The key to making a standard dress shirt and tie stand out

So here we are — zooming through spring, but we are taking our wardrobe journey slow. We have covered so much ground together, but we still have much to discuss. The exciting part about today’s topic? We are discussing shirts and by the end of our discussion today you will be able to create a basic ensemble that you can show off to the public.

We talked about undershirts previously, but today we are going to focus solely on the dress shirt and its most common accessory: the tie.

If you want to look good in your dress shirt, you are going to need a dress shirt that fits right. Never underestimate the power of a well-fitting dress shirt.

What you want to look for is a shirt that is snug, but still allows fluid movement. This should be true for all aspects of the shirt, not just the sleeve length or the chest measurement. I would recommend that you use one of two methods to find the perfect-fitting dress shirt: either find a shirt with the right sleeve length for you and get the rest tailored or invest in a custom-fit dress shirt.

Once you find your perfect-fitting dress shirt, how do you wear it? First of all, I would recommend you always wear an undershirt as it will prevent sweat stains and make your shirt last longer.

Now, I want to focus our discussion on colors and patterns. White is obviously the most common dress shirt color, with blue being the second most common. Both of these colors will look good on pretty much any skin tone and complexion. The popularity of colors after this varies depending on who you ask and what looks the best for you really just depends on your skin tone. Experimenting with different colors here is also a matter of personal preference.

I would definitely begin building your wardrobe by acquiring solid color dress shirts, but once you have mastered that, patterns can also be a great way to express yourself. Stripes offer a perfect amount of flair without sacrificing your classic look. A checkered dress shirt can be an option for the right occasion, but know that this pattern makes the look a bit less formal.

My recommendation is to start with one each of the following dress shirts to create a strong foundation in your wardrobe:

  • Solid white
  • Solid white with pattern
  • Medium-light blue
  • French blue
  • Blue stripe or check
  • Solid lavender
  • Solid purple
  • Solid pink
  • Solid black
  • Tuxedo shirt


Now that you know which dress shirts you need, I want to discuss ties.


It may come as a surprise to you to know that the width of your tie matters. The best rule of thumb to follow is to match your tie width to the width of your lapels.

If you use this rule of proportion, your tie and should complete your look in the most flattering way. As for length, your tie should always hit just above the waistband of your pants; any lower or higher will make you look like a Catholic schoolboy on his first day.

In addition, the type of knot you use on your tie should match the rest of your look. A bigger knot should be used with a wider tie and a less bulky knot is ideal for a skinnier tie.

The last subject I want to discuss about ties is color. The color of your tie can help you or hurt you in your mission to build an incredible wardrobe. It is important that the color of your tie is always at least one shade darker than your shirt. Darker shades are always a great option for anyone because the tie is meant to be a focal point and a darker color will draw the eye.

Choosing your tie colors and patterns is a great way to express some personality, but if you are unsure of where to start, here’s what I recommend:

  • Sold navy tie
  • Solid red tie
  • Navy tie with another color pattern
  • Solid black satin tie or bow tie

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