A strong selection of shirts forms the backbone of any modern man's wardrobe. Whether you want to look trim with a slim fit shirt or size up to create a relaxed style, this guide will help you make sense of all the options.
We'll discuss classic, slim and modern men's shirts, how to measure yourself for the ultimate fit and explain the different collar types on offer.
The first thing you need to do when looking to expand your shirt empire is check your measurements. Grab a tape measure and quickly record a few key stats about your body shape to make sure you're on the mark every time. The most obvious measurement is the collar. You need to get this right, as it can throw off the entire look if you get it wrong.
Shirt collars are measured in inches and usually run in half sizes so you can get the perfect fit. If you have a 15-inch neck measurement you should choose a 15 and a half inch shirt collar to allow yourself a bit of extra breathing space. All you need to do is wrap the tape measure around your neck (not too tightly but with no gaping) and read off the size, then add half an inch to that. If you're between sizes, you should round up for comfort.
Following on from the collar measurement, you can check your chest, although this will vary from shirt to shirt. Formal styles tend to be sized with the collar first, whereas more casual shirts like Oxford cotton styles usually have regular S, M, L sizing, so its best to try a few on a see which feels best.
There are loads of different shirt styles on the market and essentially it comes down to personal preference. What makes you feel the most comfortable?
Classic fit shirts are the roomiest, with ample space around the chest and under the armpits. The waist is generally wider than most others, offering more freedom to move around.
These are just what you need for everyday wear, and will match well with business suits as well as your favourite jeans. White is the classic, but you can always mix it up with subtle pastel shades, too.
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Slim fit shirts are tighter, as the name would suggest. The waist and chest are pulled in slightly to provide a more refined silhouette. These shirts sit much closer to the skin of the wearer, with the added benefit of looking especially sharp when tucked into a formal pair of trousers, as there is less excess material left hanging out.
In between these two styles sits the modern shirt, which is a sort of hybrid. It offers a more tailored silhouette through the waist and chest but is not as close-fitting as a slim shirt. It also has a slightly longer tail and front.
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For big occasions like weddings or important networking events, a formal shirt is your best bet. These generally come in simple block colours with little or no branding visible. Wearing cufflinks to keep your shirt cuffs perfectly in place and add an individual twist.
Dress shirts are also great for formal events where you are required to dress in black tie with a dinner jacket. Some dress shirts have elaborate designs and extra detailing around the buttons, collar and cuffs. Add a bold bow tie and black dinner suit for maximum impact.
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Make sure you look the part by picking the correct collar. Casual Oxford cotton shirts have a pointed collar with small button fastenings to keep it securely in place. This is ideal for a casual look or when a tie isn't necessary – it makes an excellent office workwear staple, which you can quickly build up a range of classic colours such as blues, greys and whites.
Formal evening shirts tend to have more open collars that allow room for a statement tie or bow tie. They don't have button fastenings as the tie helps to give the collar its shape and stay rigid. Point collars also look great with formal outfits and offer a contemporary and sleek look when worn with a slim fabric tie.
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If you want to take shirt care into your own hands, wash yours at 40 degrees with similar colours. A fabric softener will keep the fabric supple and provide extra comfort. Avoid using a tumble dryer as the prolonged heat can shrink the fabric. Instead, hang them to dry using a coat hanger. As the shirt dries the creases will naturally fall out which means it will be much easier to iron.
If your shirts get stained, use stain remover products and spray the areas such as the collar and cuffs, which have the most movement against the skin. Let it soak in before you load it up in the wash and your shirts will come out looking fresher than ever.
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Whatever the occasion, there are shirts options to suit the dress code and complement your personal style. Browse the collection of shirts at House of Fraser to find your ideal match.