5th October 2012

Menswear Shirts 101

One for the boys… Damilola Ade-Odiachi walks us through the best of this season’s menswear shirts.

‘He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel…shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange with monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily. “They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts before.”‘

As Nick and Daisy from The Great Gatsby discovered, the power of a good shirt cannot be underestimated. It is capable of summoning grudging admiration from men and sheer delirium from women. A classic shirt is an investment. If taken care of properly, it can last years and will always be a good shirt.

Photo: Zegna.com

A man must own at least one white shirt. There’s no excuse not to. A white shirt will go well with a pair of jeans, or underneath a dark suit or blazer. Nothing shows off a tan better than a white shirt. The white shirt on display here is cotton twill from Ermenegildo Zegna. The fabric is soft and comfortable and the semi-spread collar means that the shirt will probably fit with most ties and suits. A shirt for all occasions.

Photo: Hackett.com

This is a slim fit blue Oxford weave shirt from Hackett with a single button cuff and a straight pointed collar. It’s more casual than the first shirt listed, and you’ll need a narrow knot if you want to pair it with a tie. It’s a great shirt to own because of the slim fit. This means that it is made to closely fit your torso. Extra fabric never hides, it only ever amplifies. The shirt is also in a soft light colour. This is in keeping with the Gatsby, 1920s theme as shirts at this time were either light or striped.

Photo: ralphlauren.co.uk

I’m a fan of the custom fit by Ralph Lauren. It forms a respectable middle ground between the baggy classic fit and the sometimes too tight slim fit. This shirt is a purple striped custom fit shirt with a button down collar. The editors of GQ say, “it’s the old school all American look. Has never gone out of style and probably never will.” I agree! As it is purple it’s not as conservative as the two shirts above it. It’s a great way to show off some of your personality while looking classic. As Fred Astaire said, “Be yourself – but don’t be conspicuous.”

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