Designer dress shirts are a smart investment because of the high-quality materials and special attention to details that go into their manufacture. Most are timeless styles that transcend fashion trends and prove reliable quality and wearability season after season. Accentuate nice, well-cut suits with a few carefully-chosen men's designer dress shirts for a bespoke look.
Basics of Men's Designer Dress Shirts
Men's designer shirts significantly improve the look of just about any suit. They are typically available in solids or colors, patterns or stripes and fabricated from textiles like cotton, cotton blends, linens and twills. However, most of these shirts are made from cotton because it is cool and comfortable feeling against the skin and an easy-to care-for textile.
While dress shirts are available in just about any color of the rainbow, most men gravitate to a white or blue shirt for business attire and vary the look with an occasional pop of color like pink or yellow. The button-down collar is a perennial favorite with most, but spread and wide collars are becoming more popular with the more fashion-forward executive.
Moderately Priced Dress Shirts for Men
Just because a garment is a "designer" fashion doesn't mean it has to be expensive. Some designers that offer moderately priced men's designer dress shirts are:
- Ralph Lauren: The average price for Ralph Lauren dress shirts are between $50 and $100, but you can also find them on sale at most major department stores nationwide. The Ralph Lauren brand is considered to be one of the more fashion forward choices in a medium priced men's shirt.
- Tommy Hilfiger: These shirts are also moderately priced at around $50. They are widely available at major department stores such as Macy's and discount stores like TJ Maxx.
- Calvin Klein: These dress shirts are a little more expensive than the Hilfiger and Lauren but still moderately priced starting around $65 to $80. Expect to find them at major department stores and discount chains for significantly less on special promotions and offers.
- Perry Ellis: These shirts are very moderately priced (around $30 to $60 a shirt) and a good choice for the economy-minded shopper.
Higher Priced Dress Shirts for Men
Here is a quick list of designers that offer higher priced dress shirts:
- Hugo Boss: A typical Boss dress shirt runs around $70 to 125. Various shirts in his collection can cost upwards of $150, depending on where you shop. Macy's carries a nice selection at price points around $115.
- Giorgio Armani: If you are looking for an Armani dress shirt, go for the Armani Exchange brand if you are looking to save a few bucks at around $100 per dress shirt. The Emporio Armani brand dress shirts generally retail for about $300 a shirt, but drop down from $135 to $200 a shirt when they are on sale. You can purchase Armani dress shirts online from Raffaello Network.
- Gianni Versace: Retail price for a Versace dress shirt is between $250 to $425, and you can shop for them online at Neiman Marcus.
- Dolce & Gabbana: D&G dress shirts are among the most expensive, retailing for around $425 per shirt. You can, however find them online for less (price points from $116 to $176) at websites like Overstock and Bluefly.
- Prada: These designer shirts retail at around $300 to $400, but you can find them at deep discounts (around $264 and up) from websites like Bluefly as well.
- Burberry: Shirts from Burberry start at about $195 and top out at around $350 according to a quick live chat with a customer service representative.
- Ermenegildo Zegna: Browse through the selection at the Zegna Online store and you'll find a wide range of bespoke men's dress shirts at price points ranging from $195 to $745 and sizes from S (14 ½ to 15) to XXXL (19 to 19 ½).
Hugo Boss and Dolce & Gabbana are both excellent choices for those who are looking for a classic, traditionally styled men's shirt.
Choosing the Perfect Designer Dress Shirt
Given the expense of the dress shirt, it is important that you take your time in order to choose the perfect dress shirt that fits your body and your personal style. Below, you will find the major points to keep in mind before making your purchase.
The Proper Neck Size
If you don't know your neck size, get it measured. You want your shirt to fit your neck properly, meaning that it is snug enough to look neat and professional without the shirt looking as though it is choking you. Generally, "ready-to-wear" shirts (the ones you buy right off the rack) range in neck sizes from 14½ to 22 inches. If you can fit two fingers comfortably between your shirt collar and your neck, the fit is right.
The Proper Sleeve Length
Again, if you don't know the length of your sleeve, get it measured. The cuff of the sleeve should hit a little below the wrist and should stick out no more than about ¼ of an inch further than the sleeve of your suit coat. Dress shirts that hit further or shorter, look not only ill fitting, but sloppy.
The Proper Cut
Choosing the right dress shirt is more than just getting the right neck and sleeve size. There are a few different cuts and styles of dress shirts for men to help fit different body types.
- Regular: Dress shirts cut in this style are the same width from the armpit seam down. Choose a regular cut if your body type is not quite fit, but not quite flabby either, then take it to a tailor to have it fitted to your body.
- Athletic: This cut is wider at the armpit seam and gently tapers all the way down to the bottom or "tail" of the shirt. If your shoulders are much broader than your waist, you want this cut. You don't have to have broad shoulders and a narrow waist to buy an athletic cut shirt; it is actually one of the most universally flattering cuts for all men's body types.
Get it Tailored
A final tip when purchasing your designer dress shirt is to get it tailored. Spending a few dollars to get a $40 dress shirt tailored will make it look like you spend hundreds of dollars on it. Shirts that are more fitted through the torso look better when one has to take off his suit coat, and they tend to stay tucked into the trousers better. Finally, because there is not as much excess fabric to deal with, the shirts feel better. When your clothes fit well, you look better and perform at a higher level.