As I get older I find my collection of shirts burgeoning more than any other item of clothing. With the weather being reliably lousy in Ireland, the window for t-shirts and polo shirt is depressingly narrow, so shirts are the go-to item between October and April for casual wear and socialising.
It’s not as easy as it sounds though. Throw on any old shirt over a pair of denims or chinos and you are set to go? Not really.
I remember being out for dinner and a large table was reserved beside us. The group of people duly trooped in half an hour later. The women were stylishly turned out and obviously had made a massive effort to look great. The guys were in that forty-something male uniform of jeans and the light blue shirt. Every single one of them. They didn’t look badly attired as such, but they just all looked middle-aged and identical. A few had the shirt rammed into denim that had possible been a neat fit at 32 (not inches), but was obviously feeling the strain now a few years down the tracks. You see stuff like that and you just have to write a blog! We can do better than this guys! Come on!
You need to choose a shirt that fits well. That is foremost in all clothing calls, but is vital in a shirt. An ill-fitting shirt will subdue your good points and accentuate your bad. It just will not do you justice. Collar and chest are simple enough to get right. Below the sternum is where it gets complex. Regular fit or a tailored cut (generally slightly slimmer cut at chest and shoulders so it looks better tucked into trousers) for bulky builds otherwise slim fit or tailored will emphasise the chest and shoulders. In a patterned shirt a bigger prints suits the bigger man and smaller print or design will benefit the smaller-framed man. Despite all these tips, you will need to try the thing on to see if it suits you.
To tuck in or not to tuck in? That is the question.
I don’t leave my shirts hanging out over my trousers. I just think it looks untidy and fills my head with images of Ibiza Uncovered from the 90s. It is not a classy look when in you mid-thirties, forties, fifties. So, obviously I am not a fan of shirts hanging out at my age, but if you insist, then the shirt should not have the tails or curved hem as this means it has been meticulously designed by somebody like Paul Smith or Oliver Spencer to be tucked in and we don’t know better than these masters of shirt-making!
Another potential sinner on the shirt front can be the checked shirt. If you are looking for a friend in a crowded bar who is wearing a check shirt then good luck. You will be looking for a while. The checked shirt has been everywhere for a while now. If something is everywhere all of the time, then it’s time to drop it, unless it looks and feels really good. I feel it’s one of the least attractive shirts out there and looks undressed for nights out in particular. Don’t get me wrong, there are a million great shots on instagram of guys looking great in them, but these are meticulously styled and it’s not a look I go for. It needs to be worn in a certain way to look great. More often than not, it isn’t worn that way. Maybe leave check or plaid for a blazer or overcoat instead?
There are a multitude of shirts out there for us. From denim to grandad shirt and from patterned to gingham. I will try and break them down a bit in the next couple of blogs.
Thanks for reading