Crisp, clean and cool, a white shirt is the holy grail of any chic man’s wardrobe.
by Sheetal Pritmani
Creative Director at Milk Shirts
Trends may come and go, but nothing will ever beat the iconic white shirt. Historically underappreciated due to its simplicity, this classic garment has evolved into an essential fashion statement, with its varying details reflecting the various personas of today’s contemporary man.
A white shirt is indispensable for its ability to go from power dressing in the office to seamlessly melding into the “off duty” casual wardrobe. Needless to say, there is no such thing as having too many. With nuances to cut and style changing the entire look of a white shirt, it is important to know what to look for in “the” staple white shirt in your collection of whites. Investing a little more in a good-quality white shirt will go a long way not only in looking better, but in making you feel better, too.
The most important facet is the fabric. A “two-fold 100” is a mark of quality and has a longer life. Similarly to cotton bed sheets, a higher yarn count of the fabric, such as 100s, 120s, 140s, or 160s, indicates a smoother, silkier and hence more expensive fabric.
The best shirts come with:
Single needle stitching
Pearl buttons (over the regular plastic buttons)
● Collars that have a soft feel to it
● The renowned removable collar stays to stop your collars from collapsing
As a general rule of thumb, many menswear pundits will tell you that when selecting a collar shape, the shape should match your facial structure.
● Namely, portly men should look for pointed collars or button downs to de-emphasize the roundness of the face, which also gives an appearance of a longer neck.
● Those with more of an angular face should balance it with wide or moderate spread collars to give the face a fuller look and wider jawline.
Also useful to keep in mind regarding collar shapes is that they form a spectrum of formality, so try to pair your clothing in that manner:
● Button-downs are usually more informal
● Straight collars are in between formal and informal
● Spread and cutaway collars are the most formal
To nail a casual look, a sports coat would work well with a sweater over an oxford button-down shirt.
Another detail to fuss over is shirt cuffs:
● Button cuffs make for a suitable choice for work and casual affairs
● The two-button cuff was, and still is, the most common choice among the famed Savile Row tailors in London’s West End
● French cuffs, on the other hand, are more ideal for important work meetings and formal events, though nowadays you’ll see them worn for a lot of occasions. These cuffs require cufflinks and the idea is to complement your attire.
A well-chosen pair of cufflinks has the power to transform your look from standard and good to suave and debonair. Whils I do agree with this logic, rules can be broken once mastered. Therefore, go ahead and experiment with the numerous options available to add diversity to your wardrobe. It is all about trying new things and also having a bit of fun – but details do matter. After all, ask any gentleman who has signed an agreement: the devil is in the details.
Milk Shirts (www.milkshirts.com) can be purchased online, and the website offers free worldwide shipping. Made to measure service is also available.