Make your shirts count
In one episode of Frasier, Kelsey Grammer, acting as a style guru in that season, protests over the phone, “No, never a button-down collar with French cuffs!” His indignance underscores that there are standards in menswear that just do not cross.
Shirts are the most essential item in your wardrobe, for work or leisure. The right shirt can improve your silhouette and enhance your look. The art of shirting became a significant business in the 18th and 19th centuries and Londonʼs Jermyn Street became a central spot for bespoke and off-the-rack shirtmakers who specialised in the craft. There are a number of options in shirting that you should appreciate before you get measured up for the next one.
CUF IT UP
For regular Joes, button cuffs are the standard, but even so, some prefer two- or three-button alternatives to the standard. Oneʼs fine, two ʼs company but three is a crowd. The double cuff, better known as the French cuff, is more formal. It has a regular, unfolded link cuff that straddles the middle.
Button-downs, most frequently found on standard oxford shirts, go with button cuffs. You can also opt for the straight collar in such cases. What defines the collar is the spread, the distance between the two points, which varies from the widest Windsor or full spread to the medium spread and the straight or narrow collar. In more formal occasions, the wing collar is appropriate for accommodating a bow tie. Collars may be fastened with buttons or pinned collar bars.
There are four main weaves used in shirting, which are different from suiting material. The most common is the plain weave, where the threads criss-cross under and over. Some examples are poplin, the finer version of plain weave, or chambray, broadcloth and end-on-end, which are more casual. The oxford weave uses a basket weave technique and comes in various levels of fineness, depending on whether itʼs meant for casual or formal wear. Satin and twill are also used, but the former is more showy while the latter is more often found in trousers.
WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE
Whatʼs essential in a manʼs wardrobe is the following: A white, French cuffed, medium or full spread collar in poplin or Royal Oxford material; the poplin cloth white work shirt with button cuffs and a straight collar. A Winchester shirt, which has white collar and French cuffs that contrast with the shirt body, is also a good option for the corporate environment. A chambray shirt is ideal as it adds texture and colour to the range. Button-down collars can have pleats on the shirt buttons, but dress shirts should be pleat-free for a crisp look.
How should you roll up your sleeves to get comfy after work? First, fold your sleeve untill the cuff is up over your elbow. Then fold over that, so the end of the cuff is just showing slightly, for a casual look.