Tips from the Tailor

Tips from the Tailor: Fundamentals of a Quality Dress Shirt

Dress Shirts 101

We know school just got out for the summer, but hold on to your learning caps for just a bit longer as we share with you about the fundamentals of a quality dress shirt. Despite what some may think, not all dress shirts are created equal. Here are 4 key things to look for before deciding on your next shirt…

#1 – Shirt Classification
With dress shirts, you’ll find everything out there from Easy Care to Wrinkle-Free to Non Iron, but what are the true differences between these classifications? Here’s a quick reference scale from Worst to First.

  • Easy Care: This tends to be a poly/cotton blend that will allow the shirt to be washed, but it will definitely need to be ironed after washing and drying; these also tend not to be as durable or last as long as 100% Cotton shirts.
  • Wrinkle Resistant: This rating is not much better than Easy Care, but tends to be 100% Cotton.
  • Wrinkle-Free: This classification is most always a 100% Cotton shirt that has been treated to prevent wrinkles from forming. These dress shirts wash and dry very nicely saving you on dry cleaning; although, you may need a little touch up with an iron to get it looking crisp.
  • Non-Iron: This is by far the best classification for a dress shirt. These shirts are required to have all seams double taped and sewn to prevent the puckering of the placket, collar and cuffs; therefore, they can be thrown in the washer and dryer and pulled out ready to wear.

#2 – Shrinkage
Shrinkage is another factor you don’t typically think about when buying a shirt, but by looking for one simple thing it could save you from those tight
collars. Paying attention to when the fabric is cured (Pre-cured vs. Post-cured) will make all the difference! Shirts made with Pre-cured fabric tend to shrink more due to being treated while on the bolt of cloth, before the shirt is cut. Post-cured fabric, however, is cured after the shirt is made and put on a mold which results in a dress shirt that keeps shrinkage to a minimum.

#3 – Style
Whether it is a point, spread or button down collar; barrel or french cuff… everyone has their own personal style preferences. Let’s examine which style might work best for you.

  • Collars: A button down collar is very traditional, but not as dressy as a point or spread collar. A point collar is dressy, however if you tie a full or half Windsor knot it may get a bit bulky under the collar and cause it to not lay flat. A nice moderate spread collar is the most popular today, as it will accommodate all knot types and gives ample space for a heavier woven tie.
  • Cuffs: Barrel cuffs are the standard for everyday wear, while French cuffs lend themselves to a more formal appearance. If you can find a convertible cuff that allows you the option for everyday wear or to fancy up your look with those classy cuff links, then you’ll get more use out of that shirt in your wardrobe.

#4 -Sizing
This has become more important over the last few years as we are seeing a huge trend in a well fitted dress shirt. Classic fit is still here and available, because well… its called classic for a reason. However, Tailored Fit is reigning supreme as guys are wanting a slimmer fitting shirt through the sides and armholes of the shirt. Note: Not Slim Fit as it is too slim and often pulls at the buttons, leaving guys feeling uncomfortable and stuffy. Tailored fit is the perfect in between that offers a slightly higher armhole with a tapered body for that perfect fit and comfortable feel. 

Cooper and Stewart Dress Shirts
We took these 4 S’s into consideration when choosing our newest shirt line Cooper & Stewart. They boast all of the qualities you’re looking for in that perfect dress shirt – 100% Cotton, Non-Iron, Post-Cured, Moderate Spread Collar with a Convertible Cuff for all occasions. Most of our Cooper & Stewart shirts are available in classic or tailored fits.

Ok, now its time for your pop quiz… just kidding! We hope you’ve walked away with some great new tips that will help you the next time you’re looking for a dress shirt to add to your wardrobe.



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