Shirts are one of the most versatile pieces of clothing that a man could own; they can be dressed up or down, and they come in a plethora of different styles, fabrics, and fits. Whether it’s a casual weekend T-shirt or an iconic Oxford cotton, they come in all kinds and sizes. This comprehensive guide will help to identify the various types of shirts for men, as well as providing advice on which type of shirt best suits each man for a range of occasions.
Casual Shirts for Men
Men’s casual shirts are ideal for everyday wear; those who prefer comfort over style can easily find a shirt that suits their needs without compromising on their preferred aesthetic. Here are a few types of men’s casual shirts:
T-shirts – T-shirts are iconic closet staples that are favored for a reason. Most commonly, T-shirts come with a crew neck and short, capped sleeves, and on the whole, classic T-shirts often look quite plain and masculine.
Polo Shirts – As a more preppy alternative to T-shirts, polo shirts are often favored by those with a more preppy or smart-casual sense of style. These shirts are created with a curved collar, two or three buttons, and an open neckline and are normally shorter than regular tops.
Henley Shirts – Henleys are long-sleeved shirts with a high neckline and a placket of three to five buttons running along the front of the shirt. Like T-shirts, they are often plain and solid in color, with subtle variation in sleeve length and button detail.
Button-Down Shirts – As their name suggests, button-down shirts are a type of shirt that fastens with buttons rather than with a zipper or other closure. The key difference between a shirt with conventional buttons and a button-down shirt is that the latter has a flap at the end of the placket to make the shirt more secure.
Formal Shirts for Men
For styling a more sophisticated look, there are a few key pieces that are more essential when looking for formal shirts for men.
Dress Shirts – Dress shirts are an essential part of any man’s wardrobe as they can be dressed up or down for most occasions and provide a classic, timeless look. The key feature of a dress shirt is a pointed collar, although French collars are also very common. As they are meant to be worn with a suit, they are often cut slim and with a slightly tapered waist.
Oxford Shirts – Oxford shirts are Cotton shirts with a distinctive texture created using two fabrics that are woven together in a basketweave. This creates a robust material that is less prone to wrinkling and is held in high regard for its tactile appeal. Oxford shirts usually have a button-down collar and tend to be more formal than other dress shirts.
Linen Shirts – Lightweight and airy, linen shirts are perfect for warmer weather as they can be worn with trousers or shorts to create a smart-casual look. Linen shirts are characterised by a simple look, although they do come in a range of colours and patterns. Though softer on the skin, linen is not as resilient as other fabrics and so should be washed carefully.
Tuxedo Shirts – As their name suggests, tuxedo shirts are a type of shirt created especially for wearing with a tuxedo (black tie). They are typically made of white cotton or silk and feature a pleated front, a pointed collar, and French cuffs. They are usually plain, although some tuxedo shirts may feature a small pattern on the fabric.
Shirt Fabric Types for Men
Just as there are many different types of shirts for men, there is an equally impressive variety of fabrics in which the majority of these shirts are created from. Knowing which fabric is best for a certain shirt can dictate a man’s choice not only for comfort but for style as well.
Cotton – Cotton is often touted as the most versatile fabric when it comes to men’s shirts, as it is suitable for any kind of occasion. Cotton shirts come in a range of fabrics, whether it is a standard oxford, Broadcloth, or a poplin, so there is something for every style and occasion. Cotton is a strong and durable fabric, and it is resistant to wrinkling, making it an ideal choice for formal occasions.
Linen – Although linen needs more care and attention than cotton, it is still a popular fiber used in men’s shirts, especially light-colored shirts for the warmer months. Linen shirts are a lightweight alternative to heavy cotton shirts and can provide a truly timeless look.
Silk – Silk is a luxurious fabric used for formal occasions and high-end shirts. It’s a lightweight and fluid fabric, so it can often look impressive when a man is dressed in a suit. However, it is also quite delicate and needs to be treated carefully.
There is a vast range of shirts for men, with something to suit every style, occasion, or fabric preference. As a man’s wardrobe is built up, each piece should be carefully chosen so as to maximize versatility and ensure a confident look that is appropriate for the occasion. Whether opting for something more casual or formal, the most important thing to consider is fit; the rest can be left up to personal preference.