The shirt is at the core of your wardrobe and is the aesthetic centre around which your entire
ensemble is organised. Here’s our guide to buying the perfect one.
The best shirts in the world are made from 100 per cent cotton. Within cotton, the more expensive version is the two-ply variety, whose yarn consists of two long fibres that are twisted around each other.
The more commonly used fabric is the cheaper single-ply cotton.
A further indicator of the quality of cotton shirt fabric is the thread count (threads-per-inch). The higher the thread count, the finer the fabric.
The less expensive versions of two-ply cotton have a thread count of 80 to 100, while the luxury
versions go all the way up to 220.
The best known cotton used for shirts around the world is Sea Island, followed by Pima.
Other commonly used fabrics include broadcloth or poplin, with its silky plain weave, royal oxford with diagonal weaves, end-on-end weave (where white yarn is intertwined with coloured yarn to create small checks) and, of course, cotton-synthetic blends which are more durable, cheaper and less.
Get the cut right
Historically, shirts have been cut in three styles – American, British and French.
Like the sack suit, the American style shirts tend to be fuller along the sides. The French cut is tapered, and the British somewhere in between.
The French cut has now been replaced by the more universal slim and extra slim shirts. Though they look good on young men with good physiques, those generously built around their midsection should avoid them.
As for the length, the tail of a formal shirt should reach your buttocks, or you risk it popping out of your pants every time you bend.
Collar rules to remember
The height of the collar, its length and spread should complement and enhance your face. It should be dramatic enough to soften the face of someone with strong lines, and help strengthen a soft face.
Double-chinned men should avoid button-down collars. Men with long or narrow faces should go for spread collars.
Men with round faces look good in straight point collars.
Small collars are a strict no – for anyone.