New to the Workplace: Helping Men with the Working Wardrobe Staple – Finding Quality in the Dress Shirt

by Rachel Yeomans | February 2nd, 2010   

By Sharalyn Hartwell

Even though most offices operate under a business casual dress code these days, it is still imperative for every young professional to build a strong working wardrobe. This can seem a daunting task, particularly for the young male.

The typical college guy’s wardrobe full of jeans, graphic t-shirts and Chuck Taylors isn’t going to work in most professional settings. But one thing works in all business settings: The basic dress shirt.

Affordable Quality

A basic dress shirt can be found virtually anywhere. But, you don’t want just a basic dress shirt, you want a quality dress shirt. Believe it or not, quality doesn’t always have to come at a high price.

So many guys think the only way to get something nice is to go to a high end retail store like Nordstrom. Nordstrom is great, but if you’re just starting out, you might only be able to afford a shirt or two, when in reality you might need four or five. So, some will try to get dress shirts at a lower end department. That works only if you put in the effort to really care for those shirts, otherwise the wear shows far too quickly (and really, what guy wants to meticulously care for his dress shirts?).

Instead, shop a little smarter.

Josepeh Abboud is one the best brands in men’s dress shirts. It’s a brand staple you’ll find at Nordstom, but one you’ll also find a The Men’s Wearhouse, and they are frequently on special at The Men’s Wearhouse. Not only that, if you watch carefully, you can find Joseph Abboud shirts at discount houses like TJ Maxx and Ross for about a third of the regular price.

JosephAbboud New to the Workplace: Helping Men with the Working Wardrobe Staple   Finding Quality in the Dress Shirt

Features of a Quality Dress Shirt

What makes Joseph Abboud dress shirts so great? The fabric. The fabric is simply amazing, the finish is impeccable and they look good on every man, regardless of size (trust me). But, the Gen Y guy especially will love that they are non-iron. They come out of the dryer ready to wear (which will save you money at the dry cleaners and hassle with the iron).

Quality Fit

Finding dress clothes is always a challenge for the guy who regularly puts in his time at the gym. A standard dress shirt that fits around the neck will be more than ample around his trim waistline. Joseph Abboud fitted styles are trim in the right places and will be much more comfortable (and flattering) for the average guy.

Quality Versatility

Of course the dress shirt is universally meant to be worn with a tie, under a suit. But a quality dress shirt looks great worn alone, without the tie and the top button left undone. And, if you steer away from a basic solid color, to one with a pattern or a French cuff, you might even be able to pull it off with jeans for an evening out.

dressshirtcolors New to the Workplace: Helping Men with the Working Wardrobe Staple   Finding Quality in the Dress Shirt

Quality Colors

As you’re building your wardrobe, invest first in some basic colors–white, ecru (guy translation: an off-white/beige color), a light blue and a pastel (pink or purple, yes, real men wear pink and purple dress shirts). As you build your working wardrobe, you’ll want to incorporate darks (blacks, burgundy, grays) and patterns (start with stripes, then go from there). .

The bottom line is it doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Enroll in the free rewards programs and incentives stores offer. Those programs will always help you save money and keep informed about upcoming specials.

Quality at an affordable price can certainly be found with a little effort.

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For as long as she can remember, Sharalyn Hartwell has loved clothes and has loved to write. Writing Gen Y fashion tips for TheWorkingWardrobe provides the ideal outlet to combine her two distinct passions. As the National Generation Y columnist for the online newspaper,, Sharalyn makes it a point to keep her finger on the pulse of all things Gen Y. And, as a self-proclaimed fashionista, she makes it a point to keep her finger on the pulse of the fashion world. Talking about either one most generally gets her pulse racing! Typically heralded by all her friends as the best shopping partner ever (or worst, depending on how much buyer’s remorse they feel after purchasing all the treasures she finds them that they look so fabulous wearing), Sharalyn is a big bargain hunter. Her latest brag? A dupioni silk dress originally tagged $375. Sharalyn scooped that beauty up for $15. You can read more about of Sharalyn’s thoughts on Gen Y and fashion on the and Oh yeah, and she hearts shoes. A lot.