When it comes to dressing up for a formal occasion this season, a formal shirt is your primary building block. Suits, shirts, and ties used to be the standard for formal occasions but the evolution of fashion, however, has made the styling of men’s shirts far less rigid. Many men are now bending the rules of conventional clothing and incorporating pieces into their combinations that are casual and comfortable. The definition of dressing formally is no longer the same. Nowadays, you’d find more men pairing formal shirts with jeans, sweaters, and sports jackets rather than suits and trousers.
It’s time for those who’ve stuck to the traditional approach to catch up with new trends, to not look out of place in a professional or semi-formal setup. As important as dressing up is, it’s also important to know how much. Amongst the many things that we are currently missing, is the opportunity to wear formal shirts. While formal shirts for men are essential staples, the current times, however, do not demand a formal dress code from us often, resulting in our formal shirts just lying around catching dust in the wardrobe.
Get them out because we have some style tips to update your formal shirt game. Not only will we guide you on how to wear formal shirts fashionably but also ways to style formal shirts for other occasions! Moreover, wearing formal shirts to casual events increases their versatility and utility, making the most of your purchase. However, what defines a formal shirt and how can you make the most of this sophisticated piece of inventory?
What is a formal shirt?
A formal shirt is a button-up shirt with a collar, sleeves, and cuffs made from cotton or linen, normally plain and available in solid colours such as celeste, white, or navy but you can choose for classics like stripes or checks to wear with an unpatterned suit.
Find your fit
Some of the required criteria are listed below:
- Your physique comes first and foremost. Slimmer men should go for a slimmer well-fitted cut while well-built men should go for a looser-fitting shirt.
- Second, comes the suit you’re pairing it with. Choosing a skinny or slim fit suit may result in excess fabric creating unnecessary bulges. Keep it lean by sticking to a slim fit shirt.
- Your shirt should always allow for two fingers in the collar when buttoned up and the cuffs should never slip off your wrists unless the buttons are undone.
- Keep the length of your sleeves in check. More than an inch of material bulging around your cuffs means they’re too long.
- It should fit firmly around your shoulders and have no more than one to three inches of fabric when you pinch the shirt around your chest.
How to wear a formal shirt
- You want to look your best so make sure your shirt is spotlessly clean and freshly pressed. Nothing’s worse than a creased or untidy shirt underneath an immaculate suit.
- The main objective of a shirt collar is to frame and balance your face proportions. A point collar is for someone with a round face as the long drop on the collar elongates your appearance. A cutaway collar is what you need if you have a medium to long shaped face. You could invest in collar stiffeners to ensure the shape is always firm. Pick a bow tie or tie, depending on the occasion.
- If wearing a suit to a formal occasion, French cuffs (the style that calls for cufflinks) is worth investing in. However, a crisp white shirt with button cuffs is always a safe bet.
- If you choose the right fit then you don’t have to deal with excess fabric. Start from the back and make sure your tail is tucked in properly. Then move around to the front of your shirt and make sure the shirt is smooth and even all the way around. Keep it tidy by aligning your buttons with your flies or belt. Now you may finish with a waistcoat or a suit jacket.
Alternate ways to style your formal shirt
- Semi-Casual 101 – A tucked-in shirt, buttoned-up collars, and a tie are the basic rules for dressing formally. However, modern fashion does not stick to any such standards. You can give these rules a miss and get your formal shirt to look suitable for the necessary occasions. Ditch the tie, untuck your shirt, and keep the placket open. Make your style seem a lot more laid-back and relaxed by rolling your sleeves up to the elbows.
- Add some Denim to your life – This one is for all those men who miss wearing their denim. Instead of wearing formal pants, you can pair up your linen shirt over black or blue jeans. Go a step further and complement it with distressed or ripped denim. You may substitute blazers with sports jackets, roll up your sleeves and leave a few buttons undone. Add that casual touch to your look. Complete the look with some sliders or the old school flip flops!
- Mix and match? – Adding some layers is perfect when we are going to be spending most of our time at home with the air conditioning making it a pleasantly fashionable affair. For an office going person, classic prints like checks and stripes are mandatory. Wear these prints over one other for a perfectly unique look. A colourful tank top, for example, is perfect for wearing under a formal shirt. This one is for the pros.
- A Short Affair – Ever thought about wearing your shirt with a pair of shorts? Wear a basic white t-shirt or tank top under an open half-sleeve shirt. It’s the perfect mix of formal and casual for men working from home. Another great way to flex the casual-look is by adding some informal footwear to your outfit. Rather than loafers or oxfords, you can choose simpler, more comfortable options such as slip-on or sneakers to show your dedication to comfort. Bright, bold colours, especially neon shades drive home the point even better. Comfortable enough to chill around and formal enough to attend that sudden work video call!
- Sweater or Cardigan? That is the question – Formal shirts in informal setups are usually layered with thicker fabric to bulk up your body and make you look more formidable. Thus, sports jackets, blazers and overcoats are made of denser material. Throwing on a sweater on top of it is another great way to accomplish this goal. When you do this, make sure your collars pop out of the pullover and look for sweaters with sleeves that are shorter than your shirt to reveal your cuffs.
This look, maybe unnecessary in a casual setting though. Rather than thick fabrics, you can opt for thinner and more casual alternatives like shrugs and cardigans. Not only do they keep you warm and cosy, but also highlight a plain shirt without looking too formal. Make the most of your formal shirts by wearing them in as many ways as you can and check out the formal linen shirts we have to offer.