Men’s shirts have been around for a long time, however, until the eighteenth century men’s shirts were only worn under outer garments. The fact that they were seen as items of underclothing explains why it is seen as a faux pas for a man to remove his suit jacket uninvited. In 1871 Brown, Davis and Co. introduced the world to the first man’s shirt with buttons all the way down the front. Today, these have evolved to become the formal and casual men’s shirts and ladies shirts we know today.
Men’s and ladies: fabric weaves and washes
The finest men’s shirts are 100% cotton which ensures they are soft, breathable and durable. Here are some of the cotton fabric weaves, washes and styles you’ll find in formal and casual shirts that are available today.
Poplin Crisp, cool and comfortable, poplin is the classic cotton shirt fabric that is ideal all year round, for many occasions.
A shirt with an Oxford weave is generally a little heavier and warmer than a cotton poplin weave so it is ideal in the cooler autumn and winter months. Oxford cloth usually contains a combination of dyed and undyed threads to give a more relaxed casual shirt.
The pinpoint weave is a combination of both cotton poplin and Oxford. It is woven using long staple cotton (for extra softness) and, as with the Oxford shirt weave, only the warp yarn is dyed.
Herringbone and twill
These are textured men’s weaves that produce a diagonal structure and gives the shirts interesting accents. Both weaves are warmer than classic poplin so are favoured in the colder seasons.
A shirt with a peach finish has usually undergone a process in which the fabric has been very lightly distressed – this gives it an extra soft feel. Men’s and ladies shirts with a peach or carbon finish are usually casual shirts.
Vintage wash men’s and women’s garments are very similar to those with peach finishes. They are exceptionally soft to the touch and have a ‘worn-in’ look which is very comfortable, cosy and relaxed.
Men’s and ladies shirts: how to fold a shirt correctly
Ideally, men’s and ladies shirts should be kept on hangers in the wardrobe, but there are occasions when shirts need to be folded. There is a knack to folding both smart and casual shirts that will ensure they will stay smooth and wrinkle-free. Lay the shirt face down with the buttons fastened, then fold one side over until about halfway along the shoulder. Fold the rest of the sleeve over itself so it lies flat in a straight line parallel to the side of the shirt. Repeat for the other side so the shirt forms a rectangle. Then fold the shirt in half so the bottom hem touches the collar.
Men’s shirts: how to find the right shirt for your build
If you are tall and lean choose a garment with cutaway collars, or spread collars, to help you look broader. If you are tall and muscular, a fitted shirt can help you look more powerful.
Athletic builds can pull off fitted or semi-fitted men’s clothes rather well. Choose small collars (like cutaway collars) if you have a short neck.
Short and lean men should wear fitted or semi-fitted shirts as classic fit men’s shirts will only drown them. Wider men look best in classic fit shirts with vertical stripes to help slim the frame.
Wide builds should choose classic fit shirts with pleats, ideally with vertical stripes. Also opt for classic collars which are large enough to draw attention away from the waist.
Why every man should own a white shirt
Until the end of the nineteenth century the white top was a sign of wealth because only a man with enough money could afford to have his washing done frequently – and white looks dirty the quickest. Today, men’s formal white shirts are still viewed as an elegant option. Not only does a white shirt suit every man, it is easy to wear a man’s white shirt as it will go with just about anything and be appropriate for many occasions.
Ladies shirts: a history
It is thought that women first began to wear shirts around 1890 when freedom fighters donned red wool shirts under the charismatic Giuseppe Garibaldi. Today, ladies shirts have evolved into many different styles including blouses, sleeveless shirts, casual shirts and more, in a variety of fabrics. As with men’s shirts, the most popular choice are women’s shirts in 100% cotton as they’re soft, durable and can be easily dressed up for work or dressed down for the weekend.
Ladies shirts: why women’s shirts button up the opposite side to a man’s shirt
Since it became normal for women to wear shirts in the early twentieth century, the buttons on women’s shirts have been attached to the opposite side to those of a man’s shirt. There are a few theories that may explain this. One is that this made it easier for maids to dress them, whereas men tended to dress themselves.
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