What to Look for in a Formal Shirt

I’m a shirt aficionado. Formal shirts are an important part of my wardrobe. A smart shirt can lift a relatively drab suit, smarten up a pair of jeans and improve the appearance of any ensemble by a few notches.

So what should you look for in a formal shirt?

  1. Fit. It is absolutely important that your shirt fits you well. If you’ve not been measured for a while, or have never been measured, you should do so. Your collar, chest and sleeve length are the key measurements. Figure out whether regular fit, slim fit, or ultra slim fit are the best option for your physique
  2. Collar shape. Shirts come in a range of collar shapes and styles. Figure out whether a cut away collar works better for you than a classic collar or indeed a narrow Italian collar.
  3. Collars should be non fused. They should also have removable collar bones to help keep collars in place without curling.

    TML Lilac-Blue Stripe Twill, Windsor slim fit
  4. Select patterns that work for you. Stripes? Check? Plain? And colours from a classic range which should include white, blue, lilac and pink.
  5. Cuffs should extend beyond a jacket sleeve by 1/2 inch and reach the end of the wrist. Ideally it should be double cuffs which should also me non fused.
  6. Fabrics should be good quality cotton with high quality stitching.

For great shirts try T M Lewin. All their shirts tick these boxes and available in a wide range of sizes, as well as fabrics, patterns and colours. Best of all they are available on sale right now as low as 4 for £75.  Alternatively, try Thomas Pink, Hawes&Curtis or Charles Tyrwhitt.

3 thoughts on “What to Look for in a Formal Shirt

  1. Hello,

    You said non-fused collars and cuffs, so that rules out Charles tyrwhitt shirts?

    Perhaps traditionally it was either 1) starched, or 2) unfused

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