Men’s Shirt Buying Guide

The right shirt can give a man confidence and help him to express his personal sense of style. This men’s shirt buying guide outlines the options and offers helpful shopping and care tips.

Men’s Shirts 101

Whether dressing for a big presentation at the office, a day of physical work or a summer trip to the cottage, a man wants his shirt to be functional, feel comfortable and look stylish. At the office, there's no substitute for a crisp dress shirt, but once the whistle blows the options expand dramatically. Depending on circumstances, a basic t-shirt or more casual muscle shirt will pair well with jeans or shorts; a polo shirt goes great with khakis; and a button casual shirt can work with almost anything. Men's shirts are available in a wide range of colours and patterns to suit different personal tastes. Look for breathable materials that include cotton: they help the wearer stay cool and relaxed all day.

Types of Men’s Shirts


Men’s T-Shirts

T-shirts are twice as useful as any other shirt in a man’s wardrobe. The original purpose of a t-shirt was to provide a buffer between the skin and another garment, such as a dress shirt, pullover or sweater, and it’s still the best option for that duty. But a plain t-shirt also looks great with most casual outfits. A plain v-neck or crew neck t-shirt works well with a casual sport coat or vest, or simply by itself and a pair of jeans or slacks. And because men’s tees are so affordable, you can wear them while doing messy work, like painting and yard work.

Men’s Casual Shirts

From casual button-ups and short sleeves to tanks and muscle shirts, there’s no shortage of casual shirt options for men. Button-ups offer a great opportunity to break out of the solid colour mode of dress shirts, with many striking patterns and designs to choose from. Tank tops and muscle shirts are all about comfort and freedom of movement. When purchasing a casual shirt look for a looser fit — it makes for a more laidback look and allows room to move during physical activity. Consider the season as well: lighter colours and materials like polyester promote coolness in the summer. For the cold months, a heavier button-up made from wool or thick cotton will be warm and stylish.

Men’s Dress Shirts

A well-fitted dress shirt is the first step to a great first impression, whether at the office or at formal events like wedding and dinners. Getting the right size and cut can be a challenge, but there are some easy rules of thumb to follow. The shirt should comfortably hug the torso; you should be able to comfortably fit one finger between the neck and collar; and unbuttoned cuffs should hang just past the wrists. Solid colours are most popular for the office, but a patterned dress shirt with a complementary tie can also add flair to office attire.

Men’s Golf and Polo Shirts

Golf and polo shirts are men's fashion classics, perfect for networking on the golf course or a relaxed night with friends. They’re at once everyday casual and business casual, and look equally good unbuttoned with jeans and sneakers or buttoned up with a jacket and chinos. Men’s golf and polo shirts are best in solid colours or tight stripes that look classy and stylish without being too busy or showy. Navy, white and black are traditional colours for these shirts, but bright colours like yellows and pinks can make an outfit stand out. Look for breathable fabrics to promote coolness, especially for golf in the summer.

Men’s Graphic T-Shirts

Graphic t-shirts are an ideal way to express personality while going casual. Whether the image on the tee is a popular character, team logo or abstract design, the look always pairs well with casual lowers like jeans or shorts. But a graphic tee can also work well with a sport coat for a slightly more formal appearance. Look for cool designs that complement the whole outfit when dressing up a graphic tee. For watching the game, go for favourite team logos or colours.

Men’s Shirt Buying Tips:

• Classic white and blue dress shirts are the base of any professional wardrobe
• Balance buying classic colours and styles with fashion-forward options
• Match shirt colours to skin tone; icy colours and pastels work well for fair skin, while very dark or bright colours complement darker skin
• A crew neck t-shirt is best for wear under a shirt buttoned all the way up, while a v-neck t-shirt is best if the shirt has a button or two undone
• Shirts should match pants for fit, so choose tighter shirts to go with tighter pants and looser shirts with looser pants
• Untucked shirts should reach the waist; shirts that need tucking in should be longer so they don’t pull out during wear

Men’s Shirt Features

Materials +

A shirt’s material is key to looking great and staying comfortable. Men’s shirts come in as many materials as they do patterns and colours, so choose according to activity and season. For fun in the sun, lightweight polyester or breathable cotton will keep the body cool. Shirts made from heavier cotton or wool are better in the winter. Try to have a few casual shirts made of different materials for different times of the year to stay comfortable no matter the weather.

Buttons and Zippers +

How a shirt fastens affects both its style and function. Zippers are usually informal, so wearing a zip-up shirt is an easy way to dress down for casual occasions. Zip-up shirts are also easier to slip on and off. Dressier shirts have buttons, and formal dress shirts are typically worn with a tie and the buttons done up all the way. To achieve a relaxed but still formal look, simply undo the top few buttons. Conversely, casual slacks or jeans with a button shirt done up all the way can make for a great casual look.

Accents +

Some accents, like epaulets, add visual interest. Others, like pockets, are not only part of the style but also add functionality. Collars and cuffs must look formal for dress shirts, but they can be designed with creative flare for casual shirts. When considering a shirt’s accents, keep in mind the accents on other clothing items with which it will be paired.

Sleeves +

Dress shirts should have a full-length sleeve. The sleeves on casual shirts can be long, short or sleeveless. A short-sleeved shirt makes a casual style statement and is practical when working with your hands. Some long-sleeved shirts come with straps to keep the sleeves rolled up. Go sleeveless if keeping cool is important, for example, when working out or spending time in the hot sun.

Patterns +

Patterns are an easy way to add texture and colour to outfits. Keep in mind that a patterned shirt will serve as a visual anchor, so avoid jackets, ties or pants with competing patterns. Clashing combinations tend to make an outfit look tacky. Solid colours may rule at the office, but a patterned dress shirt can work well for casual off-site business events or office parties. Just remember to match it with a solid colour tie.

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Men’s Shirt Care Tips:

• Always follow the manufacturer's directions for care and cleaning
• Wash graphic tees in cold water and inside out to protect the graphic from fading or cracking
• Hang dress shirts on wooden or plastic hangers to prevent stretching
• Wash softer fabrics separately from rougher materials like denim to help them last longer
• High heat can damage certain fibres, especially elastic materials
• Dry clean dress shirts or hang them to dry whenever possible
• The quicker you attend to a stain, the more likely it will wash out completely, so always have a portable stain removal pen
• Wash whites separately from colours
• Place a cloth between the iron and shirts made of gentle fabrics to protect them from the heat and help them last longer
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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