The Ultimate Guide to Dress Shirts

Finding a stylish, well-fitting dress shirt for a personal or professional engagement can be confusing. With so many styles, fabrics, collars, cuffs and other small details to understand, it’s tough to find something that’s both fashionable and fits the occasion.

Here’s our guide to dress shirts to help you figure out what exactly you need to look your best no matter what kind of event you’re attending.

How to Find the Right Shirt Fit

A properly fitting shirt should give you enough ability to move without feeling restricted. There are several different shirt styles for different body types and style preferences to consider. Read through some popular options below:

The Classic Fit

These are the basic, traditional style of shirt, cut for a general body shape without too much focus on form. It’s usually looser and more comfortable, but doesn't look as streamlined as other styles. These types are great for day-to-day wear when you want to look pulled together, but don’t need to look overly formal.

Slim Fit

Tapered through the midsection and waist, and more narrow through the shoulders and arms, slim fit shirts sit closer to the body and provide a tighter fit. This style is generally reserved for slimmer body types, and may be too tight for those with an overly athletic build.

Modern Fit 

For the perfect compromise between a classic fit and slim fit, try a modern fit. These supply more room throughout the chest, waist, shoulders and arms, but not so much that it will look baggy. It’s an easy option for everyday wear that helps keep you looking your best. 

Super Slim/Skinny Fit

This contemporary option provides the tightest fit for a slim silhouette. It’s a fashion-forward look, so if you want a unique look that compliments your physique, this is the choice for you.

Dress Shirt Fabric

From oxford to broadpoint to twill and beyond, there’s a dress shirt fabric for every occasion, whether you’re dressing up for a wedding, important work meeting or romantic date. Some of the following are popular options:

  • Broadpoint: Highly professional thanks to a lack of texture and sheen and includes an over-under weave.
  • Twill: Featuring a diagonal pattern that’s suitable for both formal and casual occasions.
  • Oxford: Soft yet strong, this dress shirt fabric features a criss-cross pattern that’s great for everything from dinner dates to professional networking events and beyond.

Read our post on dress shirt fabrics for more information!

Shirt Style Details 

When it comes to crushing your formal look, the details matter. From cuffs to buttons to pockets and beyond, read up on specific shirt details to nail your look.

Cuff Styles

Barrel Cuff

The barrel cuff is the most common, featuring a single, unfolded band of fabric and square corner with buttons. 

Single Cuff

Similar to a barrel cuff, but only containing a single button for fastening, creating a sleeker look.

French Cuff

The most formal option, French cuffs are twice as long as barrel cuffs and secured with cufflinks. 

Convertible Cuff

Convertible cuffs are versatile options that allow you to use either buttons or cufflinks to connect them.

Dress Shirt Details

Dress Shirt Buttons

Dress shirt buttons come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Flat Buttons: A classic, four-holed button connected with thread.
  • Shank Buttons: Attached to clothing through a hollow ridge on its back side.
  • Stud Buttons: Small, disc-like buttons, normally made from metal and snapped together.
  • Decorative Buttons: Personalized buttons that are great for themed occasions.

Dress Shirt Pocket

The rule of thumb with dress shirt pockets that the lack of one is considered more formal. If you’re ever in doubt, go without.

Back Pleats

Back pleats aren’t as common as they once were, but some appreciate the extra space in the arms and shoulders. However, they are difficult to alterate, so what you see is what you get.


Besides a breast pocket, a dress shirt should never have another type of pocket.

Quality Embroidery on Dress Shirts

Now that you know a little more about buying the best-fitting dress shirt for your needs, you can rock a new, stand-out style at your upcoming personal or professional engagement. Make sure to pay attention to the details and you’re apt to turn a head or two.

For a professional occasion, try a quality embroidery on your company’s dress shirts. These are great for trade shows, networking events, client meetings and any event where you want to show off your logo and build awareness of your brand.

Take a look at the many stylish, comfortable choices offered by Thread Logic. We can personalize a range of shirt types, fabrics, patterns, colors and other options - shop our online store today to find the perfect clothing items that match your unique look.

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About Jeff Taxdahl

With over 20 years’ experience in embroidery and business ownership, Thread Logic owners Jeff and Wenda Taxdahl, and the Thread Logic team, know what it takes to make custom logo embroidered apparel that people are proud to wear.