Dress shirts are one of the items of clothing in any guy’s wardrobe that you just can’t do without. You might not have to wear a suit to work anymore, but there are the occasional formal events where you need to be looking nice. Dress shirts of today have flexibility, too. You can wear them with suits and without, with ties and without, and, given the right shirt, with tuxedos down to a cool pair of shorts.
Kesha McLeod, a stylist and visual architect who styles the likes of P.J Tucker, James Harden, and Serena Williams, has been playing with the idea of a dress shirt in her work.
“When you start thinking about what dress shirts really are, you often think about them under a suit or with a dressy element,” says McLeod. “In recent years, dress shirts have become part of that business casual dress: two buttons undone, rolled-up sleeves, or pairing them with jeans and sneakers for Sunday brunch. Post-COVID, I have to wonder how even more casual our dress code is going to become.”
That’s the thing with dress shirts: They’re not going away, merely evolving. Yes, a formal shirt is necessary when the situation calls for it, but you can get away with having maybe one go-to formal shirt and a few more less stuffy dress shirts instead.
McLeod recommends three basics to start: one workman’s blue French cuff, one white oxford, and one tuxedo shirt. “Those are your most essential three,” she says. “From there, you can experiment with collars, colors, and patterns.”
Of course, there are a million dress shirts and surely fewer than a million places you might need to wear one. So, we narrowed it down for you. Here are some of the best dress shirts for men, ranging in price, formality, and overall feel. Here’s how to get started.