In sartorial terms, a dress shirt is defined as a long-sleeve, collared shirt with buttons down the front. In everyday life, it’s known as the good shirt in your wardrobe. You pull it out for required formal occasions—when the dress code calls for a crisp, tailored suit—or sport it more casually, layered with jeans and white sneakers for the weekend. With office events, weddings and social gatherings in the mix, you’ll want to keep a few of these versatile shirts at the ready so you’re prepared for anything.
For those who bristle at the thought of a tight collar putting them in a choke hold, good news: The best dress shirts for men are cut from breathable, technical fabrics that hold their shape but have enough stretch to move with you. The styles have also loosened up considerably from the starched versions you might have owned five years ago. You’ll now find modern collars, sophisticated prints and non-boring colors that elevate the men’s dress shirt from mere fashion filler to something far more interesting.
To zero in on the highest quality shirts for your spend, consider the material, fit, comfort and cost. Unless you plan to go the made-to-measure route, there are plenty of surprisingly reasonably priced options on the market, with impeccable detailing, to suit your fashion tastes. Whether you’re a pinstripe, spread collar or French cuff kind of guy, here’s where to buy the best dress shirts for your wardrobe.
Shop The Best Dress Shirts For Men
Best Dress Shirts For Men Overall
Theory: Streamlined Shirts That Last
Suit Supply: Tailored Looks At Great Prices
Best White Dress Shirts For Men
Bloomingdale’s: Whites That Stay White
Best Casual Dress Shirts For Men
Lululemon: Superior Comfortable And Cooling Fabrics
Everlane: Sustainable Basics
Best Budget Dress Shirts For Men
Uniqlo: Wrinkle-Resistant Styles
Charles Tyrrwhitt: Customized Options
Best Men’s Button Down Shirts
J.Crew: Standout Prints And Patterns
Best Men’s Dress Shirts For Athletic Fits
Bonobos: Fabrics That Stretch
Mizzen+Main: Flexible For Broad Shoulders
What To Consider When Shopping For Dress Shirts For Men
- Material: Fabric choice and fit go hand in hand. “Material is one of the biggest components when picking out your dress shirt,” says New York City-based fashion stylist Traci Franklin. She recommends cotton for everyday, on-the-go use. For warmer weather, switch to a more breathable material like linen or a linen blend. To wear under a suit, natural fabrics (cottons, silks, and linens) don’t trap heat, so you are less likely to sweat.
- Fit: One of the most common fit issues for men is thinking they are bigger than they actually are, according to Franklin, so their clothes hang a little too loose. Before committing to a shirt, do a quick test. First, “the shoulder seam should line up with your shoulder bone,” says personal stylist and image consultant, Peter Nguyen. “If it’s falling off your shoulders, the shirt is too big.” Next, examine the collar. After fully buttoning, it should leave enough room for two fingers. Then, check sleeves. They should stop where your wrist ends and hand starts. Lastly, you should be able to tuck the hem into your pants without excess fabric spilling from your waist. Nguyen also finds that if there are stress lines around the armpits, or small gaps between the buttons, it’s too tight. Your shirt should lay clean and close to your body, with a bit of room for movement.
- Care: “Prevention is key, says Nguyen. “In order to cut down on tough stains, like the dreaded collar ring, rotate shirts often, and don’t wear the same dress shirt back to back.” Pit stains and yellowing are often caused by a combination of natural sweat and unabsorbed deodorant. He suggests applying deodorant before bed to allow it to fully absorb. For an added layer of protection, wear an undershirt. These days, most dress shirts are machine washable, but to be safe, check the tag instructions, then remove any collar stays and spot treat areas that tend to get dirty fast, such as the collar. To avoid creases, Nyugen prefers to hang shirts rather than putting in the dyer. “Iron when it’s almost dry but still a bit damp. This will make the wrinkles easier to get out.”