By Timothy Broderick
Most men understand that, during a first encounter, they are sized up quickly by others based on their physical appearance. Thus it is to their advantage to come across and professionally dressed. But what constitutes acceptable and what does it mean to dress professionally? Once upon a time a man was taught this lesson by his father and the men he grew up around; unfortunately the generation since Woodstock has had to find this information on their own. Understanding business attire and what is professional appearance can start in many places – today we’ll begin with the man’s dress shirt.
Colors & Patterns for the Working Man’s Dress Shirt
Men’s dress shirts are available in a wide range of colors and patterns; however the smart businessman will limit himself to the tried and true colors that embody professionalism while giving him room to display individualism. In addition, the observant businessman always pays attention to his surrounding and the unspoken dress code he finds himself a part of. A conservative Law Firm in Washington DC is going to have different allowances than that search engine company in Mountain View California.
Solid colored dress shirts, especially white and blue, are the bedrock of the businessman’s clothing. He needs to have several of these and always an extra one at the office in case of an accident. The solid white has a deep history; in summary the man who wore white did more work with his mind than hands, thus he could wear this color without soiling it. Great business colors, in no particular order, are light blue, light pink, gold, off-white, french blue, lavender, and just about any of these woven into an oxford. One quick tip – if you drink a lot of coffee or smoke and do not bleach your teeth, consider off-white instead of brilliant white. Nothing will highlight a yellow smile like a white collar.
|Jon Hamm as Don Draper in a solid white dress shirt|
The more design that sits atop a dress shirt, the less dressy it is. More casual than a solid white or blue, a striped dress shirt will fit well in almost every workplace in North America and the world. It conveys a sense of business (hence why the New York Yankee wear them), and the thinner the stripe usually the more formal the shirt. Be sure to ensure that the stripe patterns are a different size than any other patterns there may be on the tie or suit though.
|Omar Epps as Dr. Eric Foreman in a striped dress shirt|
A check shirt is the most casual pattern of the three, and is an excellent choice on the weekend or when a man is looking to create a relaxed appearance. It matches naturally with the button down collar, and looks best on men with a thin or athletic build. Large men should avoid this pattern as it does exaggerate their width and weight.
|Ed Helms as Andy Bernard, almost constantly in a checked shirt|
The Beginning of a Solid Business Wardrobe
|David McCallum as Dr. Donald Mallard
Tim Broderick is working with A Tailored Suit to help men dress with real, permanent style and fashion. He assists clients with presenting the image of the man they want to project. Do you know how hard it is to find clothes off the rack that both fit well and look good on you? Tim helps men purchase custom menswear while guiding them toward clothes that will make them look better than the men around them and giving the man confidence in his personal style.