Perhaps you’ve felt your closet is a bit out of sorts these days, what with clothes meant to be worn working from home and yet, nothing that quite works when you need to adorn a proper dress shirt and head to the office.
Sure, dress codes have changed in recent years, as has your own wardrobe, but one thing tends to hold true across the years and seasons: there will certainly come a time when you need a quality dress shirt on your back.
You might need a dress shirt for a long-planned meeting or conference, a fancy date night or one of many tailored shindigs that call for putting your best foot forward. That’s where the best dress shirts can provide a ready and able wardrobe upgrade, particularly if your closet could use a refresh.
When in doubt, it’s best to rely on classic brands that deliver reliable fits, fabrics and styles, and it’s also ideal to find a few brands with a modern, fresh vision.
Bear in mind that the best men’s dress shirts serve as an ideal business casual style pick, whether worn with a tie and blazer or sans tie. And they also serve as ready foil under a cardigan or V-neck sweater.
Find the proper fit and fabric with my picks for top dress shirts, and your wardrobe will have another handy tool for (near) perfect style from day to night.
In the pantheon of timeless American menswear brands, it’s tough to beat Brooks Brothers. The company made dress shirt styles widely available to the masses, from striped poplin shirts to utterly classic white Oxford shirts, each offered in a variety of fits.
From dressy pinpoint fabric to stretch cotton dress shirts for the modern man, Brooks Brothers has a vast array of dress shirt styles in fits that range from modern and tailored to more relaxed. They’re an investment, but one worth holding on to (and wearing) for years to come.
Price range: $100-150
You’ve tried out Bonobos’ lineup of stretch chinos and quality jeans, right? Get ready to add an arsenal of Bonobos dress shirts to your closet now, too.
The New York company has perfected the art of the hybrid buttondown, the sort of dress shirt that wears as well with chinos and a cardigan as it does with one of the company’s Italian wool suits.
The key? Stretch cotton blend fabrics, four fit options and a wide range of colors and patterns in handsome designs.
Price range: $100-150
Savile Row might draw most of the attention and hype for its meticulously crafted tailoring and famous clientele, but Jermyn Street is just as worthy of your hard-earned time and money.
And in the absence of booking a trip to London, get yourself a touch of flair and refinement with an eye-catching Hawes & Curtis shirt in the meantime.
If you’re in search of a patterned dress shirt that still boasts a flattering fit and a sense of elegance, this brand delivers. Keep your accessories and suiting neutral, and let your new favorite dress shirt do the talking.
Price range: $75-100
It seems that no matter which way you turn, J.Crew is right there in front of you with a reliable menswear staple in every possible category.
The brand might be best known these days for its breezy chambray shirts and expertly faded jeans and chinos, but don’t sleep on J.Crew’s accessibly designed dress shirts.
They’re the ideal combo with J.Crew’s famed Ludlow suit, with options designed in non-wrinkle, stretch cotton fabrics as well as fine two-ply cotton for an elegant (yet affordable) look and feel.
Get ready to dress head-to-toe in J.Crew for your next tailored affair (don’t forget the brand’s dress shoes and accessories).
Price range: $100-150
If you’re the type of stylish modern man to wear a dress shirt every day of the week (and occasionally on the weekend), you know all about the importance of stocking dress shirts you can rely on.
Reliability in the way of fit, fabric and comfort is crucial, and Charles Tyrwhitt’s dress shirts check those three boxes quite readily.
One of the biggest selling points? The ability to bundle multiple dress shirts and score a discount is crucial, but options like three fit choices, plus sleeve and neck measurements, are equally important.
Plus, it seems the refined brand has an astounding number of dress shirt options for men in terms of color, fit, fabric, collar design and more. Shop away to your heart’s content to fill out your dress shirt rotation.
Price range: $100-120
A keen eye for modern design and a sense of accessible style sits at the heart of Todd Snyder’s namesake brand – whether you’re shopping a classic T-shirt, a timeless watch or rugged jeans, Snyder’s got you covered.
That’s also the case with one of the best dress shirts, thanks to his partnership with famed shirtmaker Hamilton.
This impressive run of dress shirts is made in the USA and boasts options ranging from a crisp white seersucker dress shirt to a deep blue chambray option made to pair handsomely with a Todd Snyder suit.
Price range: $200-300
Eton’s heritage can be traced back to Sweden in the late 1920s, a sense of experience and history that makes them a wise choice for dress shirts that stand the test of time.
Eton’s dress shirts are the height of accessible luxury, boasting a range of fabrics from twill to Royal Oxford, which the company calls a “classic business shirt.”
Eton shirts boast classic collars that pair especially well with a standard (not skinny) tie for a polished, tailored pairing.
Price range: $250-300
When a brand cements itself as an expert in one category – even something as simple as dreaming up one of the best T-shirts or James Bond’s favorite polo – it’s a wise bet that the same skill set carries over into plenty of possible categories.
Take Sunspel’s legendary heritage and apply it to dress shirts. The results are simple yet subtly stylish, exceptionally well-made and well worth the investment. From corduroy shirting to lightweight poplin shirts and durable Oxford shirting, there’s an elegant Sunspel dress shirt for every guy.
Price range: $200-250
There’s no shortage of shirtmakers out there with decades (or a century-plus) of experience, but what if you’re in need of a slightly more modern outlook on dress shirting, something that works for business casual style and more?
Alex Mill features a hefty dose of J.Crew-esque style for the modern man (it was co-founded by former J.Crew head Mickey Drexler’s son Alex), and its dress shirts reflect easygoing, cool yet tailored style.
Take your pick from vibrant stripes and colors like vivid green in smooth poplin or garment-dyed Oxford, to name but a few.
Price range: $100-175
If Brooks Brothers helped pave the way for the modern American man to start wearing dress shirts, then Ralph Lauren helped take the category to new heights with a fresh take on prep that incorporated bold colors and the brand’s distinctive logo.
Easily seen on polo shirts and Oxford shirts, the brand has delivered a sense of enduring and uniquely American style, best seen in those garment-dyed Oxford shirts in sharp colors, plus lightweight shirts with modern stretch.
For business casual affairs, team an Oxford shirt with a lightweight cotton blazer or V-neck sweater.
Price range: $100-150
The core of any wardrobe is often a few simple, versatile and crisp building blocks, like the right pair of jeans, the right shirt or the right blazer.
In the case of minimalist, sustainable menswear masters ASKET, those building blocks are meant to be mixed and matched with ease, including its Portuguese-milled organic cotton Oxford shirts in a variety of colors. They offer a sense of accessible, easygoing style that teams nicely with stretch chinos or navy linen trousers.
Price range: $140-200
Decades ago, men wore some form of a dress shirt – usually starched in a crisp white color – every single day.
Dress codes might be more casual these days, but there are still plenty of classic, popular dress shirt fabrics that are worth your while to know as you build out a Monday-Friday (and beyond) wardrobe. Here are some you’re apt to encounter out there.
Oxford: Oxford fabric is one of the most widely known fabrics the world over, thanks to its double-weave design that brings two fibers together in a hearty-yet-supple shirt.
Most commonly seen in the aptly named Oxford cloth buttondown (named for its English origins), Oxford fabric makes for an ideal business casual shirt when styled in a design featuring a buttondown collar.
Twill: In the same sort of style family tree as poplin rests twill fabric. Twill fabric is more textured and thicker than poplin fabric, and interestingly enough, lots of the best men’s chino pants are made from a variation of cotton twill fabric.
Because of its thicker hand feel and texture, twill is sometimes brushed for softness before being sewn into a stylish dress shirt.
Broadcloth: The dressiest of the most common types of dress shirt fabrics might in fact be broadcloth. Broadcloth delivers a lightweight feel similar to poplin, and it also boasts a smooth weave pattern that’s far less textured than, say, an Oxford cloth shirt.
Oftentimes, the best quality dress shirts made from broadcloth fabric will offer info on a thread count (look for this from brands like Brooks Brothers).
Chambray: Chambray is, at its core, a rugged fabric often found in the best workshirts and other similar styles. But over the past decade-plus, chambray has turned into a popular dress shirt fabric, too.
Chambray dress shirts boast that same characteristic blue-meets-white, warp-and-weft texture, with a more smooth, brushed finish.
Some chambray shirts will use eye-catching details like a spread collar for a more dynamic look that can “dress down” more formal suiting (Think: A chambray dress shirt paired with a charcoal suit).
End-on-End: In a similar fashion to chambray fabric, end-on-end fabric makes use of two different types of thread woven in an interlocking pattern.
The weave delivers texture up close, yet often appears as a solid color from far away. However, end-on-end shirts aren’t as smooth and solid as broadcloth shirts, and they’re commonly found in shades of blue dress shirts.