A guide to finding the right shirt

dress to the nines

A guide to finding the right shirt

Whether you’re looking for the perfect shirt for that make-or- break office presentation, or need help getting dressed for a Saturday night, here’s a guide to sorting through different fabrics, patterns and styles so you always make the right choice.

A work shirt

One of the most important elements of your wardrobe, it’s always good to stay  subtle and classy when it comes to work shirts. It’s especially important to look at the material for your office getup –structured fabrics like cotton and linen hang well and look elegant. While colours and patterns should remain muted in pastels and whites with simple stripes, you can get a little experimental with a contrasting collar and cuff.

A formal dinner

When it comes to a formal dinner, your looks needs to be striking, yet classic. Here’s where you can play with darker colours and even textured fabrics. Try a silk blend fabric in a charcoal grey for that sophisticated sheen. For a contemporary touch, try tone-on-tone stripes or checks. To play the style card even better, match this with a cutaway collar for a touch of flair.

A wedding

This is where you can really live your James Bond moment in a crisp white shirt with pleats down the front and contrasting black buttons. This look is all about luxury, so make sure to pick a rich cotton fabric like twill or broadcloth which will also give you a bit of shine. Pair that with a Wingtip collar and French cuff, and you’re all set to be debonair.

A night in the town

An occasion to throw all caution to the wind, here’s where dressing up gets really fun. Pull out all those striking patterns, experiment with contrasting colours and dance the night away. Try traditional or quirky prints with a mixed fabric to give your ensemble a little sheen. To finish off, pick something in a slim fit with a stylish button-down collar.

An afternoon lounge

This is the time for relaxation for which a linen shirt always works best. Try one with a Chinese collar for that pared down just rakish feel. A square hem (straight instead of curved) works best for this kind un-tucked kind of look.

Here’s some general pointers to keep in mind for any kind of shirt:

Pattern harmony: A shirtmaker’s skill lies in preserving a fabric’s integrity even after it has been cut and sown into a shirt. Perfect matching of stripes and checks from yoke to sleeve, at the sleeve plackets, the front placket and pretty much everywhere is a must.

It’s all about the cut: Pay attention to the cut of your shirt to make sure that it flatters your physique and also allows you ease of motion. The fit should conform to your size and taper at your torso.

The collar: A collar, regardless of its shape, should sit perfectly, falling softly from the collar band it stands on onto your collarbone. The collar band itself should always be fused from the outside so as to ensure the inside that contact with your neck is soft and supple.

(The author is director, Camessi)

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