We heart a stylish staple. As the base of almost every outfit for men, the shirt is essential in every closet. No matter what you do or where you are, there’s a shirt that’s just right for you and what you’re about to do. But how do you choose the right shirt or even keep track of all the different shirt styles?
Though our ultimate guide of men’s shirt styles, of course. We’ve compiled a handy of all the different types of shirts for men, sorted by casual, smart casual, and formal. Choosing the right shirt for the occasion and your personality just got so much easier.
Types of Casual Shirts
We define men’s casual shirts as one you’d wear to any non-formal or non-work occasion. What kind of shirt you want to wear also depends on your personality, your style, the occasion, and more. There are different types of shirts that are ideal for casual use.
The casual basic: T-shirts
PC: The Collective Website, Brand: Karl Lagerfeld
Made of cotton and viscose, T-shirts are one of the most basic building blocks of a stylish wardrobe. They are extremely versatile and are available in a large range of styles. Usually differentiated by the neck, T-shirts can be crew (with a round neckline), the eponymous v-neck, with buttons, and more.
Available with long and short sleeves, T-shirts are mostly casual and can be worn on their own or with jackets, blazers, and overshirts. Finding the perfect fit is the biggest challenge for men as it can make the difference between teen oversized looks and a smart yet casual finish.
PC: The Collective Website, Brand: Polo Ralph Lauren
Made from cotton and polyester blends, Polo shirts have a stand-up collar and sometimes a few buttons at the neck. Without needing to be buttoned up, they bridge the gap between men formal shirts and sometimes too casual T-shirts. These shirts are worn as part of polo uniforms and have their origins in the sport of kings. Polos pair best with jeans and chinos.
Made of cotton and polyester blends, camp shirts are also known as Hawaiian shirts. They usually have an open collar and boxy silhouette with short sleeves. The collar is bandless and lays flat. An uber-comfortable version of the Oxford shirt, camp shirts are warm weather faves.
PC: The Collective Website, Brand: Evisu
Over time, t-shirts with graphics and words have become extremely popular, used by celebrities and fashionistas alike. For a funky edge to your casual look, choose tees with graphics that appeal to you.
Even with smart casual options like the polo, Henley and camp shirts, different patterns and designs are proliferating. Stripes, plaid, blocks of colour, graphics – all are much sought after and can make a huge difference to your overall look.
Formal Types of Shirts
For work, formal events, and those times when you want to look absolutely elegant, formal shirts are the only answer.
The Dress Shirt
PC: The Collective Website, Brand: Hugo
Perfect for suits and black-tie events, the dress shirt is typically made cut from pique (or Marcella) fabric, which stays crisp and stiff. Depending on what you choose, the shirt may have a bib with reinforced fabric or a cutaway collar, and double cuffs that need cufflinks. Dress shirts are ideally tucked in and give your appearance a stylish lift. Style experts suggest keeping accessories to a minimum and let the elegance of your outfit speak volumes.
PC: The Collective Website, Brand: Etro
The classic work shirt is ideal for the daily grind and helps you look professional while staying comfortable. Made of fabrics as varied as poplin cotton, twills, oxfords, herringbones, and even cotton, the work shirt is designed to offer a clean, no-nonsense business look.
For a smooth, formal appearance, look for breathable poplin weave in whites and pastels, choosing between a pointed or cutaway collar depending on your tie. Companies that make these shirts now offer stretchy and anti-wrinkle options as well as bright colours. While getting to zero inbox, why not experiment with different options and styles?
PC: The Collective Website, Brand: Ted Baker
Say hello to comfort at formal events with the mandarin-collar shirt. Depending on the fabric (cotton, linen, and more), it is both formal and casual. A modern style that is minimalist and yet stylish, it pairs well with chinos, slacks and even men’s fitted jeans for Friday power dressing. Add a pair of dress shoes and you’ll look like the cool CEO everyone wants to be around.
At the end though, all types of shirts have their place in your wardrobe. While our list of the types of shirts for men covered casual, smart casual, and formal, you can always experiment and try new looks. Choosing the right fit is paramount, as is picking colours that work for you. We suggest building a small base of the classics before spreading your wings. As always, we’re here to help.