Dress Shirts That Suit The Occasion

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What exactly is the difference between Cocktail Attire, Black Tie Optional and Business Casual Attire? And when do you wear a dress shirt? There are many different dress codes for social parties and all of them call for different types of shirts. Since one should always look his absolute best, we suggest you wear a dress shirt for all of these occasions, yes even for Casual Attire. You'll just have to learn the right way to wear it. Here is a list of possible dress codes one would see on a party invitation. Dress Shirts: Shop Online.

White Tie

This is the most formal dress code for men where a tuxedo and white bowtie is a must. It is typically reserved for occasions such as Ballets, Balls, Operas, and Royal Events. The dress shirt worn for such an occasion must be white and sometimes pleated. The fabric for these dress shirts have more starch, making them more stiff than usual. Rather than typical buttons, the dress shirt is held together by shirt studs. The collar of the dress shirt is 'winged' and the cuffs are 'frenched' with cuff links that match the studs.

Black Tie or Formal Attire

Black Tie or Formal Attire is a less strict version of White Tie, but the tux is still required. The fabric of the dress shirt for this occasion can be cotton, linen, or silk, and usually pleated in the front. One can either stick with the winged collar or opt for a long point collar. If you go with the winged collar, you should have the single cuff and if you choose the long point collar, you should have French Cuffs with double buttons. Shirt studs can also be replaced by buttons, but the buttons should be covered by the placket.

Black Tie Optional or Black Tie Invited

Black Tie Optional or Black Tie Invited is basically a nicer way of saying you don't have to wear a tux if you don't have one but it'll be best if you do. But if you do decide to take "optional" seriously, a dark suit is acceptable, in which case a white dress shirt with French Cuffs would still be your preferred option. Here the button down collar is still much too informal. We recommend that you follow Black Tie dress code, better safe than sorry.

Business Formal

This is the most traditional attire for the business world. One should wear dark business suits, dress shirts, and silk ties. The dress shirts should be white with French Cuffs and cuff links. Some believe that French Cuffs are too formal when worn outside a wedding, but it really depends on the individual as well as the specific corporate culture. Still stay away from those button down collars.

Informal or Semi-Formal or After Five

Informal is not the same as Casual. It is actually a less formal version of Semi-Formal. For these, a dark suit is still required. You can add your own unique touch by experimenting with lighter color fabrics, striped fabrics, and even the cuffs of your dress shirt. You should probably stay with more conservative colors for Semi-Formal, but Informal will allow you to flaunt that purple striped dress shirt. After Five follows the same etiquette as Semi-Formal.

Cocktail Attire

The typical dress code for Cocktail Attire is also dark suit, dress shirt, and tie. However, it really depends on who the crowd is. If you are going to a business related party, a tie is recommended. But if you are with your friends, then the tie is optional. The shirt should be tucked in, but it doesn't really have to stay that way, especially after a few drinks. For a more trendy evening wear, you can experiment with darker colored dress shirts and ditch the French Cuffs. If you want to look like you're part of Brad Pitt's Gang, you can also opt to leave your top buttons unbuttoned.

Festive Attire

This type of dress code is typically used around the holidays. It basically means to add some festive colors to your attire, mainly your dress shirt or tie. This is a great time for you to add brown, green, or burgundy dress shirts to your wardrobe. We're talking about stripes, checks, and anything festive that you can find. Festive can also be achieved by having contrast fabrics for the various parts of the dress shirt.

Dressy Casual or Business Casual

A suit is not required for these dress codes, but a sports coat would be nice. Dress pants, khakis, and corduroys all work here. Any collared shirt would work as well, but a dress shirt is the preferred choice. This is a great time to wear your darker and patterned dress shirts. You don't have to tuck in your shirt but if you are wearing dress pants, it'll be best if you do. Depending on the crowd and atmosphere, you might want to leave your top buttons unbuttoned.

Casual Attire

Anything goes for Casual Attire. T-shirts, tank tops, sandals, clogs, jeans, and even men's capris will work here. But if you want to look slightly better than everyone else in the room, go with an untucked linen dress shirt over a pair of trousers or jeans, with just the top two or three buttons opened. You'll look kempt without looking as if you tried too hard with this lighter fabric. This is also the perfect chance for you to experiment with those bright colored, patterned, or floral dress shirts that your boss told you to leave at home.