THE BEST MEN’S DRESS SHIRT BRANDS
We don’t expect shopping for a dress shirt to be a challenge – not for your first real office job and not a few years down the road when you’re wondering, “What do I wear to this wedding?” After all, men’s dress shirts appear straightforward. We don’t have to contend with the multiple silhouettes, patterns, and trends shaping women’s offerings. But, the sheen of basicness created by straight lines, a point collar, and a solid colour or occasional stripes becomes a mirage. You notice a bulge in certain places. Cuffs fit past your wrists, or the material bags toward your midsection. You quickly grabbed something off the rack in a rush, basing it off your typical size, or you ordered online, assuming you’d look like the featured model. Men’s dress shirts define brands at multiple price points or complement suiting offerings. We’ve compiled some of the best at introductory, mid, and high-end levels, and provide tips for refining your search.
What Makes a Good Dress Shirt?
Call it an oxford, a formal shirt, or a business shirt, but the base points are all the same. A stiff point collar with a degree of spread defines a men’s dress shirt. You won’t see a double notch or a buttoned-down collar, nor a softer configuration, as these elements all appear too casual.
This factor is accompanied by a slim to regular fit – again, something too baggy and spacious veers casual – plus a buttoned placket. You may see standard barrel cuffs with buttons or a French cuff requiring a set of cufflinks. Beyond these essentials:
The debate regarding materials rages on: More and more brands add some spandex and polyester for a comfortable stretch and easy ironing. However, these fabrications wear out and start to pucker sooner than 100% cotton, linen, or silk.
Cotton type: Just looking for a cotton dress shirt alone sends you down a rabbit hole of fabrications. Oxford is the most middle of the road and least textured, while twill adds a diagonal weave. Poplin lightens things up and smooths out the surface, while jacquard adds more body and, in some cases, a shinier sheen.
Cuffs: Unless you intend to keep your suit jacket on the entire day, make sure you’re wearing long sleeves with cuffs. Barrel is the standard shape, and French cuffs add a more formal air.
Colour: You can’t go wrong with white or blue. Stripes, checks, and other prints and patterns add personality, but immediately knock down the formality. Think about where you’ll be wearing your dress shirt and the expected dress code.
How to Shop for a Men’s Dress Shirt
Brand is meaningless if its garments don’t fit you well. Refine your search with the following:
Fit: Men’s dress shirts fall into two camps. The shirt is staunchly old school – numbers or bust for a more precise fit. If you’re not going to get alterations, measure yourself ahead of time rather than estimate. The second scenario reflects how we all shop, for better or worse, in the present: Small to XL and beyond. Still, take your measurements and look at the size chart, so you know what you’re getting into. Then, examine a brand’s fit: “Regular” is your father’s ‘80s or ‘90s business shirt, while slim and extra-slim reflect the direction of suiting over the past two decades.
Body shape: Know if you’re a rectangle, an apple, or an inverted triangle, as this will affect how the shirt falls on you. Additionally, know if you fall under Tall measurements, which are designed with a longer torso and arms.
Always be ready for alterations: Even if you get close, expect to take the shirt to a tailor. Realize that it’s always easier to take fabric in or reset a collar than let out a seam.
Know your shirt types: The majority of men’s dress shirt brands are off the rack. Made-to-measure is essentially templated based on your measurements. Bespoke is entirely custom down to design, measurements, and fabric.
The Best Men’s Introductory Dress Shirt Brands
Not everyone can – or wants to – afford the fancy stuff. Introductory or entry-level men’s dress shirt brands share a few common characteristics: You’re far more likely to see performance and no-iron fabrications, they do the basics well, and you’ll find a broader size and style range:
This is the subway shirting brand that every commuter recognizes. While visibility oftentimes correlates with oversaturation, Charles Tyrwhitt stands out in two regards. One, it builds off the collective heritage of Jermyn Street as a center of British shirt-making, and two, it supports its reputation with a relatively solid product. That is, a mid-priced dress shirt (plus various casual offerings) in traditional and performance fabrications. For reference, the company got its start in the ‘80s with a mission of making sharp, longer-lasting clothes. Nothing’s flashy, and that’s exactly the point: You’re able to head into one of their shops online or in person to find one (or multiple, if you take advantage of discounts) decent-quality dress shirt in white, blue, or a subtle print. Prominence also comes with faster product evolution: While the looks exude classic-ness, Charles Tyrwhitt still bases its products on a consumer wanting some comfort, even if for the office. In turn, no-iron means you’re ready to go in less time, and the Tyrwhitt Cool finish performs as expected.
Bonobos is another quick-rise story that’s established a firm, albeit somewhat quirky, reputation in the shirting market. Acquisition by Walmart partially tainted their reputation for a couple of years, but regular features on Netflix’s Queer Eye show that Bonobos captures one particularly modern confluence: basics but with personality. Many will argue that a dress shirt with a floral, pineapple, or geometric print itself isn’t dressy and gets downgraded to business or smart-casual territory. Marketing, ad agency, and creative professionals, on the other hand, will disagree, and that’s where Bonobos confidently caters to its audience. Yes, you can find all your essentials – many with a slight stretch fabrication – and you can also build out that creative workplace wardrobe through various patterns, colours, and fits ranging from skinny to a muscular athletic.
We know that J.Crew has gone through an identity crisis over the past few years or so, attempting to appeal to the new preppy consumer through a streetwear-centered lens. Despite this shift, it hasn’t lost sight of its basics. Dress shirt wise, offerings address two market segments: Those who like the brand recognition and those seeking a higher-quality product closer to their budget. For the former, standard white, blue, stripes, and even patterned materials come in stretch cotton or 100% two-ply cotton construction. On the premium end, their Thomas Mason line results in a smoother look and a lighter feel accompanied by modest tailored details.
The made-to-measure market continues to expand under one integral principle: Many want a closer-fitting, if not tailored, dress shirt but don’t want to actually visit a tailor. Indochino has cornered the entry-level made-to-measure market by promising a custom wardrobe: Beyond dress shirts, the templates-plus-measurements approach extends to casual basics, suits, and coats. Fittings can be done in person or entirely online, based on your availability. Garments, meanwhile, don’t cut corners: Not only will you get something close to your size, in a traditional colour or with a pattern, but you can do so in 100% cotton.
The Best Men’s Mid-Level Dress Shirt Brands
Mid-level sometimes feels like middle of the road. For dress shirts, however, the tier reflects a best-of-both-worlds scenario: You can get a cotton dress shirt, or a few more, within your budget, and tend to have access to a wider range of cotton fabrications, like oxford, poplin, and jacquard. Performance and non-iron varieties persist in the same way the Apple Watch serves as a status symbol: It does something, yet it looks subtle, and you want to show it off.
Brooks Brothers has defined generations of American preppy style – from casual garments like polo and madras shirts to first job-interview suits. Today, that reputation translates to reliability and predictability. You know exactly what you’re getting: In this case, whether you’re an entry-level worker looking to impress or a manager following a dress code, that’s slim to relaxed fits oozing Ivy League preppiness, often crafted with a lighter-weight Supima or poplin cotton.
Whether Polo or Purple Label, Ralph Lauren merges American heritage with The Official Preppy Handbook, delivering more elevated style within a familiar template. Polo dress shirts suit the man seeking to look sharp, embody classic American preppy-meets-business style, and invest minimal effort into maintenance. As such, you’re more likely to run across wrinkle-resistant, stretch construction even with 100% cotton. Purple Label, meanwhile, sits in a higher echelon through refinement. Traditional white and blue collared dress shirts are accompanied by higher-quality materials – for example, genuine mother of pearl buttons and Italian cotton – and details like French cuffs.
Another quintessential American preppy brand, GANT started out of a shirt-making legacy to influence Ivy League style via the Yale Co-Op without losing sight of its core product. The brand debuted post-World War II, gaining attention for its distinctive ads featuring its oxford shirts placed in more urban, sophisticated publications. Trends both drew from and influenced preppy style, often going bolder and more colourful than its peers – to the point store employees allegedly never wore white shirts. That outlook continues to shape GANT in the present – classic and traditional but always pushing the boundaries of expectations. Toward this direction, GANT has started using Better Cotton, a more sustainable product compared to traditional sources, as well as cotton/linen blends.
Outside of the preppy sphere, Claudio Lugli stands on its own plane. Purists will call it strictly a fashion brand. Someone who intentionally dresses with more flair will appreciate the traditional Italian-style craftsmanship infused with significant quirk – whether that’s an all-over map-inspired print or delivering more than a pop of pop culture inspo. Despite the flamboyant exterior and intention to provoke through storytelling concepts, Claudio Lugli crafts a quality mid- to high-range dress shirt (dubbed “non-con-formalwear”), delivering a product made in England or Italy with 100% cotton satin construction and a distinctive, luxurious sheen. Jacquard fabrics have body – this isn’t your lightweight cotton – and details attesting to its craftsmanship quickly emerge. On top of this, the brand genuinely caters to a range of men’s body sizes.
Hawes & Curtis
Getting its start in 1913, Hawes & Curtis is one of the longer-standing Jermyn Street shirtmakers. Today, their line appeals to a broad range of customers. You’ll have your blue-or-white classics made of solid cotton with a choice of collar styles and fits. These do their job while delivering above-average, long-lasting traditional construction. On the other hand, Hawes & Curtis further appeals to a more niche, experimental, and somewhat style-minded customer, regularly unveiling new, bold, and often large-scale prints. Florals, as well as the occasional geometric, are its strengths. Added to this, non-iron shirts show that they keep the convenience-minded customer wanting a quality, day-to-day product in mind.
Turnbull & Asser
Another Jermyn Street brand and a Royal Warrant holder, Turnbull & Asser bridges two options for shirting: ready-to-wear, off-the-rack options and made-to-measure, both made in Gloucester. Ready-to-wear choices fall in line with what you’d expect from a mid-range brand. Made-to-measure, on the other hand, gives you the greatest mileage long term – but may take up to four weeks to put together. The result, however, is worth it, with a garment made from 34 individual pieces and a choice of fabrics before undergoing a quality control check.
Typically, Italian shirting falls within the luxurious, higher-end range. A newer brand starting to gain some traction, Apposta attempts to make this craftsmanship more accessible, resulting in a comprehensive, made-to-measure resource built upon the family legacy of founder Gianmarco Taccaliti. That results in over 4,000 fabric choices, a process intended to reduce waste, and customization from your measurements to the shirt’s features. Despite what might seem overwhelming, what could best be described as an entry-level Italian dress shirt presents you with familiar choices, including twill, poplin, oxford, and stretch fabrications in solids, stripes, and checks, among other patterns.
The Best Men’s High-End Dress Shirt Brands
At this price point (anything above £250 per shirt), you typically encounter natural, non-blended fabrics, although there are exceptions, with a light feel and partially silky appearance, plus Italian construction.
If you have money, why play by the rules? Getting its start in Nottingham in 1970, Paul Smith lives up to this notion through bright, elaborate patterns added to more traditional silhouettes. Beyond the boldness, this method guided by art and music influences translates to Italian construction with details like contrasting cuff linings and flap pockets for a more adventurous character.
Eton embodies what we consider quintessential Scandi style – simple, minimalistic, high-quality, and built for function. Opening in 1928, this Swedish brand infuses stark pragmatism with Milan-inspired tailoring, resulting in crisp, clean silhouettes made from higher-quality materials. Dress shirt wise, this translates to predictable, timeless, and durable construction with some experimentation. Think white and blue with an occasional tread over to pink, with fabrics spanning poplins, oxfords, twill, Tencel, or silk for varying degrees of substance promising wrinkle-resistance without polyester or spandex added.
Hugo Boss extends across mid- to higher-end price ranges and fabrications, delivering what ultimately feels like a contemporary take on a classic, traditional aesthetic. To this end, shirts fit on the ultra-slim to slim side, stand out with a more defined silhouette, and have a light sheen, even for 100% cotton. At the same time, the modest futuristic interpretation of basics elevates what’s turning into a subsect of menswear – the performance garment. Here, Italian jersey made from a blend of elastane and recycled polyamide, including from post-consumer industrial safety nets, blends flexibility with a more timeless appearance.
The luxurious louche Ford crafted during his decade with Gucci continues to follow his fashion brand at a distance. You see it more prominently in its dress shirts, which upend tradition and often feel as if they should be worn to a nightclub in Milan or Palm Springs. Today, that spectrum spans poplin shirts with stiff collars, French cuffs, and a longer hem to looser-fitting silk shirts ideally paired with a wider-cut suit or high-waisted trousers.
Founded in 1945, Brioni embodies sprezzatura character – relaxed yet refined and always made with superior materials. Perhaps the paradigm of Italian tailoring, Brioni has led the way in terms of style – from presenting what’s considered the first men’s fashion show in the 1950s to not shying away from bright, saturated colours. Today, Brioni dress shirts feel reminiscent of a different period – perhaps the eased yet dapper casual character of the 1950s or the Armani suit of the early ‘80s. In all cases, silk and gassed cotton add a visible sheen to white and darker shades while always feeling light against the skin.
Borrelli reflects a keep-it-simple formula – no cutting corners, no wide-scale manufacturing. The brand emblematic of Neapolitan refinement gets as close to tailoring as you can through a small, ready-to-wear line of 100% cotton dress shirts. Yet, construction involves hand-stitching at various stages (armholes, yoke, buttonholes, and neck among them), and it shows in the result.
Streetwear collaborations can sometimes feel gimmicky and cheap and overshadow a brand’s core product. With its Fear of God collaboration, Ermenegildo Zegna proved that a classic tailoring brand can shift in its direction without alienating its base and, instead, grow to appeal to a wider range of customers. In terms of dress shirts, Zegna reflects the eye for fastidious detail that made working with Jerry Lorenzo make sense. Here, slim- to regular-fit button-fronts have a lightweight feel, made of Italian cotton jersey with a high thread count. This factor results in a silkier, softer, and breathable construction, which gets topped off by hand-stitching and one-piece point collar.