Updated: Sep 2, 2022
The foundation of the well-dressed man's capsule wardrobe is a solid collection of casual shirts. When stocked properly, it enables him to transition through the seasons in style, deal with a variety of social situations and dress rules, and layer expertly.
Over time, casual shirts have advanced significantly. In their earliest versions, they can be found as far back as Ancient Egypt. Throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, they rose to prominence as the preferred undergarment of the Western upper classes. As time went on, shirts got more and more fashionable as separate clothing, and by the 20th century it was normal to wear one without a vest or jacket.
Since then, casual shirts have split into other categories. There are a tonne of options available, but are they all deserving of a spot on your shopping list? However, there are a few essential casual shirt designs that we genuinely feel every man should acquire.
A Traditional Oxford Shirt
The finest casual shirt to purchase if you can only afford one is a traditional Oxford-cloth button-down (or OCDB for short). This conventional cotton shirt, which straddles the line between smart and casual, is straightforward, classic, and suitable for any occasion. It is the supreme casual shirt, and no man worth his salt should be without one.
Choose a classic cut that is neither too narrow nor too loose, and keep the colour muted to ensure maximum adaptability. Because they provide a lovely blank canvas and are simple to dress up or down, white, pale blue, and pastel pink are some of the most preferred colours for OCDBs.
The heavy-duty plaid shirt
A thick flannel shirt is a great insulator and works well for layering when the temperature drops. The brushed cotton fabric helps to retain body heat while absorbing dye incredibly effectively for vibrant colours. In order to offer your ensembles a subtle focal point and capture the eye, flannel shirts have developed into a popular vehicle for patterns.
It should be possible to wear a decent winter flannel over a T-shirt or even a sweatshirt. The material should be thick, but not so thick and constrictive that it feels uncomfortable when worn beneath a coat or jacket. Wear it with workwear accessories like raw denim and leather boots.
Shirt with a Cuban collar
A Cuban collar shirt is the ideal summer companion when it comes to casual shirting because it is breezy and ready for fun. Spread collars, which show more of the chest than traditional collars do, and eye-catching designs are elements of the fashion. However, a simple Cuban collar shirt is also a useful item to have because it captures the same carefree attitude in a somewhat more understated way.
We believe it is preferable to avoid wearing Cuban collar shirts too tightly due to their relaxed, airy nature. Your torso will have more room to breathe when it heats up, which will improve comfort and range of motion.
Dress it up with tailored slacks and loafers or dress it down with a pair of sandals and summer shorts.
The Shirt in Linen
Smart frequently translates to "sweaty" in the heat. You must wear a shirt if you want to appear professional, but since most of them are made of quite thick cotton, it can be difficult to stay cool. A linen shirt can help in that situation. It is light, quick to dry, and great at drawing moisture from the skin. Because of this, we think every man needs one in their collection of summer shirts.
Similar to an OCDB, a linen shirt should have a slim-to-relaxed fit with shoulder seams and a hem that sits just above the hips.
To make the most of linen's cooling qualities, choose light colours, and combine it with canvas sneakers and drawstring pants for a simple summer smart-casual look.
Shirt with a band collar
A band collar shirt substitutes a straight, stand-up collar with the more typical shirts' characteristic pointed collar. This gives this type of shirt a crisp, contemporary appearance, making it a quick and simple way to add a modern spin to nearly any smart-casual ensemble.
Band collar shirts come in a wide variety of styles, but generally speaking, a classic fit is the best choice. This is the most adaptable option and compliments the majority of body types. To give oneself a more contemporary option than a traditional white OCBD, we advise choosing a simple white version.
Shirt in chambray
This lighter version of the denim shirt has all the texture and Americana appeal of its heavier cousin without any of the overheating. In warm weather, it's a terrific option because it adds a tactile touch to both casual and smart casual outfits. Because the fabric is lighter than denim, it's ideal for layering during the milder months of the year.
A nice chambray shirt will have room for a thin layer underneath and fit well in the shoulders and body. The usual colour is indigo, but lighter blue and grey tones can also be effective.
For a contemporary spin on double denim, pairing with jeans might be effective, but be careful that the colours aren't too close. In fact, light and dark ought to be sufficiently dissimilar from one another to contrast with one another.
The polo shirt
Sometimes a T-shirt looks too casual and a collared shirt is too smart. A polo shirt is your best friend for such events. This thin layer, whether it has short or long sleeves, may dress up casual attire and dress down business attire.
A polo shirt should have a sleek, comfortable fit. If it has short sleeves, the sleeves should rest a few inches above the elbow and the seams should sit on the shoulders. To fully embrace the Ivy League look, we'd advise pairing one with other preppy items like loafers, chinos, a cardigan, or a Harrington jacket.
The polo shirt made of knit
This woollen version of the traditional polo is ideal for giving outfits some substance. It looks excellent in autumnal, 1970s-inspired colours like burnt orange, mustard, and chestnut brown and is perfect for layering during the cooler months.
Despite the fact that it is a casual shirt, a knit polo looks surprisingly good with tailoring. Wear a suit with drawstring pants and an unstructured blazer in contrasting colours, or go the separates route and wear one without a dress shirt.