Buying a formal shirt doesn't have to be a difficult task. Yes, there are several factors like fabric type, color, collar type, etc., to consider. We have researched and prepared a buying guide that talks about each one of them and more.
Popular companies like Arrow, Peter England, Raymond, and Park Avenue have thousands of formal shirt styles in their collection. Read our buying guide first, so you won't get overwhelmed while shopping. To make it even easier, we have a Top 10 list featuring the best formal shirts you can buy online in India.
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When you wear a shirt, you should feel as well as look good. There are a lot of factors to consider to strike a balance between comfort and style. Read through our buying guide to learn about fabric types, collar styles, fit, sleeve length, and more.
Clothes are made using a variety of fabrics and fabric blends. An entire article can be dedicated to that. So, we will be talking about the most popular ones used for making formal shirts.
Cotton is one of the widely used fabrics for making clothing. It is breathable and hence keeps you cool during hot weather. Since it is soft on the skin and lightweight, you can wear it all day without feeling any discomfort. Very few people are allergic to cotton since it hardly has any chemicals compared to other fabrics.
Cotton can shrink very easily after washing. That's why many people find their cotton shirts tighter after a wash. To avoid it, try air drying it. One of the downsides of cotton shirts is that it wrinkles easily, and the colors may fade quickly if you frequently stay in the sun wearing it.
Linen is expensive because it is difficult to produce and harvest. The fabric has heat and moisture-wicking properties, meaning it can absorb heat and sweat from your skin and let the air around you carry it away.
This makes linen shirts apt for summers. It is much more durable than cotton and naturally repels insects. Linen is rougher compared to cotton but will get softer after repeated wearing and washing. It is also lint-free and hypoallergenic.
Polyester is a synthetic fabric made from coal and petroleum. It dries quickly and is wrinkle-resistant. It is not breathable like cotton and linen, so try not to wear polyester shirts during summers, but a good option during winters. It is also lightweight and durable.
Unlike cotton and linen, polyester holds static electricity, which makes the cloth cling closer to our skin, making us uncomfortable. It doesn't shrink like cotton and linen and resist color fading in the sun. The fabric also resists mold growth, which can happen on any natural fabric.
A fabric blend is created by combining the yarns of different fabrics. Let's look at some features of the popular fabric blends formal shirts come in. Polyester cotton is breathable, wrinkle-resistant, doesn't hold static, doesn't fade easily, durable, and comfortable to wear. As you can see, it combines the best characteristics of both fabrics. Let's look at some more.
Linen is expensive. To enjoy its superior heat and moisture-wicking properties at an affordable cost, buy a cotton-linen shirt. It is soft like 100% cotton and strong like linen. Lycra is a synthetic fiber known for its elasticity. Cotton lycra blend makes the fabric stretchable, which makes even skin-fit shirts comfortable to wear. Hence, fabric blends are much better than normal fabrics.
You have three options when it comes to fits: classic or regular fit, slim fit, and modern or tailored fit. Classic fit is the most comfortable of all fits. The sleeves and body have plenty of fabric, giving you room to move without any restraints. The style is very old and not preferred by many in the new generation. If you have a bit of fat around your waist, wear a regular fit to hide it.
Slim fit, as the name suggests, is a body-hugging fit. If you have a fit body, wearing a slim fit shirt can make your features obvious. But if you lift your arms or turn around while sitting, your tucked-in shirt could come out pretty easily. As it doesn't give enough room for moving around, you won't feel very comfortable either.
Tailored or modern fit comes between regular fit and slim fit. You can lift your arms without worrying about pulling your shirt out as it has relaxed armholes. There is more room around the shoulder and chest areas but not as saggy as regular fit shirts.
It can get quite confusing, as a particular collar style has different names throughout the world. Find out about the most popular ones below. A straight or point collar has the collar leaves pointing downwards. There is little room between the leaves, so only a thinner tie knot suits it.
A spread collar has its leaves spreading at 45 degrees and is the most common style found in formal shirts. It can accommodate a large tie knot and can be worn with suits and semi-formal blazers. The cutaway collar has the biggest spread of all collars. You can wear it to weddings but can be a bit too much for your workplace.
A formal variation of the band collar called the mandarin collar is quite modern. It is supposed to be worn without a tie but can look appealing with a blazer. It is more of a semi-formal style that can look casual with the right trousers. Button down collar looks good under a blazer. Even though a casual style collar, you can find formal shirts with it. You can wear it if the occasion favors it.
When wearing a full sleeve shirt, your sleeve should end on your wrist bones. The sleeve cuffs should fit comfortably with a little space between them and your wrists. For half sleeve shirts, the sleeves should stay just above your elbow.
Make sure that you can fit at least two fingers between your arm and the sleeves. The part of a shirt where the buttonholes are present is called the placket. If there is no placket, it is called a french front. It gives the shirt a clean and simple look.
A front placket has a visible strip running along the center of the shirt, giving it more features and symmetry. For a simple and cleaner look, consider transparent buttons or the ones with matching colors. If you want a shirt with a bit more features and style, choose a shirt with different colored buttons.
Choose colors that will match the trousers that you already have. Solid-colored shirts will always have a special place in formal wear. It is simple and makes your attire appealing to everyone's eyes. Try to choose light-colored shirts for formal meetings, job interviews, and public speakings.
Checks and stripes are the preferred patterns on formal shirts. Different types of checks seen on formal shirts are dupplin, gingham, glen, graph, gun club, and windowpane. As for stripes, they are hairline, dress, pinstripes, candy, shadow, and bengal. Google these names because it is best to see for yourself to identify them when you are shopping.
The above patterns are printed on shirts. But when a fabric is woven in specific ways, it can create textures on shirts. You can see the texture name along with the product name or in the specifications section. Find out on Google how the following patterns look before you start shopping: poplin, oxford, royal oxford, herringbone, and more.
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Cotton Fabric Is Hypoallergenic and Keeps You Cool
Striped Slim Fit Formal Shirt
Slim Fit Elongates and Accentuates Your Body Shape
HEAVEN BLUE STRETCH SHIRT｜19BSH40622
Cotton Lycra Blend Makes the Shirt Stretchable
Linen Solid Shirt for Men
Linen Keeps You Cool and Sweat Free
Printed Slim Fit Formal Shirt
Mandarin Collar for a Clean and Minimal Look
Solid Formal Shirt
Solid White Shirt Is a Must Have in Every Man's Wardrobe
Textured Formal Shirt
Cotton Polyester Blend Is Almost Wrinkle-Free
Cotton Bana Regular Shirt
Button-Down Collar Goes Well With Blazers or Suits
Half Sleeves Formal Shirt
Wear It for a Retro Formal Look
Cotton Linen Formal Half Sleeves Shirt
Cotton Blended With Linen to Make It Affordable
Tailored fit shirts give you enough space to breathe and lift your arms comfortably without worrying about the shirt getting pulled out. This regular fit formal shirt from Arrow is made from 100% cotton, keeping you cool all day.
You can pair a tie with this shirt, as the spread collar provides enough space for large knots too. The blue color and black buttons go well with dark-colored pants, and the French front (no placket) gives the shirt a simple and elegant look.
The white buttons blend well with this patterned medium violet shirt from Park Avenue. For men who are fit and have an aesthetic body, wearing this shirt will accentuate their body features. The color looks gray from afar but the minute colored checks become visible up close.
Since it is patterned, the shirt won't go well with suits. If you want to wear a tie with this shirt, go for skinny ones as the shirt is slim fit. Make sure you pair dark-colored pants with this shirt, and you can add more style by folding up the sleeves a bit.
The fabric blend of cotton and lycra makes this shirt stretchable. Since this is a slim fit shirt, the stretch factor will provide comfortability while turning your torso or lifting your hands, meaning you won't feel the constraint normally felt while wearing slim fit shirts.
The white buttons add more style to the blue shade, and the point collar gives a classic look to the shirt, also giving space for slimmer tie knots. You can expect a business-style appearance from wearing it as it has front plackets and noticeable seams.
Raymond's contemporary fit Linen shirt has the features to keep you comfortable even in hot, stressful environments. The fabric can wick heat and sweat from your body, and the tailored fit is loose enough to give you enough room to move around without worrying about tucking in your shirt repeatedly.
Linen also has a natural pattern that gives the shirt a formal and classic style. The sleeve length is perfect, ending just above the wrists, and the beige-colored buttons go well with the red cloth. This shirt also has a rounded pocket, which is more formal than any other pocket style.
As workplace dress codes are becoming more lenient, now you can try modern formal shirt styles, like the ones with a mandarin collar, which is a formal variation of the band collar. This printed slim fit shirt has white buttons that match the dark green colored cloth.
You can pair the shirt with dark-colored pants, a brown belt, and brown shoes to complete the modern formal look. You can buy the shirt in multiple sizes, and the hypoallergenic cotton fabric will keep you cool in a hot atmosphere.
The beauty of a white shirt is, it goes well with pants, belts, and shoes of any color. MAX white formal shirt is stitched for a regular fit, giving you enough room to relax and stay comfortable. You can wear this shirt with suits and blazers too, as the cutaway collar can fit tie knots of any size.
The fabric is polyester, so you don't have to worry about wrinkles or shrinkage from washing, and the buttons and stitching are white, giving it a clean and elegant look. There are multiple size options available on the website.
Textured shirts are on a whole other level compared to printed shirts. The complex weave patterns give the shirt a premium look, and this beige formal shirt from Richard Parker is no different. The fabric is a cotton polyester blend, which leverages the best features of both fabrics.
It is breathable, lightweight, and doesn't wrinkle easily. The spread collar is a fitting style for this formal shirt, and the transparent buttons with a French front (no placket) give it a simple and elegant look. Since it is tailored fit, you will get enough room inside without a saggy look.
The button-down collar style is less formal and more casual, but we can see more of it being paired with blazers and suits. This cotton shirt from fabindia has beige-colored buttons that go well with the turquoise cloth. It also has a front placket that adds to the prominent cloth pattern, button color, and collar style.
The shirt is a regular/tailored fit, so you won't feel suffocated inside tight blazers, and the cotton fabric will keep you cool. Make sure you match the shirt with dark-colored blazers and pants for that modern formal look.
Half sleeves used to be very popular as formal wear in many parts of the world in the 50s. But it is still popular in India. The fabric of this slim fit shirt from Peter England is a cotton-polyester blend, making it almost wrinkle-free and resistant to shrinkage from washing.
You can wear this printed red shirt with pants of various colors like khaki, beige, and other lighter shades of brown. You can wear it inside a blazer if you want, but the point collar will only allow thinner tie knots. This Peter England shirt is available in multiple sizes on the website.
Half sleeves are inarguably more comfortable than full sleeves. The Standard's half sleeve shirt adds to that comfortability with a fabric made of cotton and linen. Since linen is expensive, this blend brings the benefits of the fabric in an affordable price range. You can enjoy the heat and moisture-wicking properties of durable linen and the soft touch of cotton on your skin.
The cutaway color adds style to the shirt, while the gray-colored buttons blend well with the cloth color. There are several size options available for you to choose from. Make sure you match this gray shirt with light-colored pants.
You don't have to sacrifice your style for comfort during winter. Our buying guides for choosing sweaters and winter jackets will help you balance comfort and style in equal proportions. Talking about jackets, every man should have a denim variety in their wardrobe for that macho casual look.
We have a buying guide for that too. Follow the links to read about the best sweaters, denim jackets, and winter jackets for men in India and shop from our Top 10 list featuring the best products in the market.
A multitude of factors should be considered if you want your formal wear to look exquisite. For formal shirts, they are fabric type, fit, color, pattern, collar style, sleeve length, placket style, etc. Put comfort before everything, so decide on the fabric type first. Then go forward to choose the fit and color depending on when and where you are planning to wear it.
Author - Arun F Xaviour
No. 1: Arrow｜Formal Shirt
No. 2: Park Avenue｜Striped Slim Fit Formal Shirt
No. 3: BASICS Life｜HEAVEN BLUE STRETCH SHIRT｜19BSH40622
No. 4: Raymond｜Linen Solid Shirt for Men
No. 5: MAX｜Printed Slim Fit Formal Shirt
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