly. *Cough, unlike ruffle shirts!

Band Collars

band collar

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These collars are great for fans of minimalism - they barely even exist!

By that I mean to say they are insubstantial, low profile, unobstructive and uniquely refined.

There are a few main types of band collars to choose from, each with its own little thing going on:

Mandarin collars are more substantial than other band collars, sticking upright and forming a thin 'V' or slit a the lower center of the neck. These collars originated in China, earning their name by being used by the Mandarin-speaking beaurocrats of the time.

Grandad collars are the standard, restrained band collar, typically fastened with a single button.

These collars generally form a single band around the neck and apparently are for grandads. I don't think mine ever wore these though.

band mandarin and grandad collars

Pointed Collars

Most dress and button-down shirts have straight point collars or a variation of a spread, but there are quite a few other varieties to choose from.

Straight Point collars are what most men associate with dress shirts and button-downs. These are standard everywhere pointed collars are worn.

Spread and Semi Spread collars are a tad more modern than straight points, boasting of a modest 'spread' between two shorter points at the nape of the neck.

Cutaway collars almost form a straight line horizontally across the neck thanks to the distance between their two points. This look is bolder than most collars and exposes more of your tie if you are wearing one.

Club collars are... Sorry, can't tell you unless you join the club.

I kid...

This collar's British, fancy school attendee origin made it pretty popular when it first came into being. However, you can sport a shirt with club-style rounded points (yep, ROUNDED POINTS) now without being affilliated with much of anything at all.

pointed collar examples

Tab collars take old-fashioned straight points and bind them down with an inconspicuous buttoned tab.

This tab is typically concealed by your tie and accomplishes the same thing the more antiquated collar bar used to.

Contrast collars provide contrast with the rest of your shirt. Yep, they are a different color and that, my friend, is all.

Many men find these silly or gaudy, but they can look good under certain circumstances. Pair them well with other traditional suit elements and you might be able to pull these collars off, though not as much as the next type...

Detachable collars were the inspector gadget approach to dignified daywear. Now (thankfully) retired, for the most part, these removable neck-warmers were once the brainchild of a certain innovative housewife who'd had enough of her husband's un-ironable collars.

Invented in 1827 by a particularly diligent wife named Hannah Montague who had had enough of trying to clean her husband's uncooperative shirt collar, the detachable collar rose to high fashion and then fell away at the advent of such modern interests as "comfort" and "simplicity".

Wingtip collars give your neck wings.

archangels drink red bull meme

Actually, they don't. Wingtip collars are a teeny, tiny version of other pointed collars where only the tips fold over while the rest of the collar sticks up.

These are far more formal than other pointed collars, qualifying for both white tie and black tie uses when paired with a bow tie. That's a lot of ties!

Barrel Cuffs

classic donkey kong barrels

These cuffs are to button-down shirts what mannequins are to storefront windows - the seemingly silly little details that are almost always included.

In truth, barrel cuffs are the most practical of cuff types, requiring the least amount of tailoring to serve their intended purpose.

Two buttons make these cuffs adjustable for all but the slimmest and largest of wrists without getting in the way once they've been fastened.

Double Cuffs

Double cuffs come to a flat edge that must be fastened with a cufflink. These are known as French cuffs and they usually look more sophisticated than barrel cuffs.

cuff types

Dress Shirts


you got some suit on your mud

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Dress shirts have had a lot of time to evolve over the years and remain the most common form of formal wear made widely available around the world.

The dress shirts covered below are relatively common and account for the bulk of what can be found for purchase:

Dinner Shirts

dinner shirt

These shirts are almost as formal as it gets - they are meant to be worn to black tie, evening events.

Dinner shirts are always white and are meant to be worn with a matching dinner suit.

The collar should be a semi-spread or wingtip and the cuffs always call for cufflinks. Bibs and large, pleated front plaquets dominate the head-on appearance of these shirts as well, without deviating in color.

Camp Shirts

camp shirt

Camp shirts are short-sleeved, simple button-down shirts with standard spread collars (sometimes revere collars).

The most famous varieties of camp shirts are aloha shirts with distinct, floral designs and bowling shirts in two colors.

Guayaberas

guayabera shirt

This shirt is also called a "camisa de Yucatan" and is made of fabric light enough to grant the wearer total compfort even in a veritable sauna of an environment.

Guayaberas are standard Mexican attire for men and sport a rows of vertical pleats along their backs.

Overshirts

overshirt

These special button-down shirts actually serve the purpose of a light jacket.

Overshirts are great for layering and usually come in heavier fabrics to support such a role in your wardrobe. These look nice as a hoodie or sweatshirt replacement without lapsing into fully formal territory. Frankly, they aren't formal at all, so don't visit the opera in one.

Poet Shirts

poet shirt

For the drunken pirate bard hidden in every man, the poet shirt boasts of exaggerated (and antiquated) features that flow and frolic in the wind.

Huge sleeves. Loose waist. Crazy, frilly v-neck with or without buttons.

Poet shirts have all of this in ample supply for the kind of guy who needs less than a push to swing out of a window with a cutlass clenched between his teeth.

Ruffle Front Shirts

ruffle front shirt

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These are precisely what they sound like - dress shirts with ruffles. Lots of ruffles, to be exact.

Maybe a good costume option, but probably out of place anywhere other than a laserlit stage.

Epaulette Shirts

epaulette shoulder on shirt

Despite the fancy name, an epaulette itself is really just a strip of cloth fastened in place with a button on the shoulder.

This look is evocative of military uniforms and makes for an edgy, shoulder-enhancing take on casual button-downs.

Western or 'Cowboy' Shirts

western shirts

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Cowboy shirts have a distinctive style that sets them apart from other button-down shirts.

These shirts feature stylized patterns around the shoulders and necklines,pockets with buttons and dense, durable fabric intended to make them last longer in demanding conditions.

Despite their utilitarian origins, these shirts are also worn as casually formal attire and come in a large variety of color combinations.

dress shirt types

Polo Shirts


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Also called tennis shirts, these special creations stem from sportswear and can help you achieve a look that is both comfortable and elegant.

Of course, there's a time and a place for everything, even polo shirts, as our hero above discovered. Don't just wear these everywhere.

There are essentially two main types, those derived from rugby and those derived from the collarless aspirations of rugby players:

Rugby Shirts

rugby shirts

These are basically polo shirts with a stiffer collar.

The stiff collar likely matches the stiff neck, knees and elbows ex-rugby players live with for the rest of their lives.

The softened, loosened variety commonly worn by men around the world is probably common enough to cut this sentence short.

Henleys

henley shirts

These are the polos of the collarless world.

They say dogs don't see in collars, but I can see this joke is terrible.

Don't laugh at that. I don't deserve it.

Henleys are great for those looking to benefit from a tshirt's comfort without committing to a tshirt's lightness. The thick fabric can prove to be far more flattering for most men and does not wear down as easily either.


Sports Jerseys and Sweatshirts


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Sports fanatics reading this article with bated breath can finally exhale...

Yes, sports jerseys qualify as shirts, though their usability is more restricted to casual outings than other shirt types.

No, shirtlessness is not a kind of shirt, so don't go there.

The following are the typical types:

Basketball Jerseys

basketball jersey

These jerseys were designed to offer unlimited range of motion to throwers and catchers of large balls.

Fine, they probably wouldn't put it that way, but it's true.

These are great for exercising and, surprise, playing basketball. You can maybe hit a club in these, but not the golf course kind.

Baseball Jerseys

baseball jersey

source

Baseball jerseys were designed to be bulky and uncomfortable. At least, it would seem that way to any sensible observer.

Unless you are sliding into third, a baseball jersey is very likely to feel a bit thick and stuffy. These can look great, but they might be too warm for your taste.

The usual baseball jersey design features a 'V' neck and buttons down the front, plus team colors and insignias of course.

Hockey and Football Jerseys

football jersey

Both hockey and football (American football!) jerseys feature gigantic sizes as they are meant to be worn over padded gear and body armor.

Not the best choice for a funeral, but definitely fun to wear on weekends and such.

hockey jersey

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Soccer Jerseys

soccer jersey

That's right. Throw your tomatoes, everyone; I called it "soccer".

Whether you call it by its bastardized American name, its much more logical name "football" or the pseudo English version I'm privy to here in Costa Rica ("futbol"), the shirts remain the same - short or long-sleeved, form-fitting, synthetic and colorful.

Sweatshirts

sweatshirt

"Nothing sounds quite as appealing as sweat." - Whoever invented sweatshirts, probably.

Horrible name aside, these are most good for exercising and loafing around your house. (Like sweatpants, for the most part.)

Sweatshirts are thick and sturdy, causing you to sweat. They are also fairly absorbant, catching and displaying your sweat for hours on end.

Hoodies are the hooded variety of the sweatshirt. Excellent for cold weather, late night robberies and much, much more!

hoodie

These push the boundaries of the term "shirt", but they still mostly qualify thanks to their single layered design and general lack of extraneous accoutrements.


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If there is much of anything left to say about shirts that wasn't mentioned in this monstrosity of an article, it probably isn't worth saying.

Read about the Algerian burnous next.

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