Red Dress Shirts: When to Wear and Why?

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A red dress shirt can be a difficult fashion choice. Red is such a bold color that you definitely need to pair it correctly or you can risk looking like a tomato! The good news is that we are here to help you with everything you need to know about wearing red dress shirts: the when, the why, and the how! We will even go over more in-depth information about dress shirts in general so that you can really find the perfect red dress shirt for any occasion. With the help of this guide, you can avoid looking like a tomato and instead achieve a killer look that everyone will notice.


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Styles of Red Dress Shirts

As with any men's dress shirt, there are several different types and styles to choose from when it comes to wearing red dress shirts. We will go over every different aspect that you can expect to find when choosing red dress shirts:

  • Fit: The first thing that you need to take note of when buying a red dress shirt is the fit. the fit that works best for you will largely depend on your body type and the functionality that you are looking for. There are three different shirt fits:

    • Classic fit: The classic dress shirt fit is typically baggier and is meant for when you are wearing a jacket on top of your shirt. This type of shirt allows for a great range of movement and will work well for those with a big and tall or plus size frame. 
    • Modern fit: The modern button-down dress shirt fit is slimmer than the classic fit while still allowing some extra room for comfort and movement. This kind of shirt can look good with or without a jacket and will work well for those with an average build.
    • Slim fit: The slim dress shirt fit is the slimmest of the three – not leaving much room for movement. That being said, it does provide a really clean and modern look that is great if you aren’t wearing a jacket. This type of shirt looks best on those who have a really slim build. 
  • Material: The second thing that you need to take note of when buying a red dress shirt is the material. Like the fit, the right material for your red dress shirt will largely depend on what you are buying it for. We suggest going with a non-iron or wrinkle-resistant shirt for this look, because wrinkles tend to show up more on darker fabrics.

    • 100% Cotton: Cotton is definitely the most popular dress shirt material and this is for a good reason! Cotton is a really breathable material while also looking and feeling good as well. A red cotton poplin dress shirt would work well for events that are outdoors or really formal events. If you're going for a formal look, adding a button-down collar, cufflinks, or a tie set can really elevate the look of your dress shirt.
    • Cotton/Polyester Blend: The most common composition of a blended material shirt is 50% cotton and 50% polyester. Shirts that are made out of polyester are less breathable and provide more insulation which might make a long sleeve red dress shirt optimal for indoor events in strong air conditioning. 
    • Performance: Performance material often contains a unique blend of cotton, polyester, spandex, and other materials. Performance materials contain a unique technology called “moisture-wicking technology” that allows the shirt to quickly absorb any sweat from your body, into the shirt, and then evaporate it into the air. Performance shirts are light, soft, breathable, wrinkle free and avoid shrinkage and sweat stains. Performance red dress shirts might be a great option for more casual events that are outdoors in warmer weather – that way, you don’t have to worry about sweat stains at all! When an event isn't quite casual enough for a short sleeve shirt but you want to make sure you're comfortable in the warmer weather, a performance dress shirt is a perfect option.

  • Pattern: The next thing that you need to pay attention to when buying red dress shirts is the pattern. Like any color dress shirt, there is no shortage of different patterns available to help spice up your look. Here are some of the best seller patterns that we see on red dress shirts:

    • Vertical stripes
    • Checks
    • Plaid
    • Gingham
    • Dots 


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When to Wear Red Dress Shirts

Although you could really wear a classic-fit or slim fit red dress shirt anywhere or at any time, there are some specific events and occasions that they would really work well with:

  • You can wear a red dress shirt on a date. Wearing a red dress shirt on a date is a great way to look formal enough for the occasion but also bold enough to make a great first impression.
  • You can wear a red dress shirt to work. Wearing a button-up red dress shirt to work is also a good option if your work’s dress code allows for simple dress shirts and pants – no matter the color.
  • You can wear a slim fit red dress shirt to a party. Red dress shirts are just formal enough to wear to a party. They would specifically work well for a Christmas-themed party! 


How to Wear Red Dress Shirts

There are so many different ways to wear a red dress shirt. And while you might think that wearing a red dress shirt is a risky fashion choice – it doesn’t have to be as long as you do it right! Here are some of the best ways to wear a red dress shirt well:

  • Red and black obviously go well together – and you can incorporate this classic color combination into your outfit with a red dress shirt and a black suit! Pair a classic red dress shirt with a fitted black suit, cufflinks, and a coordinating tie for a really polished bold look. You can often find a pocket square and tie set that would make for a sharp combination.
  • Another trending color combination that isn’t quite as classic as red and black but still looks good nonetheless is red and navy. Pairing a red dress shirt with a navy suit and a navy tie is a really preppy look that will leave a great first impression for any event. 
  • While we caution with pairing red with darker brown, wearing a red dress shirt with a lighter brown suit can create a really cool look. While definitely more casual than a black or navy pairing, you can give off an effortless vibe. A cotton poplin dress shirt paired with a twill suit would be a great choice. Ditch the tie for this look and instead go with a nice pair of black loafers. 
  • If you are really looking to make a statement with your outfit and aren’t afraid to go bold, you could pair a red slim fit dress shirt with white pants and maybe a white jacket and shoes as well to add some real contrast to your getup. 
  • Going more casual, another great way to wear a red dress shirt is to pair it with khaki pants. Since this is a more modern look, you might want to go with a slim fit shirt, ditch the tie, and go with some dark brown loafers to complete the contemporary look.
  • Continuing with some more casual applications, you can really dress down a red dress shirt with a nice pair of dark denim jeans. You might want to consider a patterned dress shirt in this situation – maybe plaid or checks with a nice white shoe to switch up the darker colors. 
  • Remember that when dealing with a bold color like red, accessories are key. You will want to take special note of elements of your outfit that you usually might ignore like your shoes, socks, tie set, watches, belts, pocket squares, etc. You want to create a really seamless look and this can only happen if everything works together. So make sure to pair your red dress shirt with the proper color and quality accessories that not only match the shirt, but also the pants, the shoes, and the overall formality of the look that you are going for. With all of these tips, you are definitely well on your way to creating a killer look with a red dress shirt!