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We may have taken a two-year break from the office, but fashion trends kept moving. Now, as many of us swap sweats for slacks and slippers for dress shoes as we return to the office, we’re realizing that our work wardrobes might need a refresh. One easy way to do just that? Stock up on the best dress shirts.
Whether you work in a suit-and-tie office or one that favors jeans and sneakers, the best dress shirts lend stylish, versatile professionalism. Put a crisp white button-up under that suit for extra sharpness, or throw an Oxford shirt over a logo tee and jeans to clean things up enough for the conference room. This is where the versatility comes in: the best dress shirts can be worn on just about any occasion, tucked in or out, buttoned up or open.
How to Choose the Best Dress Shirts?
Because dress shirts have been a wardrobe staple for so long, there’s a variety of styles, fits, and materials to choose from. Here are a few things to think about while finding the best dress shirt for your closet.
Material: The best dress shirts are crisp, durable, and comfortable (even without an undershirt). Some modern dress shirts also feature hybrid materials for added stretch, which makes a big difference during busy commutes or biking to work, for example.
Fit: Most dress shirts come in either slim fit or straight fit (the latter might be called “classic” or “standard” fit). In the current fashion epoch, both fits are totally acceptable. Trim fit shirts can lend a more pulled-together look (and they look very clean when tucked in), but classic fit shirts are more in-line with the current return to baggy clothing.
Another thing to consider is a shirt’s length. As fewer gents tuck in their dress shirts, some brands are making shorter dress shirts designed to be worn untucked (for example, Untuckit).
Collar: A dress shirt’s collar makes a big difference. There are dozens of collar styles, including stiff point collars, button-down collars (like you find on most oxford shirts), curved club collars, and spread collars. If you’re wearing a tie, go with a structured collar. If you’re not wearing a tie, or you’ll be wearing your dress shirt unbuttoned, look for smaller collars that won’t feel too stuffy.
Color: White is obviously the classic dress shirt color (every guy should have at least two), but now is the time to get more adventurous: Look for interesting prints, blues, pinks, or even a wildcard color like green or brown.
The Best Dress Shirts to Buy Online
Whether you’re headed to your first office job or hitting refresh to spice things up, there’s a great dress shirt waiting. Below are some of the best dress shirts to buy right now, including budget-friendly staples from Uniqlo to power shirts from Tom Ford.
1. Brooks Brothers x Thomas Mason Dress Shirt
Even if your office is on the casual side, a clean, classic dress shirt will still get mileage — maybe dressed down with jeans and boots or dressed up for special occasions. One of our favorites is Brooks Brothers’ tried-and-true dress shirt, seen here in classic white (it also comes in blue or pink) and a regular “Regent” fit. Brooks Brothers offers two others fit options — the wider Madison and the slimmer Milano — but the Regent is a professional yet comfortable Goldilocks fit for us.
2. Everlane Japanese Oxford Shirt
Everlane is another brand that nails wardrobe essentials. This Japanese Oxford shirt is one such piece, flexing an ultra-durable cotton material that’s been wash-tested 50 times to ensure real-world usability. Whichever color you pick (we like this slate), try the shirt with everything from jeans and sneakers to a casual suit.
3. Uniqlo Oxford Shirt
A great example of why we love Uniqlo’s minimalist philosophy, this Oxford shirt from the Japanese brand may become one of the most-used pieces in your wardrobe. Made of twisted cotton, the shirt is durable and crisp, and even looks that way after being packed in a suitcase. The slim fit is well-balanced; neither too tight nor too baggy. We also love it in this off-white color, which can be worn with neutrals or bright colors on just about any occasion.
4. Norse Projects Anton Shirt
It is possible to be casual and upscale at the same time, as proven by this Norse Projects Anton shirt. The brand is known to combine skater culture and Danish design, yielding pieces that could be worn at the skatepark, the office, or the hottest new bar. Made of a brushed cotton-flannel, the shirt is thick enough to be worn in lieu of a sweater, or as a standalone shirt under jackets in the colder months.
5. Banana Republic Dress Shirt
Some guys are (understandably) deterred by the idea of caring for a nice dress shirt. If you count yourself in that party, check out this dress shirt from Banana Republic. Although it boasts a proper dress shirt look, the BR shirt is machine washable and wrinkle resistant — no ironing required. This means you can wash it Sunday night and be ready to go on Monday morning.
6. Bonobos Tech Button-Down Shirt
For all the big guys out there, consider this Tech button-down from Bonobos. Available in extended sizes, the shirt’s plackets and pockets are also slightly larger for correct proportions. Other small details, such as a lower neckline and darts on the back, work double-duty to create a flattering silhouette and keep you comfortable all day. Plus, the nylon-spandex material lends a slight stretch while wicking sweat, and the shirt can be thrown in the washing machine at the end of the day.
7. Gap Performance Poplin Shirt
Don’t like tucking your shirt in? Pick up this Performance Poplin shirt from Gap. It’s designed with a shorter hem, creating a more pulled-together look when untucked (i.e. it doesn’t look like a dress). The fabric, meantime, blends cotton, polyester, and spandex for stretch, breathability, and sweat-wicking powers. You also get a range of color options, including fun prints like this blue stripe, as well as classics like white or light pink.
8. Canali Cotton-Blend Shirt
The difference is subtle, but premium designer dress shirts like this one from Canali lend a je ne sais quoi that really stands out in an office or at an event. High-end details include a cotton, polyamide, and elastane fabric, darting at the back (to streamline excess fabric), and mother-of-pearl buttons. Tailored in Italy, the shirt’s slim fit is also about as flattering as menswear gets. Although it’s at home with an equally high-end suit, the Canali top could also work with premium dark jeans and minimal designer sneakers.
9. Tom Ford Cotton-Poplin Shirt
Another high-end option is this cotton-poplin shirt from Tom Ford. As expected from the legendary designer, the shirt is as dapper as they come with an ultra-crisp cotton-poplin fabric, mother-of-pearl buttons, a slim fit, and a darted back. Pair it with other power pieces like a designer suit and sleek dress shoes.