The Perfect Wedding Dress Shirt

The Big Day is coming up and you need to look your best. You’ll never have as many friends around, or as many photos taken, as you will on your wedding day, and there’s no doubt you’ll want to look back on the memories without cringing at your style choices.

“Which white dress shirt should I wear?” is the most frequently asked question we get when it comes to wedding attire. Weddings are unique and special events, and as such there are some special considerations you’ll want to make when you choose your dress shirt. Here we pull together our recommendations for everything you should think about when selecting the perfect wedding dress shirt.

Wedding Dress Shirt

Fabric Color – White vs Ecru vs Ivory

A white dress shirt is usually a safe bet if the bride is wearing a white or ivory dress. If the bride or bridesmaids are wearing anything closer to cream-colored than ivory, however, then a pure white dress shirt is out of the question as it will cause the bride/bridesmaids to look dingy relative to you in photographs. Instead, you’ll want to opt for an ecru or ivory dress shirt in that case. Ecru will usually be a slightly darker color than ivory, though the thickness of the fabric can also influence the perception of the color (i.e. a lighter weight ecru dress shirt will appear lighter in color than a heavier one). Overall we find that, when in doubt, a white dress shirt will do the trick.

Fabric Thickness – Do you plan to wear an undershirt?

One important thing to consider when selecting your wedding dress shirt is how opaque you want it to be. Thinner fabrics like broadcloth or poplin will be more sheer than thicker pinpoints and twills, and depending on your skin tone a thinner shirt may look a bit darker against your chest without an undershirt. One way to combat this is, predictably, to wear a white undershirt. If you plan to take your jacket off during the event, you will see the contrast of the undershirt’s short sleeves under the shirt sleeves at the biceps. This will be bothersome for some, and not as big a deal for others. If you opt for a thicker, more opaque white fabric, you can avoid an undershirt completely, or in the case where you do wear an undershirt not worry so much about the contrast at the sleeves.

Additionally, a thicker dress shirt fabric will usually be a bit more wrinkle resistant and for many guys will drape in a more flattering way.

If you can’t handle all the options, we strongly suggest the following fabrics for their individual merits:

  1. Thomas Mason White 3 Ply Regal Twill ($180) – Very opaque; medium heavyweight; subtle shine; pronounced weave texture.
  2. Thomas Mason White Fine Twill ($150) – Fairly opaque; medium weight; subtle shine; very smooth finish with minimal texture.
  3. Greenwich White Twill ($145) – Very opaque; medium weight; brilliant shine; smooth yet visible texture.
  4. Sutton Wrinkle-Resistant White Imperial Twill ($95) – Fairly opaque; medium heavyweight; brilliant shine; pronounced weave texture.
  5. Thomas Mason White Luxury Broadcloth ($160) – Fairly opaque; very lightweight; matte finish; very smooth and free of texture.

How long should the shirt be?

If you plan to keep the shirt tucked into your pants for the entire day/night, then a longer shirt is ideal. A longer dress shirt will stay tucked in better and keep a better alignment at the bottom front of the shirt above your belt. This is great for when you’re taking your wedding photos, and will prevent you from worrying about whether or not your shirt is properly tucked during what is sure to be a hectic few hours. The exception to the longer shirt rule is if you plan to really cut loose on the dance floor after the main event—untuck your shirt, tie your tie around your head, and just go crazy with the Electric Slide. No shame in that whatsoever, and a shorter shirt might work (and look) a bit better in that case.

Collar Style

Whether you’re wearing a tuxedo or a suit, we generally recommend the President Spread collar. It goes equally well with a bow tie and a neck tie, and is a pretty universally safe bet no matter your body type. Our English Spread collar is also a good choice if you want to go for a slightly more modern look. If you’re doing a tuxedo shirt and your dress code is very formal, then you can also opt for the Wingtip collar, but keep in mind that this collar style tends to move out of place and can be a pain to monitor, particularly when you’re having your photo taken constantly.

French Cuff or Barrel Cuff

This depends a bit on the formality of the event. If you’re marrying up, and her dad is paying for a very fancy, very formal wedding (at a castle… in Italy…) then you’ll probably want to go with French cuffs. If the wedding is black tie and you’re wearing a tuxedo, then French cuffs are technically the default cuff style choice. You’ll want to give some special consideration to the cufflinks. Perhaps you have some special cufflinks that are a family heirloom, or a gift from someone special? Alternatively, nice black onyx cufflinks that match the studs in your tuxedo can also be a great choice.

Barrel cuffs certainly work for weddings, so if that’s more your speed then that’s fine too. They work best with suits, rather than full tuxedos, as they are less formal than French cuffs.

Pocket

In almost no situation will you want to have a pocket on your wedding shirt. It automatically makes the shirt less formal, and will give your overall look a kind of “everyday”—rather than “special”—vibe.

Attending a Wedding?

Guest attire can be confusing, too. Let our Summer Wedding Style Guide help you decide what to wear.