The Business Shirt Guide

Our definitive guide to picking the perfect shirt for the office. From fabric to collar style, we break down the details to help you look your professional best.

01

The Classic Spread Collar Shirt

The number one, always appropriate, most versatile business shirt to have. The President Spread collar is great with and without a jacket, with and without a tie. It’s sufficiently formal and makes a universally clean impression in pretty much every American business environment.

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The Classic Spread Collar Shirt Detail of Non-Iron Stretch Supima White Twill

We prefer it with a French front, no pocket, and a simple Long One Button cuff for a crisp, no-nonsense look. To keep it classic, stick to solid colors or very subtle patterns (white, light blue, blue, or pink).

02

The Office Button Down Shirt

For a slightly more relaxed yet put-together business look. Combining a fused Button Down collar with a non-iron pinpoint fabric makes a business shirt that’s sharp and unfussy. Not to be confused with oxford cloth button down shirts, which can be overly casual.

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The Office Button Down Shirt Detail of Non-Iron Supima Blue Pinpoint Button Down

Shown with a fused Standard Front placket and a pocket, but consider these two design details optional. Wear this shirt with dress pants and chinos alike.

03

The Cutaway Shirt

For a slightly more European or British look, turn to the wider-spread Cutaway collar. The swept back shape makes a bold statement. Wear it with or without a tie, and with a jacket be sure you have medium to wide lapels to ensure a balanced look.

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The Cutaway Shirt Detail of Non-Iron Light Blue Multi Houndstooth Roma Cutaway

The Cutaway collar has definite personality. To maintain a sleek look, forego the placket and pocket. Solid colors and very small patterns work best with it.

04

The French Cuff Shirt

While French Cuffs may have become less popular in the last two decades, they are still a relatively common style, and elevate the dress shirt to a more serious, formal level. French Cuffs should be selected for shirts intended to be worn under a jacket.

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The French Cuff Shirt Detail of Thomas Mason White Luxury Broadcloth French Cuff

Having at least one white French Cuff shirt in your wardrobe is a great way to be prepared for special events and galas.

05

The Multi-Check Shirt

The Multi-Check combines two colors into one pattern at a scale that is noticeable from a distance. Glen plaids and Prince of Wales checks also fall under this category. Shirts with these patterns are less formal, more friendly, and generally have more personality than solids.

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The Multi-Check Shirt Detail of Non-Iron Supima Lavender and Blue Multi Gingham

A go-to for business casual environments thanks to their inviting colors. Stick to low contrast, light colors rather than darker checks for more versatility. Pair with chinos or dress pants.

06

The Micro Check Shirt

Micro-checks and houndstooths are small patterns that are in some cases so subtle they look like a solid color from a distance. They maintain a relatively traditional business look, and are a nice way to mix a little variety into your Monday-Friday wardrobe.

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The Micro Check Shirt Detail of Mayfair Wrinkle-Resistant Lavender Houndstooth
07

The Stripe Shirt

Stripes have long been appreciated for their visually slimming effect. They come in a range of scales, from incredibly subtle fine stripes to bolder bengal stripes. Pair a striped shirt with a jacket or suit, or tuck it into dress pants on its own. Whichever way you choose, it’s a classic.

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The Stripe Shirt Detail of Non-Iron Stretch Light Blue Bengal Stripe

You’ll want to make sure your choice of stripe is appropriate for your office environment and position. Thinner stripes are considered more formal, while wider stripes make a bigger statement. Typically, the more senior you are, the bolder the stripe you can get away with.

08

The Knit Dress Shirt

As a modern alternative to the classic woven dress shirt, the knit shirt is all about comfort and versatility. It’s soft, breathable, and naturally stretchy, with texture that adds subtle interest. It pairs easily with both tailored pieces and your sportier gear for both the weekday and weekend.

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The Knit Shirt Detail of Sullivan Light Grey Melange Easy Care Knit

A fused collar and cuffs will lend a knit shirt a more sophisticated look that works well in an office environment. Unfused details have a sportier look and behave more like a polo shirt.

Twill Fabric01
Broadcloth Fabric02
Pinpoint Fabric03
Royal Oxford Fabric04

Fabric Choices

For office appropriate dress shirts, we generally stick to twills, broadcloths, pinpoints and royal oxfords.

Twills01 particularly favorable for their wrinkle-resistant properties and opacity. They have a bit of shine that feels inherently dressier.

Broadcloths02 are a lighter-weight alternative, nice for their no-nonsense matte finish and crisp detail on patterns. They’re prone to wrinkling and more transparent in light colors than other fabrics.

Pinpoints03 have a flattering drape and hold their structure nicely. They’re a simple classic with a little more weight to them.

Royal Oxfords04 are more visually interesting, with a pronounced dot-like texture that adds nice detail to a look. These are the heaviest of the business fabrics.

Style Details

Collar Styles

For dress shirts, stick to our stiff, fused collars. The President Spread is our most popular and most versatile collar option. The President Button Down is a traditional way to mix things up.

Cuff Styles

Dress shirts should have crisp, fused cuffs. The Long One Button cuff has an elegant, simple shape, while the Mitered One Button cuff has a bit more visual interest. Particularly formal business environments or events call for French cuffs.

Pockets

Business appropriate dress shirts should generally be kept clean and simple, but if you like the convenience of a pocket, opt for the Rounded style. If you’re not going to use the pocket on a dress shirt, it doesn’t belong there.

Front Styles (Placket)

For the shirt front, stick to either the French Front or Standard Front placket. Avoid a Soft Front placket for a dress shirt as it will pucker when laundered and look too casual.

Putting it Together

  • Custom Pants

    For the office, opt for a perfect fitting pair of chinos or dress pants. As a general rule of thumb, the darker the color, the more formal the pants will appear.

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  • Custom Jackets

    Complete your look with a sport coat. Whether it matches your dress pants or adds interest with a contrasting color or pattern, the jacket pulls the look together.

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  • Custom Suits

    Take the whole look up a notch with a full suit. Premium fabrics will add a subtly unique touch and last a lifetime if properly cared for.

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