We know this to be true: man cannot live in t-shirts alone. Whether you've got to run to the office or simply want to clean up before date-night, button front shirts are an absolute essential.
However, no amount of men's button-down shirts will be enough if they don't properly suit your own lifestyle and needs. To ensure that the next button front shirts matches you as well as it does a pair of khakis, consult our quick guide below.
Nothing will be as versatile as a white or blue button front shirt. But that's not to say that every button front shirt in your closet must skew so classic. If you don't consider at least one men's flannel shirts when buying your next rotation, you'd be doing yourself a disservice.
Consider the possibilities: a plaid shirt can be worn on the weekends, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, with a pair of jeans and flip-flops. Yet it can also be incorporated into a suited look, so long as the suits and tie remain solid. And then, there's the go-between: simply wear a bold plaid shirt with a pair of men's gray chinos to brighten up even a casual office.
In today's casual world, tucking a shirt in is less mandatory than ever. But that isn't to say that every button front shirt is born ready for untucked wear. Whether you plan to tuck or not, there are a few signs you should look for to make sure your shirt fits your tucking-related needs before making a purchase.
If you're on team tuck, you want to look for a longer shirt with a shirttail hem. The increased length and hem will keep the shirt neatly tucked in for a longer period of time.
But if you find yourself on the untucked side of the spectrum, the last thing you want is a long, untucked shirt swallowing up the top of your pants. To avoid this danger, look for a shirt that has a shorter length —ideally, it should fall at the center of your pockets—and a scooped hem rather than a shirttail hem. This shorter, more casual style of button front shirt won't look out of place untucked.
Pro-tip: check for tags. If there's a long tag hanging from the hem of your shirt, you'll want to carefully snip it off before untucked wear.
The old school way to test the collar was to button it all the way to the top and then see if you could insert two fingers into the gap between neck and collar. While that test still stands, there's now an even easier way to foresee whether a collar will prove as comfortable as you'd hope: stretch.
It's increasingly common to see stretch woven into shirts, but perhaps no area benefits from stretch as much as the collar. If you can detect that stretch is built into the shirt's collar, you won't have to worry about getting choked each time a dress code or an occasion calls for a men's tie.
Another increasingly common sight is the men's easy care shirt. When a shirt is marked as easy care, it means that it has been treated to resist wrinkles. But just because a shirt is easy care at the time of purchase doesn't mean that its wrinkle-resisting qualities will remain over time. Some easy care shirts may lose their special ability after just a few washes. To ensure that yours still remain crisp without ironing well into the future, look for easy care shirts with a 30-wash guarantee.
Anyone who's ever worn a button-front shirt when the humidity level rises above 65% knows that breathability is key. You can measure the breathability factor of a shirt by looking at its fabric. A button front shirt made from 100% cotton will generally have a high level of breathability. Alternatively, a cotton/poly blend made with CoolMax® features special moisture-wicking properties that can keep you feeling fresh and dry even in a heat wave.
One of those little details that never quite gets the attention it deserves is the gauntlet button. A gauntlet button can be found in the vent just below the shirt's cuff, where it serves to close the gap. If you decide to roll up your sleeves by unbuttoning the cuff, a gauntlet button provides the structure to keep your sleeve looking neat even while rolled.