As much as a staple if not more than the navy suit is the white shirt.

This is quite simply the most flattering colour a man can wear. It is the best way to throw a contrast against your dark suits in order to liven up your ties.

The right white shirt is perfect for any occasion, business meeting wedding, lunch, dinner, party, nightclub, or your partner wearing when they stay over and have nothing clean to wear!


The quintessential white shirt must have the following.

French Cuffs, formal enough for any event, but look fantastic rolled up to the the elbow and worn with denim or chinos. Button cuffs just don’t quite have the level of class of a french cuff shirt

Semi cutaway or classic collar shape.


This is not to say any of the other collars are “wrong” but for the “essential white shirt” they lack the versatility. You want to be able to wear both skinny and thick ties as well if the occasion demands a bow tie, but also go sans tie when desired. As the cutaway needs a tie, the buttondown and long points are best with no tie or a skinny tie, and hen the two button stand goes in and out of vogue, you are left with the two from the classic collar selections.

Plain or subtle textured fabric

This is simply to enable the most use.I find that the following cloths are the most versatile and comfortable, but others may add poplins to the mix as well.

white herringbone

Classic white herringbone weave

white oxford

Timeless white oxford

white twill

The classic white twill weave

All of these are suitable for any occasion and also wear very well in heat and cold. they also resist creasing, which is the reason I have excluded poplins and sea island cottons as the tend to crease far quicker although others swear by them. I also tend to find the slightly textured fabrics a little softer to look at and also wear. they tend to work better for corporate wear, whereas the poplins are fantastic for casual purposes, and do tolerate a tie

In reality you will need more than one white shirt if you are building a great wardrobe, in fact if you are like me you will have one for every day of the week including the weekend, but that is beside the point. The first white shirt, or maybe put better, the shirt you should own of you could own no other should be as discussed above. It will compliment all your suits, show off all the character of all of your ties, go with all of you trousers, allows you to accessorize with some cufflinks.

If you need more evidence google “James Bond suit” images and just look how often he is in a white shirt.

It is the quintessential wardrobe piece.


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About themaninasuit

I have been involved in the menswear business since university in1997. Have gradually fallen in love with men's suiting and more recently tailor made garments. I am perpetually asked for style advise and things to wear so decided to get some of my thoughts and passions out and about

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