Four Dress Shirts Every Man Should Have in His Closet

I often get asked what are the basics every gentleman should have when building a wardrobe.   That is a big topic and today I’d like to chat about what dress shirts every man should have in his closet.  If you’re wearing suits 5 days a week or if you don’t wear suits at all, I feel like there are a couple of basic go-to shirts every guy needs to have.  Whether you’re 22 or 70, these are classic shirts you can wear to work, parties, dinners, weddings, funerals, etc. Pretty much any occasion. The four shirts I’m going to cover are classic white, classic blue, purple/pink and a patterned shirt. 

The Classic White Shirt:

White is a no brainer. With the white shirt, I definitely suggest picking one with a collar that frames your face. It can be a spread collar, a button down, a widespread/euro spread or point collar.  I’d suggest you pick a collar that frames your face and compliments your business.  If you work in a conservative field, I’d suggest a standard spread or button down. Nothing too modern, flashy or small.  Pick a good classic white shirt with a collar you can wear 7 days a week to almost any function. Keep it simple. If you wear a lot of suits, maybe buy 2 or 3 of these for your wardrobe. When you’re picking a fabric, make sure that you’re not picking something that’s too sheer or thin.  People don’t want a see your nipples or chest hair. Maybe you like to show that off, however, for business, I’d highly suggest not. You can wear that sheer shirt to the clubs or going out. Not for business. If you’re in the warmer climates, I’d something a little thinner fabric and not so heavy.  If you’re a bigger or muscular guy with a larger frame, pick a fabric with more texture and body to it. You can pick up 2 or 3 shirts depending on how often you wear shirts. I’d also suggest you buy better quality for shirts you will wear more often. I recommend this because they will last longer. Especially in collars and cuffs, that’s where they usually get worn from friction and fraying because they rub against everything.

The Classic Blue Shirt:

The next color is blue. When picking a basic everyday blue shirt stick with a lighter shade and something with texture or detail in the fabric. Basic blues are great and necessary but can be pedestrian.  Look at the weave and texture of the fabric. Here is where I’d suggest something with interest in the fabric. I’d pick a collar that’s suitable for your face and your frame – just like I mentioned above with the white shirt.  If you’re not wearing a lot of ties, get a shirt with a hidden button-down collar so that it all stays in place. I’d suggest starting with 1 or 2 blue shirts. You can always add more. I don’t suggest buying 5 or 6 of a shirt when you haven’t worn it.  If you end up not liking the shirt, then you are stuck with 5 or 6 bad fitting shirts. Building a wardrobe will take some work and effort in the beginning to find what brand, fit, and quality you like. Don’t fret and just keep note of where you got them.  Luckily, they should have a label in the shirt somewhere to help. When I make shirts for a new client, many times I only make him or her 1 or 2 shirts to start with. I get the fit and fabric exactly how the client likes it and then I design him more. Building a wardrobe won’t happen overnight.  Wear the clothing and slowly add to it. 

Lt Purple or Pink Shirt:

The next color I’d suggest is a “fashion color” like purple or pink. Purple isn’t really a fashion color (anymore), however, it’s a great basic that brightens up your wardrobe/outfit without being too bold. This is a great option for Sundays to church, to parties, weddings, or just every day to the office. I’d encourage a softer shade of purple or pink, maybe something with texture, and, again, same comment about the collar (see white paragraph above).  If you haven’t worn a purple shirt, it’s time.

A Patterned Shirt:

The fourth and final basic shirt you should have in your wardrobe is something with a micro or classic pattern. I’d suggest a check or plaid but keep it simple.  1 or 2 colors in the pattern and nothing larger than a half an inch repeat.  I’d suggest keeping it simple because:

You can easily match a tie to it (if needed)

It can be worn under most any solid suit or sport coat 

Pick a pattern people won’t remember.  You want a shirt you can wear week after week and most people won’t remember if you wore a white or blue shirt but at times do remember if you wore a bold pattern. 

I’m suggesting a simple/micro pattern so it blends into your look. These basic shirts I’m recommending won’t turn heads and can be worn day after day.  It’s part of your uniform. Yes, I know that sounds boring, however, the jacket or suit you wear can have style and personality. The tie or accessories can be fashionable and turn heads.  These 4 basic wardrobe building shirts should be classic looks that won’t go out of style. 

If you have been wearing the same white or blue shirt for the last 4 or more years, it’s time to freshen up your assortment.  One point I can’t stress enough is just get 1 or 2 when you are building your wardrobe. You can always add more when needed. Many store push deals where buy 2 get one free.  This is great but only if you have worn the shirts before. Be patient. Building a wardrobe could take a season or 2. 

I sell these classic shirts at my store and I’m happy to custom make you any of these 4 shirt types.  Call or email to schedule your personal fitting. 

Q. Contrary

3188 East Indian School Road

Phoenix, AZ 85016

602-301-6987

[email protected]