The white dress shirt is the most basic staple of any man’s wardrobe. That said, finding a great white dress shirt can seem really challenging because there are just so many out there! A white dress shirt may seem simple, but when you consider all of the different options - point collar, flex collar, short sleeve, long sleeve, slim fit, regular fit - the options can seem endless! Between all the different fits, styles, materials, and places to buy – it can all be a little bit overwhelming. And even once you find your perfect white dress shirts, you need to take good care of them to make sure that you get the most use out of them that you possibly can. After all, a good men's dress shirt is definitely an investment that can majorly pay off! The right button down white shirt at an interview can help you make a great first impression at that job interview or big meeting. So here’s everything you need to know about white dress shirts:
Best Quality White Dress Shirts
When it comes to any dress shirt – quality is key. No one wants to be walking around in a dress shirt that is of subpar quality – people can definitely tell right away the quality of a shirt and you always want to look your best. That said, there are several different varieties of white dress shirts out there that are worth looking into.
- Cotton: Cotton is the most classic white dress shirt material and will definitely give you the high quality look you are going for at a really formal event. Cotton has been a best seller for years because it’s really soft and breathable while feeling good on your skin, and it comes in different textures such as poplin or twill. Cotton is one of the more expensive materials for dress shirts as well, so keep this in mind if you are shopping with a budget. At the same time, cotton does have the potential to wrinkle pretty easily and is also at risk to shrink or fade in the wash as well, which can be an issue with a brightly-colored solid dress shirt. So while cotton definitely looks top quality at first, without the proper care, it can definitely go downhill quickly and lose its appeal. Luckily, new fabric technology is helping solve this problem with non-iron slim fit dress shirts, and supima cotton material which helps with color retention.
- Blended: Blended is a material that is made out of both cotton and polyester. These shirts might not look as nice as cotton and aren’t as soft or expensive. At the same time, there are some good quality blended white dress shirts out there that can look and feel good even if they aren’t 100% cotton. Blended shirts are warmer than cotton since they breathe less – which can either be a good or a bad thing depending on the temperature of your environment. However, blended shirts are more wrinkle-resistant than cotton and don’t shrink as much either.
- Performance: A performance shirt is a modern twist on the classic fit button-down white dress shirt that can still be of great quality! Performance shirts are made out of a combination of cotton, polyester, and other materials like spandex or rayon equipped with moisture wicking technology. This is the same feature that you find in your activewear shirts. Moisture wicking technology allows any sweat from your body to be taken into the shirt and dispersed throughout the fabric until it can evaporate into the air. Performance shirts do not wrinkle or shrink at all and are really stretchy. At the same time, they can still achieve the same look as a classic cotton shirt. However, if you are going for a really formal look then performance might not be the best fit. You're not going to wear a performance shirt with a tuxedo, but you can often find a stretch dress shirt made from this material that gives you a wrinkle free slim fit shirt perfect for transitioning from the office to after-work activities
How to Fold White Dress Shirts
While obviously the most optimal storage option for white dress shirts is hanging, this isn’t always possible – especially when traveling. So how do you properly fold a white dress shirt? The most important thing to keep in mind when folding is that you are trying to avoid wrinkles so that you can save time on ironing or steaming once you get to your destination. There are several different methods to folding a white dress shirt, but here’s the best one:
- Before you start folding your shirt make sure that it is buttoned (at least three buttons at the top, bottom, and middle) and that it is laid completely flat and all the creases are pressed out. If your shirt has a button-down collar, make sure this is buttoned too.
- Place the shirt face down and fold both of the sleeves onto the body of the shirt so that they form an “x” across the back of the shirt
- From the “x” position, fold each of the sleeves upwards so that they reach the collar of the shirt (for French Cuff shirts make sure to take your cuff links off first!)
- Then fold the sides in so that they meet in the middle
- Finally, fold the shirt into thirds and flip it over so that the front is now facing you!
How to Wear a White Dress Shirt
White dress shirts are such a classic option that it might seem that there’s no wrong way to wear them! And while they are definitely easier to pull off and more versatile than some other dress shirt options, here are some stylish ideas on how to wear a white dress shirt:
- Dress it up with a nice dark or herringbone suit, tie, and pocket square for a sharp look that is fit for any formal occasion
- Dress down a broadcloth white dress shirt with a classic pair of blue jeans and a wider belt
- Go business casual and pair it with a dark pair of dress pants and a belt with a matching tie, or trade the tie for a handsome sport coat
- Go preppy and wear it under a nice sweater and khaki or plaid pants with loafers
- Go for a beachy look and wear it with light colored dress pants, boat shoes, and a colorful tie or scarf - this can be a great look for
Where to Buy White Dress Shirts
With all this information on white dress shirts, you are definitely ready to go out and find the best one for you and your lifestyle – if only you knew where to find them! It’s true that there are no shortage of places where you can buy white dress shirts but here are a few places to start off your search:
- Department stores: Department stores can be a good place to buy white dress shirts if you are looking for variety – because you are going to find tons of variety at department stores. At the same time, all this variety can be a little bit overwhelming since there will also be a huge variety of quality and fits as well – so you’re not really guaranteed to get a high quality product. You’re pretty much on your own in department stores when it comes to customer service and you definitely have to know your size beforehand.
- Men’s clothing stores: Specialty men’s clothing stores are also a good place to buy white dress shirts. These stores often offer a decent variety of options such as classic fit, slim fit, and classic oxford while basically guaranteeing good quality. Customer service is often a strength of these stores and they can help you find the size and fit that you are looking for. These options can also be a great option if you're searching for big & tall sizes or if you need help with styling. However, these stores can run really expensive and might not work for those on a budget.
- Online boutiques: In the new Internet age, online clothing boutiques are a modern place to buy white dress shirts. Online options can still offer just as much variety and high quality options as brick and mortar stores, but online shopping is often less overwhelming than shopping in the store because you can easily browse and sort through the different options through filters on the website. Sizing on online boutiques is usually really clear with designated sizing charts that help you find the right size. Checking out with your credit card or a gift card is simple, and even if for whatever reason the shirt you order isn’t the right fit for you, many of these companies offer superb customer service to help you return or exchange for another option that you will love. You can often join an e-mail list to keep you in the loop about new arrivals and best sellers that suit your targeted interests.