Think of your shirt as the foundations to your outfit: it is what all other garments rely on. As the backbone to sartorial success it should be intrinsically linked. Putting on a clean, crisp, well fitted shirt should give you confidence for the day ahead.
Here is some advice for you all in Shirt Etiquette:
1. Measurements: know these like your bank PIN number, the main ones to remember are neck size, shoulder width, sleeves and length. Don't ever say to yourself "that'll do," - no it won't, it is perfect fit or nothing.
2. The one finger rule. Possibly one of the simplest but most important shirt rules. You should be able to fit your index finger easily between your neck and collar. Two fingers is too baggy and no fingers may leave your neck looking like turkey skin and your face lacking oxygen.
3. When do you tuck, when don't you tuck? Never ever untuck your shirt when wearing a suit, it is not acceptable. If you are after a simple rule, tuck when formal and untuck when casual, if smart casual it is like rounding up a 5, go tucked. When buying a shirt make sure the shirt length is generous and doesn't ride up when sitting down.
4. Make sure the shirt fits close to the body. There are plenty of fits to choose from these days such as slim-fit, classic-fit and tailored-fit. Although as mentioned earlier, know you measurements because all shirt brands have subtle differences in their size guides depending on the target market they cater for.
5. Collar confusion. To name a few, you have the classic, extreme cutaway, penny, penny cutaway, pinned, and tabbed. There is plenty of choice, but what does all this mean? At Hawkins & Shepherd we would recommend classic & extreme cutaways for business attire, penny collars with the top button done up for casual or smart casual attire and the pin or tab collar shirt for the fashion forward or special occasion attire.
6. If you are the sort of person who notices the subtle differences between a Ferrari and Lamborghini you will take note to the finer points such as the buttons on your shirt. But when to button down and how many? 3 is too many, without question. 1 and 2 are optional yet acceptable depending on the situation but for me if you have a good fitted shirt around the neck you should always keep the top button done up.
7. To wear to tie or not? All shirts are designed with the option to wear ties. What is important is the type of knot to use. For the wider necked shirts, use a half Windsor or full Windsor knots. If you are going for a 1920s-esque dapper look with a tab or pin collared shirt, you must wear a tie as these shirts are designed to protrude the tie and use a skinny knot. Just remember the knot style you used at secondary school, perfect!
8. Attention to details, look at the fabric yarn count, the positioning of the stitching, the buttons (mother of pearl, not plastic) and make sure the collars and cuffs are non-fused with soft inner linings to give that comfortable feel around your neck.
9. Length is important! When buying a formal shirt, make sure the shirt tail falls at least 5 inches below your belt line, this way your shirt will not ride up when sitting down.
10. Too tight. If your shirt buttons are pulling the fabric so that you get those V shape stretch marks then go up a size!