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Shirts, the centrepiece of a man’s attire, can single handedly make or break your look. There are several aspects that define a shirt, namely the fit, fabric, colour, comfort, and print. With so many different varieties of shirts available on the market today, choosing is hardly a breeze. You might choose a shirt that’s incredibly comfortable, but the colour may not suit you, or pick the right fit and colour, only to go wrong in terms of the print. Even within each of the defining categories, there are multiple factors such as complexion of the wearer and occasion at play. Confusing, correct? Well, whatever confusions you may have, we’re here to help you out. Here’s a comprehensive guide to picking formal, premium shirts elucidating what you should look for in them:
Formal occasions – a job interview, a business meeting, or dinner invite – typically call for sombre, muted colours. Off-white, light blue and grey, make for excellent choices in such contexts. When it comes to relaxed, casual occasions, you could go for lively colours such as red wine, poplin red, and twill blue. As far as the colour of your skin goes, it’s worth remembering that solid black and white shirts suit every man. Blue – ranging from powder blue to navy blue – is another universally appropriate colour. Depending on the occasion, it is advisable to stick to brighter, richer shades of pastel colours.
Weather and season are important factors to consider when choosing the right shirt fabric. Being lightweight and smooth, cotton is the coolest fabrics and ideal for scorching summer. The soft, lightweight and breathable cotton shirts are an ideal choice to stay comfortable throughout the day during summer. Though slightly coarse and heavy, you can also opt for Oxford fabrics that are soft, durable, and breathable and can be worn on a daily basis irrespective of the weather.
When it comes to fit, a useful rule of thumb is that you should always buy a shirt that fits your body closely. There are three types of fits for shirts-slim fit, regular or straight fit, and loose fit/broad fit. Slightly tight around the chest and sides, a slim fit shirt nicely defines your waistline - a good choice for men with a lean mean torso. The regular fit typically falls straight and has added pleats at the back for extra comfort. This is the most preferred and most appropriate fit type for most men. With plenty of breathing room i.e. fabric that hangs out even after tucking in your shirt, the broad fit shirt style is great for casual gatherings. Just make sure the arm holes hit right at your shoulders and the collar is one to two fingers away from your neck.
Comfort too is determined by multiple factors. Shirts crafted out of cotton and linen are the most comfortable to wear on account of their softness and breathability. The collar fit also plays a major role in affording comfort. A well-fitted collar is one that will leave room for a finger to fit between your neck and the collar; anything tighter might make you uncomfortable. Try to select shirts with gauntlet buttons located a few inches up, past the cuffs of the shirt. This type of shirt is excellent for wearing on sultry summer days as it allows you to roll up the sleeves with ease and enjoy the outdoors. Last of all make sure to select a shirt in which there is enough loose fabric to enable it to be pulled comfortably across the chest or waist.
Patterned or printed shirts are generally regarded as more appropriate for casual events and laid-back office settings. Shirts with checks and stripes – especially pinstripes – however are regarded as formal. Plaid shirts and shirts with large, prominent motifs are ideal for relaxed occasions. But given that the men’s shirt is an evolving sartorial item, a lot of iterations of the classic prints are available nowadays. In checks, gingham and windowpane are fantastic choices for meeting both casual and formal needs. Likewise, floral prints, especially small and neatly scattered, exude a lively vibe without being overtly informal. While micro-polka dotted shirts work best as formal wear, shirts with large polka dots are informal and add a dash of punch and playfulness. If you are going to be wearing a tie with a patterned shirt, make sure it is a solid colour tie, else the ensemble will look strangely muddled up.
If you are looking for stylish, premium-quality shirts, Merchant Marine, an exclusive menswear label, has exactly what you are seeking. Made out of the finest fabrics, Merchant Marine shirts are available in a gamut of colours and sizes. Tailored to perfection, every shirt is designed to meet the needs of the contemporary urbane man. Take a look today!