Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dress Shirts

People new to the game of wearing a tie have it wrong. Well, they're wearing a tie right, but it's about the shirt. Casual shirts DO NOT WORK. Casual shirts are meant to be worn without a tie. They typically have floppy collars, and are fitted in S,M,L, which results in an inappropriate sleeve length and TERRIBLE collar fit. The collar is bound to be too big (not often the case for those with fitted shirts) or too small (I see this a whole lot more).

Because the collar doesn't fit, we see a lot of kids rocking the loose tie... before hours. This is blaspheme. This results in looking affected, and reminds me of walking about with your fly down. The tie comes loose after hours bro, when your date is so hot you can't handle it (well, maybe not, but we can wish).

Also, S,M,L dress shirts can be the downfall of many a folk. The fit is typically off and even if the collar is stiff, it won't look as clean cut as you would hope. Know your collar size and know your sleeve length, then hit up Lands End, Brooks Brothers, or LL Bean to find a shirt that fits.

Sidenote: To all those 'skinny' guys out there, you won't swim in a LL Bean slim fit or a Land's End tailored fit, BoO has just trained you to think so. Tuck your shirt in, and you'll see how amazing a LL Bean or Land's End oxford can be.

Sidenote 2: GQ has more info here.


  1. I agree that Bean dress shirts are an excellent choice.

  2. Great post, as usual. GTBT is quickly becoming my favorite blog.

    But that said, I'm giving up on tailored/slim fit shirts. I did it for awhile, but eventually had to face the fact that full cut joints are way more comfortable. And as long as they're tucked in, they're not as ridiculously blousy-looking as some would have you think.

    Well, sometimes they are, but who cares.

  3. @ TC and MLS:

    Thanks for the love guys. It's awesome to know that what I write is appreciated. I hope to make this blog the best kept secret out there.

  4. Thank you. This is a point can never be made too often. With or without a tie, a shirt should fit. However a shirt is meant to be worn, it should be cut correctly.

    And you are exactly right about people getting let down by broad sizing.
    It really amazes me how many upscale and even "premium" brands charge a ridiculous sum for a shirt sized in S, M, L, etc. Some people will say that this is not cost effective for a mass market item, but if Van Heusen can sell shirts in real sizes for $20, why can't J. Crew do the same for $65?

  5. I couldn't agree more about the Lands' End tailored fit. They are faarrrr slimmer than people make them out to be.

  6. Does this mean I should never wear my Black Fleece shirts?

  7. With ties that is.

  8. Well, you can, I'm not here to stop you. But those guys who are complaining about not being able to afford BoO or Black Fleece and wanting super slim shirts need to buck up. If you have Black Fleece, that's great, they're good quality and I've heard nothing bad about it.

  9. I’m a big fan of your blog. Its humor, sensibility, and humility in addressing the challenge of looking good on a low-budget without resorting to shopping at the thrift store all the time is something I admire.

    Currently I am facing one of the biggest fashion crisis of my life, and am hoping for some advice from yourself and perhaps your readers as well. I am currently studying abroad in Chennai, India. Dressing as a student abroad is a fashion identity crisis unto itself. How much does one integrate the local styles into your look? As a student abroad, you aren’t really a tourist, but at the other end, you definitely aren’t exactly an ex-patriate looking to leave your country behind. What I’ve attempted to construct in my fashion identity is something that reflects my native, American, identity, while at the same time showing I am here to learn from the local culture, fashion-wise and otherwise. Some of the tourists (there aren’t many in Chennai) strut around Chennai in their three-button kurta or kurta shirt and dhotis and end up looking like they are playing dress up. Western fashion, with an Eastern twist, has, at least in the cities, relegated the traditional kurtas and dhotis to traditional functions.

    In addition to this identity fashion crisis, I am faced with a practical fashion problem. Chennai is hot and humid. It often gets up to 90 degrees here, and the humidity makes it feel like you are breathing in a fish tank. A half mile walk leaves me, and my clothes, soaked in sweat. I really wish it was fashionable here to walk around in nothing but a swim suit, but unfortunately, the conservatism of the state of Tamil Nadu (beer is only allowed to be served in places that have housing, smoking a cigarette anywhere is illegal) has made shorts frowned upon: pants are pretty much required, and a shirt with buttons is preferred. Finally, footwear is a problem. Not that I don’t love my top-siders, I do, however, they are not built for monsoon rains—and navigating the flooded and mud-filled streets that come with them. So that’s my dilemma.

    The Indian GQ I purchased here offered little practical advice. I stopped reading when I read that over-sized, Nordic-influenced, wool cardigans were the hot thing for this upcoming winter. With temperatures in November and December in Tamil Nadu not likely to drop much below eighty, I certainly agree that over-sized cardigans will be fucking hot this winter. I realize that India may be outside the scope of your blog, and perhaps your readers as well, however, any advice would be much appreciated.

  10. Yeah, I agree, seersucker. I picked one up at the beginning of the summer and over the course of the season it stood out as probably the best item in my S/S wardrobe. It was from LL Bean so the quality was reliable and the price was right.

    As for what to wear, just remember that in our modern globalized world, a collection of high quality basics will take you just about anywhere. A decent pair of chinos, a good button-down, and some halfway decent shoes are pretty much universally acceptable in professional/academic settings all over the world. I know you're anxious to inject some local flavor into your wardrobe, but I'd be careful. You may come off as pretentious or condescending... like the arrogant American playing dress-up. I dunno, maybe just feel it out.

  11. See if you can hire someone local to make something in a style that you are comfortable with out of climate-appropriate fabrics. Garments don't have to be a mass-market item, and the labor+materials may be surprisingly inexpensive.

  12. Just stumbled onto your site after reading Style Forum.

    Thanks for this article, I have been looking for slim fit custom shirts for a while now!

    I'll definitely try Land's End for my next dress shirt. However, I notice that they only have plain blue or plain white as fabrics.

    I have an unusually large neck and it's almost impossible to find shirts that fit. I'm slim and like very slim shirts (I hate when shirts parachute in the back). I have a 16 1/2 neck, 38 Chest and 32 waist so LL Bean won't work.

    Any other sites that you would recommend for my situation?

  13. Looks like you need a tailor or you need to get your shirts MTM. Sorry, some people just have shit luck.

  14. Ya i agree to this post. If you are fond of wearing ties on shirts then you have to choose the outfits according to that only. Otherwise it ruins your style & personality. This post reminds me of my young age when i wear my dress shirts with the ugly combination of tie and all my friends laughed at me. Thanks buddy for the gr8 tips.