“Clothes make the man”, and wearing the right work shirts can make you look sharp and professional.
With so many cuts and styles to choose from, how do men select business shirts that fit well? Are there certain shirt details to look out for when shopping for their work wear?
We checked with five men in Singapore to uncover their tried-and-tested tips which they rely on when choosing shirts for work. Read on to find out!
How should a man’s business shirt fit?
First, understand that the men’s shirt size chart indicates the measurements around the neck, or the sleeve length. For example, a shirt tagged “16½ 33/34” would mean the man wears a 16 ½-inch neck size and a 33- or 34-inch sleeve length.
The best way to ensure a good fit for your body type is to try on that shirt before buying.
That’s how slim and lanky, Nic T, feels about getting the best bet when figuring out if the shirt fits or not. He shares, “I still prefer shopping offline at stores than online. It’s the only way to ensure a perfect fit. When I find my go-to stores that fit my body type I’ll strictly only go back to those. I guess the fail-safe way is to get it tailored.”
Button up the collar and it should comfortably fit 1 finger (max. 2 fingers) inside without constricting your neck movement. The fit should be snug and not roomy.
The shoulder seam should sit nicely on your shoulders where they start sloping down to the arms. If the seams sit after the shoulders and at the arm, the shirt is too big.
A well-fitting shirt allows ease of movement, without tightness around the chest, across your back or armpits. For men who prefer slim cut shirts, the chest area should feel snug instead of tight.
Lawrens T, who pays special attention to how shirts fit on his shoulders and chest, quips, “A well-fitted business shirt will emphasise the positives of my physique without drawing unnecessary attention to my negatives (well, which is my belly). The shirt should outline the body, at least offering a flattering figure. I would emphasise on the shoulder and the chest part when choosing.”
Shirt sleeves should neither be baggy, or tight like those of a muscle tee. The sleeves should allow freedom of movement and not make you feel restricted.
This is a common question: where should the sleeves and cuffs end? Wear the shirt and check that the sleeve or cuff should end right at the bend of your wrist. Next, try bending your arms – the cuffs should not move more than an inch up your wrist. If it does, it’s probably too tight.
Regardless of body shape and size, the body of the shirt should fit closely around your torso. For larger men, avoid a billowy shirt as that makes one look sloppy.
Should I tuck in that work shirt?
When shopping for men’s shirts, you will notice that there are varying lengths of bottom hems and sleeves. Typically, long-sleeved shirts have longer bottom hems; likewise, for short-sleeved shirts.
To Roger G, who usually dons tucked out short-sleeved shirts for work, his preferred shirt style is “abit loose, cotton and white colour.”
The longer bottom hemmed shirts – which usually end at the bottom or past the crotch – are meant to be tucked in for that smart and neat look. The shorter ones should end at mid-crotch area, and are tucked out for a smart casual vibe, or for dressed-down Fridays if your workplace allows.
Consider comfortable and low maintenance fabrics
With shirt sizes and fit sorted out, let’s get to the materials.
For hot and humid Singapore, look out for business shirts made of lightweight, breathable materials like cotton. With a spritz of deodorant, one can avoid perspiration stains when rushing around for meetings.
- Cotton Linen fabric
Cotton linen fabrics are well-loved for their comfortably soft yet breathable factor.
- 100% Cotton fabric
100% cotton shirts are hypoallergenic and are great for those with sensitive skin. The strong cotton fibres help maintain shape with regular washing, and, are resistant to heat so they keep well with ironing.
Save time on ironing and look presentable all day – pick shirts made of wrinkle-resistant materials for a fuss-free outfit!
How to care for men’s shirts so they last longer
Did you know that with proper washing and care, you can stretch the lifespan of your shirts?
Here’s what Lucas H has to share when washing those business shirts,” Always wash inside out. For white shirts, you can add baking soda during your wash to (enhance their whiteness). For coloured shirts, you can use colour care detergent to prevent colour from fading.”
With coloured shirts or shirts with prints, it is good practice to wash them separately to avoid colour runs. Using a gentle laundry detergent helps to protect the fabrics too.
For shirts with handsewn details, it might be wiser to gently handwash them instead of using the washing machine, advises Lawrens T.
Nic T shares a practical tip, “Have an adequate rotation of shirts so you don’t have to launder the same shirt too often. And maybe try not to make big overt movements because if it’s snug you might tear something.”
Indeed, allow your shirts some “time off” in between wears to keep the ‘wash, dry, iron, wear’ cycle on a comfortable frequency.
Some men prefer tailored business clothes, like tall and beefy Ron K who shared, “I only tailor my shirts, suits and pants when I go to Bangkok.”
For affordable men shirts in Singapore, visit myCK stores which retail pocket-friendly men clothing including leather shoes and loafers at selected outlets. Take your pick from formal long-sleeved shirts, short sleeved smart casual shirts, printed work shirts and coloured business shirts. Prices start from $17.90 – who says looking work-ready means busting that budget?