Wardrobe Essentials: A solid white shirt
JOE's guide to dressing well with a few items that you can't leave out of your wardrobe no matter what the occasion.
There are few things that are going to serve you better across pretty much any situation than a solid white shirt. And we don't mean the ones you bought on the six for a tenner offer on holiday that were from a bargain bin and range in sizes from medium to XXXL.
What we mean is getting a well fitted, possibly even adjusted if you need it, white shirt that you're happy to fork some cash over on, because it's going to stay with you for a while.
This will be the shirt that you wear to job interviews for luck, the one that goes with your best (or possibly only) suit, but you can also throw with a pair of jeans for a few drinks at the pub, and you want to keep it looking crisp and clean for a long time.
With that in mind, you should look for something that’s classic and simple, so no over the top designs. That’s not to say that s bit of piping or some colour here and there are totally out the window, but it should be understated.
For example, it’s on trend at the minute to have a small lining on the inside of the buttoned placket, which if done well, will make the shirt stand out when worn with an open collar, but still work when closed with a tie. Here’s an example:
When going for fitted shirts, one good tip is to remember that they’re going to have numbers rather than sizes most of the time. Given that fits are going to differ depending on a number of factors (whether you're tall, broad, athletic, bulky, slim etc.), fit is pretty key, and will make all the difference when you slip on the shirt.
A well fitted shirt might be longer than what you usually buy, but it is designed to be worn tucked in most of the time, so don’t worry about that.
Pay particular attention to the fit at the shoulders, as well as under the arms, you don’t want it to be restrictive, but it should sit well and not be uncomfortably stretched on the yoke (the bit at the top of your shoulders).
A high quality shirt will also only have one visible row of stitches on the side, rather than two, as a lot of shirts made in bulk have since they can be made quicker and cheaper.
Make sure the cuffs don’t ride up when you fold your arms, and that it doesn’t untuck when you raise them up, and you're pretty much good to go.
You don't have to break the bank however, you can get a decent shirt for around €55 from Ganso (pictured above), a retailer from Portugal that does somewhat preppy wear, while Gagliardi also have a pretty decent number which comes in at around the same price.
or you can go higher end and get something custom made from the lads at Henry Jermyn in Dublin, or somewhere that's a happy medium like Thomas Pink which would be priced in between at around €130, like the Jude Herringbone Slim Fit Shirt.
The lads at Louis Copeland can also sort you out, with something along the lines of their tailor fit double cuff formal shirt, for around €110. Gaglia
One final thing, however, is to always remember that classic and simple will remain in style for a long time, so let the guys in the store advise you on that, as well as fit.
It can be a minefield to choose between collars, cuffs, fits and small style differences, but they're going to know better than you or us what to offer, they've seen it all before.
And lastly, always think to yourself: What Would Don Draper Wear? The answer to that question should steer you in the right direction.