The city as usual feels alive, patios are packed with tourists and working professionals on any given lunch hour downtown Toronto on a sunny day in the summertime. It is a beautiful day and I’m standing at a crosswalk in the financial district as I’m taking in my surroundings which include a sea of men waiting for the light to turn green. Now, if you work or have spent time in the King/Bay area during lunchtime, you will agree that the sidewalks are packed with people predominately men taking probably a much needed break and enjoying the summer air. So of course, I can’t help but check out what all the gents are wearing. I realize that basically the majority of men are wearing blue dress shirts in either a check or solid color. At my particular location where I was standing, I counted 10 men alone wearing blue shirts with little to no detail and not tailored to their bodies but instead looking like a billowy blouse tucked into their pants. Once the light turned green everyone dispersed. As I kept on walking, I continued to notice that most men’s dress shirts fit into the same description in all body types. This triggered me to discuss the importance of a proper tailored shirt and to provide some helpful tips to make you stand out and add some style into your daily fashion mix.
Owning and rocking tailored shirts are no longer just reserved for the super fit Ryan Gosling’s out there. Lots of men think just because they have some extra weight in their stomachs means to buy looser and baggier shirts to camouflage their love handles and belly. Well gentlemen, you are all doing yourselves a disservice because you are only making yourselves look extremely dumpy. Most brands provide an array of “fit selections” at all price points.
There was once a time when only the wealthy could afford to enjoy the perks of having custom fitted shirts made to be tailored to their physique. Brands finally realized that there is an untapped market such as Mexx, Banana Republic, Zara to just name a few that have obviously noticed men are becoming more interested and educated on dressing for their body type. The days of purchasing only small,
medium and large are over. Here are a few easy tips to educate the simplest of men on choosing the correct fit and style.
1) Know your neck and arm measurements!! This will prevent you looking like you are being choked to death and resembling the “Incredible Hulk” after he has transitioned and left with nothing but shreds of his once intact dress shirt.
2) Make sure the length of your sleeves are not too short as they should reach just past your wrists when unbuttoned.
3) Every brand will have their spin on a certain fit, so go into the clothing store and ask to try on a “slim fit” shirt that they offer and go from there. For the guys out there that hate trying on clothes, just trust me and save yourself the headache later and try it on! That way moving forward, once you figure out your fit for that particular brand, you can pretty much grab and buy without trying on in the future.
4) “Which collar should I choose?” – I know it can get confusing; there will always be multiple collar choices so if you can’t make a decision, a semispread collar will go with anything. However, my personal favorite is the classic “button down” as it never goes out of style!
5) You should be able to easily stick one finger between your neck and collar.
6) Implement some color into your wardrobe. Yes, white is always classic and chic but throw in some prints. You can’t get enough gingham and inject some color into your check patterns other than the traditional blue and white. Since fall will be approaching before you know it, the color trends for fall that you should be injecting into your wardrobe are jewel tones i.e. pine green, mustard, plum, reds etc.
7) Look for details that add some fashion flare, whether it is contrasting patterns on the inside of the collar and cuffs so that your shirts can be converted from business professional to stylish and more casual. This is achieved by just unbuttoning your collar and rolling back your sleeves so everyone can see the contrasting prints. If you are tired of blending in with everyone else, look for shirts that showcase something a little different compared to your existing shirt collection, whether it is a double collar or contrasting colored buttons.
8) Hem length matters! There are dress shirts that are meant to be tucked in for suits and then there are dress shirts that are meant to be untucked. In order to not confuse the two, if you want to go for a more relaxed look by untucking your dress shirt ensure that the length isn’t too long. You should not look like you are wearing a ladies tunic! The length of your shirt should hit mid zipper and expose some of your pant pockets. Dress shirts that have an uneven hem or varies in length is meant to be tucked
into your dress pants.
9) A little ironing won’t kill anyone! Unless you have your shirt still in the plastic from the dry cleaner’s, it is time to get back to the basics and brush up on your ironing skills. Personally, I don’t care how casual of an event it is, wrinkles are never a good idea.
So in case you are unsure in which category you fall into, a good test to follow is to take a long look at your friends and work colleagues and see if you stand out against the rest or are you part of the blue brigade!!