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a man wearing a dress shirt over a turtleneck

How Should I Wear a Dress Shirt?

Dressing up is one of the most important skills we need to master. The ability to always look good certainly brings lots of benefits into our lives.

Learning how to present yourself can land you that job, get you that first date, or earn a higher salary. Unfortunately, not all of us are experts in this field.

woman tying necktie for a man.
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Don’t worry. We’ve come to rescue you out of your misery.

You first need to ensure that you have a couple of affordable dress shirts in your wardrobe. Looking presentable, decent, or gentlemanly requires a good enough wardrobe to work on, but you don’t need to spend as much.

How Should I Wear a Dress Shirt

There’s probably nothing more off-putting and anticlimactic than to wear the most stylish dress shirt improperly. That would be such a massive waste of opportunity to look your best.

The key to finding the perfect dress shirt that matches your physical appearance does not lie in the price tag. You just have to understand how to maximize its potential. Thus, here’s a quick guide to help you out.

ZARA 'Almost Summer' by Karim Sadli New pieces from Spring/Summer 2016 Collection presented by Otto & Otto.

The Shirt Color Should Complement Your Skin Tone

Generally, there are three ways to categorize skin tone in men. Identifying your classification will significantly influence the color palette you need for your dress shirt.

Men with a light complexion and blonde hair are considered low contrast. People with this color tone should go for pink or baby blue dress shirts at the lightest and blue-gray or gray at the darkest.

If you have dark hair and a brown or darker complexion combined with dark hair, you are under medium contrast. Going for a blue, sky blue, or turquoise dress shirt is the safest option. That said, you can also try experimenting with purple and olive green.

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Men with light skin tone and dark hair are classified as having high contrast. These men should go for stronger colors like black, navy blue, or maroon.

On the other hand, if you’re still having a hard time, you can never go wrong with white dress shirts.

Learn the Rules of Tucking

One common mistake men make when tucking their shirts is mindlessly placing their pants over the lower end of their shirts and tightening them. This will cause creases on the shirt starting from your waist. Should we mention how unkempt and unsightly that is too?

To tuck your shirt, hold onto the seams located at each side of the shirt and pull it away from you as far as you could. While holding the seams, slide your thumbs inward so that the excess fabric is between your thumbs and other fingers.

Push your thumbs forward and fold the excess fabric. The front part of your dress shirt should be as neat as it possibly can at this point. Slide the excess fabric into your pants and keep it in place by tightening your pants with your belt.

Determine When It’s Okay To Untuck

Dress shirts are often longer than casual shirts because they’re meant to be tucked. However, we’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that you can actually wear your shirt untucked.

That is, of course, if the dress shirt does not go more than a couple of inches below your pants’ back pockets. Aside from that, and on a more important matter, you need to wear an additional piece of clothing.

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If you wish to pull off a sharp look by untucking your shirt, make sure you’re wearing a blazer or a jacket. Additionally, the blazer or jacket should contrast the color of your shirt.

Find a Reliable Belt

What’s that one noticeable piece of clothing you’d find between a dress shirt and a pair of pants? Yes, it’s the belt.

We’ve seen plenty of men make the mistake of wearing belts with huge and flashy belt buckles. Unless you’re a cowboy or a pro-wrestler, you don’t want these below your dress shirt.

Keep it simple with a black or brown belt and make sure it fits perfectly.

Wear a Tie

There’s another accessory that you can use to accentuate your dress shirt. Keep in mind, though, that professional men at work most often use this.

Wearing a tie might also be helpful to improve your looks. Just make sure that the color of your shirt and tie do not deviate too far from one another.

For example, you should pair a blue shirt with a blue-green or blue-purple tie.

Wearing a Dress Shirt Properly

A dress shirt is one of the most important pieces of clothing you could have in your wardrobe. However, its significance will be of no use to you if you don’t know how to maximize its potential.

Whether your day starts or ends in a suit -- we've got the styles that fill in the gaps. From t-shirt and jeans to suit and tie, your wardrobe essentials are taken care of.

The next time you find yourself asking the question, “How should I wear a dress shirt?”, be sure to keep the tips and tricks we’ve listed here in mind.

  1. This is a great post. Thank you for all your fashion advice.

  2. Bob Francis

    The best photo is the last one. He looks very dapper with his mustache and an open collar white shirt.

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