Get the right size: Know your collar size and arm length. Make sure you can fit one finger between the collar and neck comfortably. Any more and it’s too big.
Another common mistake is to have shirts either too small or too large. The latter is most common with excess fabric billowing out from the body and arms making it look like a blouse. If your arms and stomach visibly strain under the fabric, the shirt is too small
Your cuffs should hit the base of your wrist and the root of your thumb. Have at least half an inch of shirt showing underneath your jacket when your arms are by your side. If you can take your shirt off without unbuttoning the cuffs then it’s too big.
Button cuff or French cuff? Button cuffs are casual and sporty. A French or double cuff is where the cuff doubles over and requires a cufflink. This is grander and more formal and better with a suit, but can work perfectly well in a casual smart context.
The collar is the focal point of the shirt. It is designed to frame and draw attention to your face.
Collar fit: The outer edge of the collar should touch the lapel of your jacket. In addition, there should be enough collar to see at least an inch around the side and at the back.
Collar widths: The current fashion is to have collars that are either too small or too large. Small collars don't allow for a decent sized tie knot, leading to comically narrow ties.
Although less prevalent now, try to avoid ostentatious Italian style collars with two or even three buttons. These will engulf your neck making you look like a Regency dandy.
The blue shirt: Shirts in shades and depths of blue flatter every skin colour. If you have blue eyes, wear shirts in as close a shade to your eyes as possible.
The white shirt: Contrary to popular belief the white shirt doesn’t suit everyone. It can give the appearance of bleaching to those with a pale complexion. Try cream or a softer shade of white if you are fair skinned.
The pink shirt: Some shades of pink are as flattering as blue and studies have found that men who wear pink shirts tend to earn more money than those who don’t.
Going without a tie is fine but requires the right kind of shirt. This is where a robust collar comes into play. Look for one where the ends of the collar stand up on their own against the lapels of your jacket, outside not inside as this looks weak.
Elliot Grant, Founder of The Concierge Circle
The Concierge Circle is a personal and corporate lifestyle management service, based in London with global coverage. We can arrange, plan and organise anything and are only a request away.