Understanding the Dress Shirt: Custom Shirt Giveaway

by Antonio on April 12, 2009 · 338 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Style


A man’s dress shirt can elegantly frame his face during a presentation and later absorb his perspiration during a tough round of questioning. It can play a supporting role by enhancing his sport jacket or it can stand alone and be the centerpiece of his outfit. The dress shirt ranges in price from the $9.99 Wal-Mart polyester special to over $600 for a name brand custom shirt. But why would you want to read an entire article about dress shirts?

Because details matter. In any given day we only speak with a small percentage of the people we see; the shirt you wear, in the absence of a jacket, is the most powerful signal you are using to non-verbally communicate with those around you. Your shirt, whether you like it or not, is speaking for you; make sure it’s saying what you intend.

What is a Dress Shirt

A proper dress shirt is a button-up shirt with a collar, long sleeves, and wrist cuffs. It is usually made from a cotton fabric woven and dyed into various, non-obtrusive patterns and colors. By altering these characteristics, a dress shirt can either send the message its wearer is ready for sport or ready to meet the president.

Dress Shirt Fit

Most men wear dress shirts that do not fit them properly. The problem is that ready made garments are made to fit many; as a result, they fit no one perfectly. We all compromise somewhere if a shirt fits us in the neck it fails us in the sleeve length; if it fits well in the sleeves, it billows out around the stomach. So the fit  I’ll describe here is generally only achievable on a custom shirt or one that’s close to fitting and then tailored by a skilled hand.

A well fitted dress shirt should first and foremost be comfortable; this is different for every man. Larger men are usually complimented by a looser fit while petite and thin men are complimented by a more form cut. In general, though, a shirt should:

  • Allow two fingers in the collar when buttoned.
  • Be tight enough around the wrist so that the cuffs must be unbuttoned to slip them off.
  • Have long enough sleeves so that you can raise your arms like wings and not pull the cuffs down the forearm; they should be short enough so that you don’t have more than 1 inch of fabric bunching near the cuff when your arms hang.
  • Shoulder points that extend to the end of the shoulder and no farther.
  • Have room in the chest and waist to pinch out 1-3 inches of fabric (depending on fit desired).

Dress Shirt Fabric

Cotton. The undisputed king of shirt fabrics, cotton has been the choice of those in the know for centuries. A finely woven cotton fabric exhibits all the properties a man could want from a garment worn close to the body, good heat & moisture conduction, durability, smoothness, and the ability to take shape when ironed.

Man-Made Fibers. Although they do not exhibit the same desirable properties as cotton, man made fibers have made a huge impact on the shirt scene due to their ability to do an acceptable job at a rock bottom price. Often wrinkle and stain resistant, these fibers have and will continue to play a major role in menswear. Although I recommend staying away from shirts with more than 50% man made fiber, for the budget minded, they may be a viable alternative.

Silk. A luxury fabric easily recognizable because of its sheen and light drape, it is not recommended for most as, the maintenance costs are high and long term durability low. But that’s just my opinion!

Dress Shirt Color


White – The most common shirt color; historically it has dominated the scene and was initially the only choice for a gentleman. The lack of color on a man’s collar and cuffs signified he did not have to do dirty work; colored shirts were looked upon with suspicion as it was assumed they were colored to hide stains. To this day, white still reigns as the most formal color, and its popularity has safely placed it among the iconic garments a man can wear. Where ever you may be, a man can safely assume a white shirt will never be out of place.

Blue – Blue’s dominance has more to do with its ability to compliment most men’s complexions rather than heritage. The popularity of blue exploded in the United States as more and more off-the-rack manufactures looked for colors and patterns that would sell. Today the color firmly holds a place as a safe alternative to white. And unfortunately, this is often the extent of the variety found in a man’s dress shirt collection.

Other Colors – Pink, gold, lavender, off-white, forest green, and even red, just a few of the multitude of colors available to the man who is willing to walk a different path. Whether these colors dominate the dress shirt, or highlight the pattern woven into it, they can compliment every complexion out there. And with less than 10% of the shirt wearing population even dabbling into these shades, the man who masters wearing them can easily set himself apart in a room of like dressed men.



Solid – The simplest and most formal pattern, yet the most versatile. A solid shirt’s defers attention away from the color (unless it is gaudy) and instead helps a man better display the style and fit of his garment. And solid doesn’t always mean solid; different weaves can slyly give the impression of monotony from a distance only to reveal their true nature up close. A solid white poplin fabric has a very different look and feel from a solid white twill or herringbone.

Stripe – Most of us can’t go wrong with a classic blue on white, but consider adding certain accent colors such as red or pink to liven up the hues in the face. This pattern looks especially good with a solid colored suit.

Check – Historically the purpose of the check was to signify a wearer’s background. Today, most men are intimidated to wear such a pattern with a suit as they think it will appear overpowering.  It won’t, as long as you remember not to mix like patterns; a checked shirt with a solid suit and striped tie are a great combination. However, it is the least formal pattern and should be worn carefully in business on the US East Coast and abroad.

Dress Shirt Style

The Shirt Collar

The purpose of a shirt collar is to properly balance and frame a man’s face. It’s the most visible part of a shirt when wearing a jacket and because of it’s proximity to the face, plays a very large role in determining the formality and use of the shirt. For this article we will only talk about turndown collars and its two major variants, the point and spread.

collar-straight-pointPoint Collars – The most common collar style seen in the US is the point collar; found on 95% of off-the-rack dress shirts, it is cut so that the collar points are reasonably close together with the collar angle being at or less than 60 degrees. The advantage of this collar style is that longer, more closely set points tend to draw the eye down which elongates the face. Unfortunately, most off-the-rack point collars seek the middle ground and do not have a small enough angle or long enough points to reap the full rewards of this effect.

collar-spreadSpread Collars – The second style is the spread or “cutaway” collar. These collars have the points “cut away” thus the name, revealing more of the upper shirt area; typically we see these collars with angles greater than 90 degrees. Spread collars are excellent for the gentleman with a medium to long shaped face, as they do the opposite of the point and spread out a man’s features.

Shirt Cuffs

Besides the collar, the shirt’s cuffs are the only visible parts of a shirt when a jacket is worn; they are divided into two types, button (casual to formal) and French (formal).


Button Cuffs – Button cuffs are single cuffs which wrap around the arm and are buttoned into place. These are the cuffs most commonly found on ready made shirts. Button cuffs may have a single button or may be adjustable, with two buttons side-by-side. Some have two buttonholes and two vertical buttons- a more formal option often called the “barrel cuff.” Button cuffs may also have a small button on the sleeve, between the cuff and the end of the cuff opening, intended to prevent the area from opening and exposing the gentleman’s wrist.


French Cuffs – French cuffs are the most formal option, yet are perfectly appropriate for daily wear in many industries such as finance. The French cuff is a double cuff, folded back and fastened with cufflinks to create a distinctive and distinguished appearance. Cufflinks must always be worn – though there are more subtle options available, such as fabric knots – so the gentleman must be prepared to keep a reasonable selection on hand.

Dress Shirt Buttons


Most buttons today are made of plastic, a suitable material for the job asit is inexpensive and fairly strong. However, if a low quality resin is used, the base of your buttons will crack, and they may break within a year. An eloquent alternative to plastic is Mother of Pearl. Not actually pearl, these buttons are made from shell and are so hard that they can break needles. They are only found on higher end clothing today because of their cost and tendency to disintegrate over time when exposed to harsh detergents.

Closing Comments

This article could go on; we didn’t even get into monograms, pockets, split yokes, the placket, gussets, pattern matching, collar stays, and back style. For those interested in more, please visit A Tailored Suit’s Style Guide or the resources we listed in The Art of Manliness’s best online style links.

Matching a Tie With Your Dress Shirt

Matching your dress shirt with a tie and suit can be tricky business. Here’s a guide on how to match your tie with a dress shirt and suit.

The Contest

The Art of Manliness and A Tailored Suit have teamed up to give one lucky reader a hand-made custom dress shirt valued at $149. To enter you need to leave a comment describing your ideal dress shirt and specify 1) your fabric choice (include a reference #), 2 ) collar style, 3) cuff type,  and 4)breast pocket style. This information can readily be found within A Tailored Suit’s online Build Your Garment tool.  All comments must be submitted by Friday, April 17 at 10PM CST. The winner will be announced on Saturday, April 18, 2009.

Written by
Antonio Centeno & the Team at A Tailored Suit

1 Jim April 12, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Art of Manliness=Coolest contests on the internets

My ideal shirt:

Fabric: #4-6-7
Collar type: Straight point style
Cuff type: One Button Square Edge Cuff
Breast pocket: square pocket

2 Scott April 12, 2009 at 7:22 pm

In nature, the female of the species is usually plain, and doesn’t need to show off because she _will_ be actively pursued. It’s the males that have the brightest plumage or coloring, in an effort to stand out from the background.

An ideal shirt, then, is eye-catching. All that’s required to avoid “obnoxious” is a proper base – you can wear a loud shirt with a simple jacket, and no one thinks it’s out of place – something like an orange #4-2-6 with a narrow straight point collar to bring out the rounded face,.

3 Justine April 12, 2009 at 7:26 pm

An ideal shirt for my husband:

Fabric: #4-8-29
Collar type: Straight point
Cuff type: Rounded edge French cuff
Breast pocket: Square pocket on left breast.

4 Aaron April 12, 2009 at 7:29 pm

My ideal dress shirt of course has to fit proper thus a form fitting cut.

Fabric: #4-2-2
Collar Type: Medium Spread Collar
Cuff Type: One Button Rounded Edge Cuff
Break Pocket: Rounded Pocket
Panel front and plain back

5 Tom April 12, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Custom Shirt Basics #4-6-43 Blue, Regular Business Collar, Two Button Cut Corner Cuff, no pocket.

That’s my shirt.

6 Karl April 12, 2009 at 7:39 pm

My ideal shirt:

Fabric: #4-3-1

Collar Type: Classic Button Down Collar — Length of the collar would be approx. 3.2 inches, which allows for a little bit of natural roll when worn open.

Cuff type: Two Button Cut Corner Cuff — cuff length would be just under three inches. While I love the feel of two buttons, the cuff being too long gives it a strange feel around my wrists.

Breast pocket: Diamond Cut Pocket — on the left side, right on the breast.

7 Patrick Lee April 12, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Excellent, excellent article. Tantalizing finale there, too: don’t be afraid of boring us, I for one would love a follow up article diving into the countless details of a good dress shirt. You can never have too much information, eh?

Re: the contest, let’s get into it. I think my ideal shirt would look like this:

Fabric # 4-6-50
Classic Spread Collar
Two Button Cut Corner Cuff
Square Pocket

8 Brandon Tyler April 12, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Fabric # 4-6-50
Classic Spread Collar
Two Button Cut Corner Cuff
Square Pocket

9 Glenn April 12, 2009 at 7:52 pm

fabric #4-6-79
classic spread collar
one button cut corner cuff
diamond cut pocket
regular front
side pleats
white block monogram on right cuff (GGA)
regular fit

I went with white not because I am boring, but because I have too many french blue and no white shirts.

10 mhz April 12, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Wow. I just bookmarked this site in my RSS feed last week. I found this site in a Google search, and having read the same (verbatim?) post on A Tailored Suit earlier – also linked from here. I even went so far as to build a shirt – alas, I can’t afford it yet.
Here are the first four options of a basic shirt, just a classic white in herringbone:

Fabric ID# 4-6-64
Medium Spread Collar (and I would opt for a slightly taller-than-usual option)
Rounded Edge French Cuff
No pocket

11 raheel khan April 12, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Fabric # 4-6-71

Collar Type: Medium Spread Collar (have a narrow face and looks great with a windsor knot tie)
Cuff type: One Button Cut Corner Cuff
Breast pocket: None

Reasoning: I like the black herringbone fabric, adds a bit of a distinguished and elegant style and allows you to stand out among the crowd of people that tend to represent cookie-cutters. You need every advantage for the ladies to notice you… so why not do it with poise and style? Why not allow her to really see what type of man you… confident.

Medium spread collar allows you to comfortably wear it to work with a tie and blazer, then head to the social gathering after without the tie. Be a man with a purpose.

One Button Cut Corner Cuff… just looks solid. Sure I could pick the french cuff for the elegant… but I think the one-button cut suffices for the everyday man who wants to wear it to work, and then to dinner with the lady. I just don’t think the french cuff allows for that type of flexibility.

Oh no… no pockets?! Yes, no pockets. Sorry fellas, but we are past the days of pocket protectors. Besides, I think it looks a bit more professional to place my pen inside my suit jacket. I like to keep my chest clear of any obstruction. Plus… I have plenty of other shirts with the front pocket if ever the occasion arises that I might need to use it (doubt it).

12 Dary Merckens April 12, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Fabric: #4-6-4
Collar Style: Straight Point Collar
Cuff Type: Rounded Edge French Cuff
Breast Pocket Style: Diamond Cut Pocket

13 Spencer McKay April 12, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Nice guide! As a young man about to start his first professional job this summer this was handy, although given the budget of a student corners sometimes need to be cut unfortunately.

As for the contest:
Fabric: ID# 4-6-47
Medium spread collar
One button rounded edge cuff
No pocket.

14 Tom VanderVelde April 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Fabric: #4-2-1
Collar: Regular Business Collar
Cuff: Two Button Rounded Edge Cuff
Breast Pocket Style: None

My one decent-looking white shirt got lost a few months back when I moved. Since then, every time I needed to wear a nice collared shirt, I wore an awkwardly-fitting deep blue one that has absolutely no synergy with any of my pants. With a handful of job interviews approaching, this will no longer do. I truly dread going to the department store, where odds are I will not find anything even close to my measurements. My best hope of looking smart for my interviews falls with this shirt.

15 brian t. April 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

fabric #4-8-31; tab collar; square french; regular front ; diamond pocket; center box pleat.

i hope i win!

16 RTKfan April 12, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Great post. Shirts are something I’ve been paying attention to a lot lately in terms of style.

For me, an ideal shirt is lightweight and versatile. Typically this means a lightweight cotton. I used to like bright colours but have been gravitating towards quieter ones. A point collar suits my face best and definitely no button-downs — I like neckties too much to do that, and they’re a bit preppy besides.

eg. from A Tailored Suit: Fabric 4-6-79, straight point collar, one-button cut corner cuff, no pocket.

17 Andy April 12, 2009 at 8:07 pm

My ideal shirt

Fabric #4-3-1
Collar: Straight Point
Cuff: Square Edge French Cuff
Breast Pocket Style: Square Pocket

I wear a white dress shirt with a fairly skinny black silk tie every day, so this would be an incredible thing to win.

18 Evan April 12, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Great contest idea!

Of course, the ideal dress shirt is one that fits perfectly — everything else is just details

That said, here’s my choices:
Fabric: #4-6-3
Collar: Medium Spread
Cuff: One Button Cut Corner
Pocket: Square

19 ERHrunner April 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Fabric: #4-2-6
Collar: Straight Point Collar
Cuff: One Button Rounded Edge Cuff
Pocket: Diamond Cut Pocket

My ideal dress shirt is one that is fitted around the waist. I am athletic and most dress shirts have lots of extra fabric in this area.

20 Brian April 12, 2009 at 8:10 pm

fabric #4-7-73
Medium Spread Collar
Two Button Rounded Edge Cuff
Diamond Cut Pocket
Panel Front Style
Center Box Pleat back

21 David Hohl April 12, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Fabric – Essential Business # 4-6-67
Collar – Medium Spread
Cuff – Two Button Cut Corner
Pocket – Diamond Cut Right Side

22 Tod Ross April 12, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Ooh. Well written post. I’m used to thinking of dress shirts as so much less than this. Thank you for enlightening me.

Fabric #: 4-6-88
Collar Style: Regular Business Collar
Cuff Style: Two Button Rounded Edge
Pocket Style: No Pocket

I hope I win.

23 Taylor April 12, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Great contest! Even for those who don’t win, it brings attention to an often shamefully overlooked aspect of our wardrobe.

Fabric: #4-7-72, brings out my baby blues
Straight Point Collar
Square Edge French Cuff, I remember my great-Grandfather alway wearing cufflinks, and I try to do the same
Diamond Cut Pocket

My dress shirts have all seen a lot of use, and French cuffs can be hard to find. This would be an awesome addition to my wardrobe!

24 Bernie Franks April 12, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Fabric #4-2-1
Collar: Classic Spread Collar
Cuff: Two Button Rounded Edge Cuff
Breast Pocket Style: None

25 michael April 12, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Wide spread collar
no pocket
Convertable single cuff

26 Haggus April 12, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Fabric: #4-6-71
Collar type: Regular Business Collar
Cuff type: One Button Square Edge Cuff
Breast pocket: None

27 Patrick April 12, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Classic Spread
One Button Convertible
Diamond Cut

28 Daniel April 12, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Fabric: #4-6-2
Collar: Straight Point
Cuff: Two button rounded edge
Breast pocket style: left, rounded

I am excited about how good I would look in this new shirt. Come on!

29 Justin Luddington April 12, 2009 at 9:02 pm


Classic Spread

French Cuff (Square)

White Contrast Collar & Cuffs

No Pocket

Form Fit

Side Pleats

30 Billy N. April 12, 2009 at 9:08 pm

1. #4-6-88
2. Straight Point Collar
3. One Button Square Edge Cuff
4. (No Pocket)

31 Matthew Edell April 12, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Fabric: #4-3-1 White
Collar: Tab collar
Cuff: contoured french
Breast pocket style: none

Thanks for the heads up on ‘a tailored suit.’ i didn’t know sites like that existed. if i had a tailor, he would be pissed.

32 Jordon April 12, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Fabric: #4-3-1
Collar: Wide Spread Collar
Cuff: Two-button Cut Corner Cuff
Breast Pocket Style: None

Regular Front Style
Side Pleats
Form fit

Thanks for this! :)

33 Jason April 12, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Classic Spread Collar
Square Edge French Cuff
Left Square Pocket

34 Zachariah Josiah Kendall April 12, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Regular Business Collar
Square Edge French Cuff
No Breast Pocket

35 Ian Daniel Bratton April 12, 2009 at 9:51 pm

I would love a pink shirt, something my wardrobe is sorely lacking right now. My perfect shirt would be fabric 4-6-65 / medium spread collar / Two Button Cut Corner Cuff / no breast pocket / Regular Front Style / Plain Back / no monogram / regular over all fit

36 Jonathan Deng April 12, 2009 at 10:05 pm

I’ve alway really liked dress shirts, ties, and sweaters. Lets see more of this!

Fabric: #4-6-55

Collar: Straight Point

Cuff: One button, rounded cuff

Square pocket.

37 Samar April 12, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Great Contest!
My ideal shirt:
Fabric: 4-3-1 plain white
Collar: Classic Spread Collar
Cuff: Contoured French Cuff
Pocket: none

38 Charles DeNault April 12, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Collar: Medium Spread
Cuff: Rounded Edge French
Pocket: None
Panel Style Font
Side Pleats
Regular Fit

Purple is a very gentle and regal color, always makes a nice impression on a shirt without being too flashy. French cuffs add so much personality to a shirt. When paired with my grandfathers cuff links the shirt really fells attached to me.

39 Shaun April 12, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Another great article..I’m loving these style guides. A tip for the keyboard-jockeys out there though: French cuffs with chunky cuff links can be a real pain if you’re doing a lot of typing.

My ideal shirt:

1) Essential Business Blue Stripe (4-6-73)
2) Medium Spread Collar
3) 2 Button rounded edge cuff
4) No breast pocket

40 Ozy April 12, 2009 at 11:36 pm

My ideal shirt would be:
Distinguished Black (#4-6-71) to add a little bit of a pattern that would pair with any neutral suit, with a straight point collar (Gotta love a long face with a square jawline). The cuff would be a square-edged french (To help frame rather large hands), and a diamond cut pocket to draw attention away from my broad shoulders.

Given a choice, I think I would actually prefer a Mandarin or “Collarless” style of collar, but we all have our own little idiosyncrasies, don’t we?

41 victor April 12, 2009 at 11:50 pm

1) Cotton #4-6-62
2) Straight Point Collar
3) Square Edge French Cuff
4) None, I would like it to be my one and only.

42 Allen April 12, 2009 at 11:54 pm

I’m going to be interviewing for residency programs soon, and this would be my ideal dress shirt:

Color: #4-6-4
Collar: Straight Point Collar
Cuff Type: One Button Rounded Edge Cuff
Pocket: Left Square Pocket

Thank you for the contest!

43 Michael Galbreath April 13, 2009 at 12:16 am

I prefer the “no pocket” approach. Having a pocket invites one the put things in the pocket which affect your silhouette. Here are my preferences.
1) fabric choice: #4-2-2
2) collar style: Medium Spread Collar
3) cuff type: One Button Rounded-Edge Cuff
4)breast pocket style: No Pocket

44 Shoh Ueno April 13, 2009 at 12:26 am

This is quite amazing. I hope I get a shirt.

My ideal shirt:
1) Fabric #4-6-60
2) Straight point.
3) Double button barrel cuffs with cut corner.
4) No breast pocket.

45 Simon April 13, 2009 at 12:29 am

Classic Spread Collar
Square Edge French Cuff
No pocket

Thank you!

46 Michael Dallas April 13, 2009 at 12:31 am

fabric: 4-6-64 (white herringbone)
collar: straight point
cuff: square edge french
pocket: diamond on the left

47 jonas April 13, 2009 at 12:45 am

my favourite shirt would be:
1. 4-8-9
2. Straight Point Collar
3. Two Button Square Edge Cuff
4. No Pocket

and to make things complete: Panel front + side pleats

48 Vlad April 13, 2009 at 12:46 am

fabric: #4-6-64
medium spread collar
two button squre edge cuff
square pocket

excellent shirt, GET!

49 Alexander Chen April 13, 2009 at 1:02 am

Fabric: #4-6-67 Grey Herringbone
Collar: Classic Spread Collar (I wish they had Wing Collars.)
Cuff: Contoured French Cuff (Going for something different)
Breast Pocket Style: None (What is the point of a Breast Pocket nowadays?)

Front Shirt Style: Covered Panel Front Style
Back Shirt Style: Plain Back
Fit: Form Fit (the slimier the better!)

50 aliotsy April 13, 2009 at 1:51 am

Thanks for this contest! My proportions always mean off-the-rack dress shirts have poor fit — usually, too much fabric billowing around the waist.

1) Essential Business #4-6-69, 2 ) Straight Point Collar, 3) Rounded Edge French Cuff, and 4) No pocket.

51 Michael Case April 13, 2009 at 2:57 am

Great article! An article solely on shirts is quite informative rather than as most articles about coats only. Thanks for your generosity in a giveaway!

1. Essential Casual #4-8-24
2. Straight Point Collar
3. Contoured French Cuff
4. No Pocket

52 eoin April 13, 2009 at 3:56 am

Shirts are the best part of any outfit.

1 . #4-6-62
2. Straight point collar
3. Rounded french cuff
4. No pocket

Form fitting is the way to go for anybody who isnt large. Looks very young.

53 HB April 13, 2009 at 4:02 am

Fabric: White Oxford, #4-3-1
Collar: Straight Point Collar
Cuff: Square Edge French Cuff
Pocket: Diamond Cut Pocket

I love cufflinks and I love the security a heavier cotton provids, even if it can be a tad hot at times when wearing an undershirt. That’s what A/C is for, right :)?

54 Brian Clarke April 13, 2009 at 4:09 am

It is refreshing to see discussions on topics such as this. My ideal shirt would be

Fabric: 4-6-82
Collar: Regular Business Collar
Cuff: One Button Square Edge
Pocket: Left Side Diamond Cut


55 Zachsdad1 April 13, 2009 at 4:14 am

Great website – with great detail
Fabric: 4-6-79
Collar: Straight Point Collar
Cuff: Square Edge French Cuff
Pocket: Left Side Diamond Cut
Must have a white silky smooth fabric since white is the most flattering color of a shirt a man can wear IMHO.


56 Scott April 13, 2009 at 4:15 am

My dream shirt:

1) Fabric: #4-6-16
2) Collar Style: Medium Spread Collar
3) Cuff Type: One Button Cut Corner Cuff
4) Breast Pocket Style: No Pocket

57 James April 13, 2009 at 4:22 am

Wide spread collar
Rounded edge French cuff
Square pocket

Great article!

58 Tom April 13, 2009 at 4:31 am

1) Preference for cotton – wrinkle free/non iron #4-3-1, 2 ) Spread collar for my narrow face, 3) single button cuff w/ “sleeve button”, and 4) left square breast pocket style.

Excellent website. Hard to induldge in an expensive shirt, but if you ever get a custom shirt you will “feel” the difference. I am tall — 6-3, so shirts often are short in the sleeve or torso.

59 James Considine April 13, 2009 at 4:41 am

I definitely seem to be disappointed by the fit of most of my shirts. And my dry cleaners – they don’t seem to want to replace buttons when their machines break them.

At any rate, my dream shirt is as follows:

1) 4-7-76 – for some reason I am invariably drawn to an interesting stripe. Maybe the “slimming” effect, maybe the fact that a nice stripe just feels great to wear – I seldom get compliments on any of my solid color shirts.
2) Medium Spread Collar – in a biz casual environment, these seem to feel best
3) 1 Button square cuff
4) Square pocket

60 Nikita April 13, 2009 at 4:55 am

Hello, and thanks for the contest idea!
Just fyi: i’m 6.3, slim with long arms (and picky taste in detailes – which make all the difference). Getting the right shirt is either an adventure or a pain for me:)

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Fabric: 4-6-18.
Size: 15 1\2, sleeves 36 or 37.
Fit: tailored or slim.
Collar: Classic spread.
Cuffs: double (French) with rounded edges.
Fit: tailored.

- an extra button next to French cuffs;
- an extra hole for the cufflink to make fine adjustment of the cuff width;
- placeholders for collar bones (which will allow to use or not to use the bones);
- horizontal button hole for the last button.

No pockets.
No monograms.

Care expectations: machine washable at lights/colours cycle.

Thank you!

61 Richard Williams April 13, 2009 at 4:56 am

What? No recommendation for the classic button down collar?! This is the ultimate in every day casual/business attire. The look of a slightly roomy, heavy, 100% cotton version like the one Lands End sells, with creased sleeves and smartly starched, cannot be topped. VERY MANLY!

My favorite color for that shirt is powder blue or white. I also like the classic blue/white stripe.


62 Kevin April 13, 2009 at 4:59 am

Hey, the perfect shirt is versatile! I don’t want a shirt I can go from garden to boardroom (does one exist?), but one from boardroom to dinner date would be nice.

Fabric #4-6-64, white with a herringbone weave would do nicely. A pin collar with rounded edge French cuff lets me show off a little style, so no pocket necessary.

I do prefer side pleats in the back as well, especially since it will be a custon fit — why settle for box pleats, like off the rack? Thanks for the contest!

63 Christopher Gillespie April 13, 2009 at 5:01 am

I love my shirts.

1. #4-6-85
2. Business collar
3. two-button square edged
4. Square pocket

64 MattS April 13, 2009 at 5:01 am

Fabric: #4-8-1
Collar Style: Straight Point Collar
Cuff Type: Rounded Edge French Cuff
no pocket

65 Kevin April 13, 2009 at 5:02 am

to Richard Williams: I like the no-iron button-down oxford from LL Bean. Boy, does it hold a crease. Slightly roomy, heavy, just like you describe the Land’s End. Can be worn almost every day and is indeed very manly.

66 Shawn Moore April 13, 2009 at 5:03 am

fabric # 4-6-5, classic spread collar, one button rounded edge cuff, and a diamond cut pocket on the left would be my ideal shirt. Thank you for this post! I’ve checked out “A tailored suit” before, would be lovely to win something from them!

67 ephraim April 13, 2009 at 5:08 am

dream shirt (for a short-limbed long torsoed guy – it’s miserable finding ready to wear shirts that even come close to fitting)

1) fabric #4-6-67
2) straight point collar
3) contoured french cuff
4) no breast pocket

normally, i consider the breast pocket indispensable for keeping directions to wherever i’m going or other bits of information that i’ll need quick access to, but if it’s an occasion that requires a suit, i figure i’ll have an inside jacket pocket for that. and i do agree that a dress shirt looks better without the pocket (and certainly better without little bits of paper sticking out of it)

68 Brian April 13, 2009 at 5:10 am

cloth #4-6-1
collar: straight point
cuff: one button cut corner
no pocket

69 Dad of Divas April 13, 2009 at 5:17 am

As a small man – 5’4″, it is hard if not impossible to find a short at a typical store that actually fits so this is an awesome giveaway for me! Thanks for doing this!

I would say the following for me!

Fabric: 4-6-64.
Size: 14 1\2, sleeves 32
Fit: tailored.
Collar: Straight Point.
Cuffs: one button cuff corner cut
Pocket: Left Rounded
Front: Regular front
Pleats: plain back

70 Evan April 13, 2009 at 5:22 am

Fabric #: 4-6-71
Collar Style: Medium Spread Collar
Cuff Style: One Button Cut Corner Cuff
Pocket Style: No Pocket

I’m a real fan of the herringbone style, and I think black would be different without drawing unnecessary attention to myself. Giveaways are awesome, and classy, manly, and useful giveaways are even better. Keep up the great work!

P.S. I swear I made my selections before i saw raheel khan’s post. That’s too weird.

71 Gary April 13, 2009 at 5:33 am

As always, another great reason to stay tuned to The Art of Manliness.

Fabric – 4-8-45
Classic Button Down
One button round
No pocket

72 M April 13, 2009 at 5:33 am

This is a fun contest!

1) fabric #4-8-72
2) Classic Button Down Collar
3) Two Button Rounded Edge Cuff
4) Diamond Cut Pocket


73 David April 13, 2009 at 5:34 am

Fabric: 4-6-80
Collar: Regular Business
Cuff: Contoured French
Pocket: Left Diamond Cut
Front: Panel
Back: Plain
Fit: Form

I have been wearing custom shirts for years… I love them because they fit right. After wearing custom, anything else doesn’t feel right. Beside the fact that mass produced shirts are not designed with a guy that is 6’3″ with a 6’7″ wing span in mind.

A proper custom shirt can make or break a mans look.

74 Jonathan T April 13, 2009 at 5:37 am

My perfect shirt would be the quintessential business shirt.

#4-1-3 Blue, Classic Spread Collar, Two-Button Cut-Corner Cuff, with No Pocket. Stylish, professional, and the kind of shirt you’d want to wear for lunch with the boss.

75 Scott April 13, 2009 at 5:44 am

1) #4-6-13
2) Straight point collar
3) Two-button cut corner cuff
4) No breast pocket

(you didn’t ask, but panel front and plain back, too)

76 10lbs April 13, 2009 at 5:45 am

My perfect shirt would fit me well, and would be one that I could wear to court or in meetings with clients:

1) your fabric choice (include a reference #): #4-6-82
2 ) collar style: forward point collar
3) cuff type: two button cut corner cuff
4)breast pocket style: no pocket

77 Kevin W April 13, 2009 at 6:06 am

My ideal shirt:

Fabric: #4-6-61
Collar: Regular Business Collar
Cuff: Contoured French Cuff
Pocket: No pocket, my pocket protector is currently AWOL…

Great post!

78 Evan Sketchley April 13, 2009 at 6:08 am

My ideal shirt…

Fabric 4-6-75
Medium Spread Collar
Square French Cuff
No pocket


79 Curtis April 13, 2009 at 6:16 am

Fabric: # 4-7-83
Straight Point Collar
One Button Cut Corner Cuff
Breast Pocket Style: None
Front Shirt Style: Regular Front Style
Back Shirt Style: Side Pleats

80 Stuart Hunsinger April 13, 2009 at 6:18 am

This is a superb article. Very well written.

Fabric: #4-6-79
Collar type: Medium Spread Collar
Cuff type: Square Edge French Cuff
Breast pocket: None

81 Andy April 13, 2009 at 6:21 am

There is such a satisfying feeling to putting on a brand new dress shirt for the first time. Yet, being 6’4″ I have such a tough time finding one that fits – just right – and lasts for years. For me, the closest shirt that works for me is the Brooks Brothers Red label.

Grey houndstooth check
Classic Button Down collar
Two Button Square Edge Cuff
Left breast, square pocket
Panel Front Style with Centered box pleat
Red block monogram on the pocket.

82 Daniel Pope April 13, 2009 at 6:25 am

Always love these entries.

Fabric: 4-6-33
Collar: Medium Spread Collar
Cuff: One Button Cut Corner Cuff
Breast Pocket Style: No Pocket

83 Jason April 13, 2009 at 6:27 am

Fabric #4-6-75
Collar Type: Straight Point
Cuff Type: Button
Breast Pocket: None

Great Article-A lot of younger males (high school age) need to read this as a lot of manly fashion is going out with the “skater” and more feminine fashions that have attempted to infiltrate the manly wardrobe

84 J Stair April 13, 2009 at 6:30 am

My ideal shirt…

Fabric: #4-8-72
Collar: Classic Button Down
Cuff: One Button Rounded Edge
Pocket: Rounded

85 Chris J April 13, 2009 at 6:32 am

Putting on a custom fitted shirt is the best way to start a Monday.

Color: Custom Shirt Basics #4-6-79 “White Twill”
Collar: Medium Spread
Cuff: One Button convertible cuff
Pocket: Rounded Pocket
Other: Regular Front, Side Pleats

86 Matt April 13, 2009 at 6:32 am

Fabric: # 4-6-59
Collar: Regular Business Collar
Cuff: One Button Cut Corner Cuff
Pocket: No pocket

87 Marshall Jones April 13, 2009 at 6:51 am

I do have shirts made and they make all the difference in the world. My favorite shirt is blue with white stripes (about 1 inch apart) and white contrasting french cuffs and collar. I always initial the pocket or sleeve with TMJ.

Thanks to you and Antonio for the contest!

Color: Pattern #4-6-61
Collar: Inside button down
Cuffs: French cuffs
Pocket: Diamond cut with pen/cigar holder
Bask: Side pleats

88 Adam White April 13, 2009 at 6:52 am

My ideal shirt would be

1) 4-6-88
2)A medium spread collar
3)One Button convertible cuff
no breast pocket

Great article. Dress shirts can really do a lot to a man’s wardrobe if worn properly with the right fit.

89 Frito April 13, 2009 at 6:52 am

Fabric #4-6-47
Collar:Medium Spread
cuff:Square Edge French Cuff
Pocket: Square Pocket

And more information on dress shirts. I think every guy, myself included, could learn more about wearing alternative colors and finding shirts that don’t look like Im wearing a boat’s sail.

90 Chris April 13, 2009 at 6:59 am

The perfect shirt for the Manager interview coming up soon:
Fabric: 4-2-5
Collar: Straight Point
Cuff: 1 Button Rounded Edge
Breast Pocket: Square
Thanks and keep fighting the good fight!

91 Kevin April 13, 2009 at 6:59 am

Fabric: 4-6-25 blue plaid
classic button down collar
2 button square edge cuff
no pocket
panel front / center box pleat back

92 Paul April 13, 2009 at 7:00 am

The ideal dress shirt stays tucked in without ballooning around the waistband.

Fabric: # 4-6-10
Classic Spread Collar
Square Edge French Cuff
Square Breast Pocket

93 Andrew Miller April 13, 2009 at 7:00 am

I’ve only recently joined this community, but I am thoroughly stoked to see the amazing quality of articles and I’ve already bought the equipment to start shaving with a safety razor! Still waiting on the blades to come in, but I’m excited!

My ideal shirt:
Fabric: #4-6-64
Collar style: Medium spread collar
Cuff style: One button cut corner cuff
Breast pocket: None
Front shirt style: Regular
Back shirt style: Plain
Regular fit

94 Mithun April 13, 2009 at 7:01 am

The devil is in the details. Off the rack shirts cater to the most generic body type/ proportion making no impact (if not negative). If I go with the basic fit for my size invariably there is a buff at the sides when I tuck in.
As a side note, there is always the least mentioned joy of getting a tailored dress shirt. Just like your barber, your tailor knows you. Over the years there is a camaraderie which is very rarely seen in any of the big stores.
My shirt:
Straight point collar
One button square edge and diamond cut left square pocket

95 Tim April 13, 2009 at 7:07 am

My ideal shirt would have ample sleeve length without having to get the next size up, like so many off the rack brands…

1.) #4-6-73
2.) Regular Business Collar
3.) Contoured French Cuff
4.) Diamond Cut Pocket (Left)

96 David Gagné April 13, 2009 at 7:14 am

Being a tall and thin man, the ideal dress shirt for me must be simple, perhaps solid, and most important of all, long and fitted. When I tuck a dress shirt in my pants, if I didn’t have it tailored, it billows like you wouldn’t believe.

I’d take a shirt with these specs:

1) #4-6-64
2) straight point collar
3) square edge french cuff
4) no pocket

97 Larry April 13, 2009 at 7:25 am

My favorite shirt would be simple, but effective. Being a big, tall guy, it would be comfortable and versatile with the following furnishings:

Fabric: blue, cotton (4-3-3)
Collar: Straight point
Cuff: One button, cut corner
Pocket: square, left

98 Jess April 13, 2009 at 7:25 am

I’d love to win a custom shirt

1) #4-3-1

2) classic spread collar

3) contoured french cuff

4) No Pocket

99 SANDY April 13, 2009 at 7:31 am

#4-6-88/Two Button Rounded Edge Cuff, Regular Business Collar, no pocket

My ideal shirt well fits well, and recently went to Dillards and got shirts that were expensive but not comfortable- need long arms and a bigger neck that I can actually close for a tie and since I am bulky at the neck and have muscles in the arms it pulls the shirt up and turns out tight. These look great and more men need them just so they don’t have the pirate look with the shirts- that is horrible. Very nice site- I love the slacks too becuase I have a 39 inseam and hard to find is a nice word for pants so I love shorts weather but not feasible for work.

100 Kennon April 13, 2009 at 7:37 am

As a college student seeking to enter the workforce my perfect shirt has to be able to catch the eye of my interviewer and make me stand out from the crowd but also has to be versatile enough to work with many suit and tie options after I nail that job interview.

1.)#4-8-33 (the subtle check pattern really draws the eye)
2.)Straight point collar
3.) One Button Cut Corner Cuff
4.) Square pocket to work with my suits

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