What Not To Do: When Wearing a Dress Shirt


By George Manley | Nov 13th, 2008

The What Not To Do section of ManleysMission.com explains common misconceptions about men’s fashion. I am a HUGE proponent of personal expression; however, I only enjoy personal expression in others when it is a deliberate and educated choice. This section will help you avoid being that guy, who is not aware the general public chuckles when he walks by.

This week…

What not to do when wearing a dress shirt

  1. First and foremost, wear a dress shirt that fits!
    1. I admit, the vast majority of American dress shirt manufacturers cut their shirts WAY TOO BIG; however, you can find a shirt that will fit you well on.
    2. Unless you need to access you chest hair without unbuttoning your shirt, avoid “bell-bottom” or “baggy” collars. When you button the top-button of your dress shirt, there should not be any excess space between the dress shirt collar and your neck.
    3. If the shirtsleeve or shirt body swims on you, don’t buy the shirt! It makes you look skinny, and “skinny” is another word for “weak.” If you already own shirts that swim on you, and you really like them, take them to the local tailor, and have them taken in.  Altering your dress shirts should not cost you more than $15.
  2. Unless you have a pocket protector (and if you do, exit this website now, and do not come back until you have lost the protector), don’t use the pocket on your dress shirt, as it will damage your shirt and possibly cause holes.
  3. Unless you are highlighting the fact that you are indeed Dracula or Eddie Munster, do not wear a dress shirt collar that exaggerates your facial features: if you have a round/wide face, you should not purchase a spread collar; conversely, if you have a thin/narrow face, you should not purchase a long or narrow collar.
  4. If you wear a spread collar, you better be able to tie a Windsor knot.
  5. Unless you are Regis Philbin (and even he finally got the message), don’t wear a matching tie and dress shirt color.
  6. If you mix patterned dress shirts with patterned ties, ensure the dress shirt pattern is larger or smaller than the tie pattern.
  7. Unless you are a gangster or a pimp (and if you are, call me), your dress shirts should not be darker than your suit.
  8. Wear a shirt color that complements your complexion.
  9. Don’t roll up your sleeves, if you are wearing a French-cuff dress shirt.
  10. Don’t wear a crew neck t-shirt under your dress shirt, as this may show when you unbutton your collar.
  11. When in doubt, put something else on because if you don’t wear your clothes confidently, even the best outfit can look awkward.