Men’s Summer Essentials Ebook

In this ebook, I’ll detail the items you need for summer, why you need them, and where to get them – in designer and budget-friendly options.

These items will work very well with the rest of your year-round essentials, so if you haven’t seen that series, check it out first.

My goal is to ensure you’re comfortable, wearing appropriate colors and items for the season, while looking amazing and not like a douchebag.

So fill out the form below, download the book, pour a glass of… something (I prefer rosé) and let me show you the good stuff!





Best Undershirts For Men

If you own any of the collared shirts I recommend in my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials Series, specifically the Oxford Button Down Shirt and a Semi Spread Collar dress shirt, you need to own some crew and v-neck undershirts. And before we get into it, there’s no scenario when you should ever wear a tank-top undershirt, AKA a wife beater – ever. You’ll see the lines underneath any shirt you’re wearing, and it just looks terrible. So let’s talk about the best undershirts for men and why you should own them. 

Undershirts are essential because

  • They provide a barrier between your sweaty, oily, deodorant-riddled skin and your dress shirts.
  • Due to this barrier, you may not have to get them cleaned as often, which will prolong their life.
  • They make dress shirts, specifically light-colored ones, look much better by not showing your skin and/or nipples through them.
  • They add another layer to your outfit for a little extra warmth or moisture wicking – depending on the weather.

How to Wear an Undershirt Under a Dress Shirt

You would think this is simple, right? Me too, but it’s very rare when a client knows how to wear an undershirt properly. A good undershirt is not something anyone should ever notice. If it’s noticeable, you’ve failed.

These are the 2 rules for wearing an undershirt:

  1. If you’re wearing a collared shirt without a tie, with the top button or two open, you need to wear a v-neck undershirt. Remember, no one should ever see your undershirt – even a bit of the collar.
  2. If you’re wearing a tie, you have to wear a crew neck undershirt. Otherwise, you’ll be able to see the v under the shirt and it looks like crap.

When should you go without an undershirt?

The only time I’d suggest not wearing an undershirt is if you’re wearing a white collared shirt. If you’re a lighter skinned guy, this is more geared toward you. Because most other undershirts might be seen through. But you can still try wearing a nude or gray undershirt to see if it’s not visible.

This problem isn’t as bad if you’re darker-skinned and wearing a similar-colored undershirt. That said, if you have darker nipples or nipples that tend to stick out a little bit, then an undershirt is required for you no matter what. Just make sure it matches your skin tone relatively closely.

Are Undershirts Supposed to be Tight?

A lot of my clients ask this question and the short answer is:
Sort of.

They shouldn’t be skin tight, but they should absolutely fit close to the body. Ideally, you want an undershirt to fit this way in the body and sleeves so you don’t see wrinkles or creases underneath your shirt. If the sleeves or body is loose, you’ll definitely see the line under the sleeves and wrinkles in the body – no matter the color of shirt you’re wearing over it.

Are Undershirts Supposed to be Thin?

Yes! They should be thin because they’re an underlayer and a thinner shirt will feel better and not add bulk to your frame. You don’t want this to happen regardless of your body type.

Should I have only white undershirts?

Not necessarily. I always have my clients wear undershirts that are closer to their skin tone. So if you’re darker skinned, you can go with a darker gray, brown, or black undershirt. Lighter skinned men should stick with light gray or white. A warning though, if you’re lighter skinned: a light gray undershirt under white or light-colored shirts is ok, but honestly, I’ve tried this a few times it and it tends to make the dress shirt look dingy or kind of faded. It’s not a good look, so I usually say to go without an undershirt in these instances.

Another quick note while we’re talking about white undershirts

I see this often with guys – if I can see exactly where your undershirt starts and ends around your neck or sleeves, (this only happens with light blue and white collared shirts), this means your shirt’s fabric is too thin and/or you need to change the color of your undershirt to match your skin tone better.

The Best White and colored Undershirts

These are the best undershirts that my clients and I love the most. Having tried all the major ones out there, these are my favorites:

Tommy John Second Skin Undershirts

Buy Tommy John’s Second Skin Crew and Deep V-Neck Undershirts

TommyJohnMensCrewNeckUndershirtsAshleyWeston12

Second Skin Crew and Deep V-Neck undershirts are my favorites. I like these a lot because they fit snugly on all body types and the fabric is super soft and has a little bit of stretch to it, so they won’t leave winkles showing through your shirts. But these niceties don’t come cheaply. Unlike their underwear, though, which I discussed here, they are very durable and will last you a good long while. They also make a nude and black colored undershirts to cover most men out there.

A quick note about their V-necks. Their images aren’t quite accurate and their titles are misleading.

Their “Deep V-Neck” is actually a regular v-neck length, so get that one and don’t waste your time with the regular v-neck, because the regular one is way too high and will absolutely be visible if you wear your collared shirts unbuttoned. I know the pictures look like the v is quite deep, but trust me, in person they’re not that deep.

RibbedTee Tri-Blend Undershirts

Buy RibbedTee’s Undershirts

 

RibbedTeeMensCrewVneckUndershirts Ashley Weston1

RibbedTee makes some of the softest, most comfortable undershirts I’ve tested. My clients said it was like wearing a soft fluffy layer of air. Their gray undershirts are great for lighter skinned guys, too, but they make many colors. You honestly can’t go wrong with any of their undershirts, but my clients were partial to the Tri Blend, Supima cotton and their Evo Tencell ones.

Calvin Klein Undershirts

Buy Calvin Klein Undershirts

CalvinKleinMensCrewandVNeckndershirts Ashley Weston12

For a budget-friendly option, I really like Calvin Klein’s Cotton Classic undershirts because the fit is great and the fabric is not too thick or thin, which is a problem with most other undershirts in this price range.

I like them because they also have different fits based on your body type – like slim and regular – which fit my larger or taller clients very well. They also make a similar undershirt to Tommy John called Body Modal, but I say just spend the few extra bucks and get the Tommy Johns instead because they’re just all around better.

Spanx Undershirts

Buy Spanx Cotton Compression Crew & V-Neck Undershirts

SpanxCrewVneckMensUndershirts Ashley Weston

I mentioned these in one of my AskAW videos because my clients who wear these LOVE them. If you’re looking to slim down your waist, belly or chest area, these are perfect. I like to say that they are like visual airbrushing tools. They’re not so snug that it feels like you can’t breath, which is important because I think a lot of men assume they’ll be too restrictive, but they’re just a little bit tighter than your average shirt, but they will literally drop you down a waist or shirt size in most cases.

Alright, that’s it. Those are the best undershirts for men – period!

Plain T-Shirts

A plain, short sleeved t-shirt is an essential because they’re super comfortable, timeless, and everyone wears them. Now whether you need a crew neck or v-neck t-shirt is dependent on a few factors that I’ll get into later on in this article.

If you’re like most of my clients, you’re probably wearing a t-shirt or polo shirt most of the time, so let’s make sure you look amazing in them. Before we get into that, though, I have a few bones to pick with men in regards to their t-shirts. They completely crap the bed in a few ways:

  1. Their shirts are full of logos.
  2. They don’t fit properly.
  3. The fabric is too thin, shiny, or worn out.
  4. A horrible combination of the above.

Types of T-Shirts For Men

A t-shirt is defined as:

A lightweight shirt without buttons, with short sleeves and no collar. Often made of cotton and frequently bears a picture or slogan.

Before we get into the finer points of t-shirts, let’s talk about the two different types, first. Before I started in the fashion industry, I didn’t know that there were only really two types of t-shirts. So let’s quickly get this out of the way.

Crew Neck

T-Shirts-V-Neck-Crew-Neck-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials-2

These t-shirts have round collars that fit closely to the neck like the image above. You probably have these in your closet right now. They are great base items for layering or worn on their own. They work on most body types. See the below section about fit for more details.

V-Neck

T-Shirts-V-Neck-Crew-Neck-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

If your powers of deduction are strong, you’ll already know that the v-neck t-shirt is named as such because the neck is in the shape of a “v”. They also work on most body types. See the below section about fit for more details.

Long Sleeves

Long-sleeved shirts are not technially t-shirts. I put this here, because when I was first starting out, I swore that long-sleeved shirts, like Henleys, were also t-shirts. But, they’re not. Also, in my professional opinion you shouldn’t really own any long sleeve shirts. Henleys would be the only exception, but they only look good on certain body types. I’ll do an article about Henley shirts at a later time. But I don’t consider them a wardrobe essential.

If you need long sleeves, throw on a Oxford Button Down Dress Shirt, V-Neck Sweater Harrington Jacket or Blazer instead.

Logos & Designer T-Shirts

DesignerTShirt

I discussed my hatred of logos in my polo shirt article. And it definitely applies to t-shirts. Maybe more-so.

No self-respecting man should ever wear t-shirts with logos plastered all over them. We have enough billboards and advertisements in our lives, don’t turn your body into another one. Sports teams and concert/band tees are fine if worn to an event where it’s appropriate. But the worst is when I see guys wearing “designer” t-shirts. It just screams sucker, amateur and douche. Just don’t do it. If you own any of these, either throw them out right now orariGTFO

How T-Shirts Should Fit

See the T-Shirt Fit Guide for details. But I’ll quickly mention here, too, that no matter your age or body type, a t-shirt (any shirt, for that matter) should have a trim fit and lightly hug your body.

That doesn’t mean it should be skin tight, but it also doesn’t mean it should be baggy, either. A lot of my clients with larger builds tend to think that their shirts need to be baggy to hide their imperfections, but it actually works counter to that. It’ll highlight your imperfections if you attempt to hide them under larger swaths of fabric. And if you’re thinner, a larger shirt won’t add any bulk to your frame, it’ll just make you look even skinnier.

Fabric Choice

I can’t tell you how many nipples and belly buttons I see walking around town because guys are wearing undershirts or flimsy shirts with really thin or delicate fabrics as regular t-shirts.

Too Thin

I see a lot of guys wearing what looks like white undershirts because the fabric is so thin. I’ve honestly been searching for months for good white shirts that don’t show skin through. See my recommendations below.  Thin shirts/undershirts are not the same as regular t-shirts. Undershirts, true to their name, should only be worn underneath another shirt – usually an Oxford Button Down Dress Shirt or a Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt. They’re thin and soft because they’re purpose-built to go underneath something else.

Silky or Shiny appearance

The quickest way to look like a creepy uncle is to wear a shiny or silky t-shirt. You should only wear cotton and matte (not shiny) t-shirts. Nothing else.

Distressed or Worn out

Your t-shirts shouldn’t look like the garment equivalent of those terrible worn-out baseball caps. A t-shirt should look clean, comfortable and relatively new. Once they’ve got holes or they’re faded, even a little bit, they need to be replaced. Such is the nature of being a well-dressed gentleman. There’s nothing worse than old, stretched-out, or faded looking shirts, unless you’re deliberately going for that look.

You’ll get more usage out of your t-shirts if you wash in cold water and hang dry them. But once they’re stretched out or faded, it’s time to donate and replace them.

The Best T-Shirts For Men

Choosing the best t-shirts comes down to your body type, preference and the colors. I’ll reiterate again, because my older clients like to give me this excuse before they see the light: AGE DOESN’T FACTOR INTO WHAT SHIRTS YOU SHOULD GET – AT ALL.

Should I have V-Necks or Crew Necks?

Between the two, I would say it all depends on your preference. Some of my clients are adamant about their love or hate for one or the other. But if you don’t have a preference, I’d suggest getting one set of each. That way, you have the option to switch it up.

As for which ones you should get, there’s 3 points to consider:

  1. If you have a longer neck, go with crew necks. A v-neck would visually lengthen your neck and make it look longer. Unless you can find shorter v-necks with a shorter “v” like the white shirt on my model below.
  2. If you have a shorter neck, go with v-necks. It’ll make your neck appear a little longer.
  3. If your neck is average, the t-shirt world is your oyster and you can have whatever you want!

What colors should I have?

Every man should have these colors to start since they’ll go with everything else in your Essential Wardrobe.

  • White
  • Heather gray
  • Navy
  • Black

As for how many of each you should have, I suggest getting at least 2 of each, that way you can easily get through a week without needing to do laundry.

Best T-Shirts For Men

Designer Options

The fabrics of these options are really amazing and super comfortable. The James Perse ones are a personal favorite and I use them on a lot of my clients. I wish I could make all my clothes out of some of these materials. See my note in the section below, before making your decision. All of these shirts come in the colors I recommended above.

Ralph Lauren Cotton Jersey Crewneck T-Shirt 

James Perse Melange Cotton Linen V-Neck

Rag Bone Navy Classic T-Shirt

James Perse Grey Crew Neck T-Shirt

Brunello Cucinelli Cotton Crewnect White T-Shirt 

Budget-Friendly Options

I’d probably default to these options over the designer ones because I find very minute differences between them. The biggest factors would be fit and slightly better fabrics. I don’t find the added costs are worth what you get in return, especially because t-shirts will need to be replaced much quicker than other items in your wardrobe. All of these shirts come in the colors I recommended above. I especially love the RibbedTee shirts and the American Apparel Summer Shirts.

All Saints White Figure Crew T-Shirt

Alternative Apparel Black Plain T-Shirt

Armani Exchange Pima Crew 

RibbedTee White Rex Cotton Modal Tee V-Neck 1-Pack

J.Crew Broken-in V-Neck T-Shirt

3 Best Ways to Wear Your V-Neck and Crew Neck T-Shirts

Alternative Apparel Black Plain T-Shirt

Burberry Slim Fit Wool Trousers

Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Oxford 

Tom Ford Black Snowdon Sunglasses

IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch

Rag & Bone Duncan Shawl Cardigan

RibbedTee White Rex Cotton Modal Tee V-Neck 1-Pack

Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans

Allen Edmonds First Avenue Dress Boots

John Varvatos Lafayette Sunglasses

IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch

Brooks Brothers Camel Suede Barracuda Jacket

RibbedTee White Rex Cotton Modal Tee V-Neck 1-Pack

SIimon Miller M001 Gunnison Slim-Fit Selvedge Denim Jeans

Nike Tennis Classic Sneakers

Tom Ford Black Snowdon Sunglasses

IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch

Men’s T-Shirt Outfit Ideas & Inspiration

The Polo Shirt

A Polo Shirt is a great, versatile item that I put all my clients in at some point of us working together. They’re timeless and a cornerstone of any good spring or summer outfit. I often recommend wearing them in place of t-shirts, as they give a casual outfit a bit of polish – which is never a bad thing. No matter your age or body type, every guy needs a few polo shirts in his wardrobe.

A good polo shirt will:

  1. Fit like a glove.
  2. Enhance the good parts of your physique and hide the imperfections.
  3. Make you look more polished and put together.
  4. Layer incredibly well.
  5. Only have short sleeves – long sleeved polos have no place in your wardrobe.

Fabric

Fabric choice is the biggest thing to consider when choosing a polo shirt and heavily dependent on your body type. The fabric you choose will determine how good (or bad) you look in a polo shirt.

Piqué Cotton

Piqué cotton polo shirts are made with cotton yarn and have thin ribbing visible in the garment. The texture is soft, and if you look closely you can see the tightly raised cords that give a waffle-like appearance.

Piqué polos are best for heavier-set men with wider physiques because the textured fabric hugs the body without conforming to the less flattering areas of the chest and stomach. When I’m working with a client who’s worried about his belly being accentuated, I always go with pique cotton. Think of the fabric as airbrushing your torso and hiding the problem areas.

Check out how much more flattering the piqué cotton polo is on the same guy compared to a cotton/silk blend polo. I bet his hands are covering his belly button divot in the cotton polo shirt picture, too. It’s an old photographer’s trick. Notice his chest area looks a little more smoothed out? Please don’t think I’m recommending this polo, it’s pretty bad (that’s a horrible sleeve length) but it highlights the “airbrushing” effect that piqué cotton has very nicely.

Pique Cotton Vs Cotton or Silk Blended Polos Ashley Weston

Cotton & Cotton Blended Polos

If you’re in decent shape, skip the piqué polos and grab a few cotton/cotton-silk blended polo shirts. The material looks better on your body type and is softer and more comfortable than pique cotton. These polos have a sleek, modern look that are great on their own or underneath a jacket. Beware, it’ll shine a spotlight on your body’s imperfections if you’re not in good shape!

SilkBLendPolo - Ashley Weston

Colors, Patterns, Piping, Etc.

Avoid any patterns or collar/sleeve piping and stick with the basic (and best) colors to begin. Grab a few white, black, navy, and charcoal/gray colored polos. They’ll give you the most versatility with the rest of your Essential Wardrobe and will work with any skin tone and body type.

If you’ve got the basic colors already, definitely get some brighter colors that compliment your skin tone and/or throw some stripes in there, too. I would universally avoid plaids or any other wackier patterns, it’s just too much and looks tacky.

To Tuck or Not To Tuck

If you’re wearing a polo shirt without a jacket, then don’t tuck your shirt into your pants. I know golfers do this, but you’re not on a golf course and it looks horrible tucked in.

If you’re wearing a jacket, then loosely tuck in the front part of the shirt by your belt buckle like in my 3 ways to wear images below. The shirt should still cover the top half of your belt buckle – you don’t want to completely see the buckle. I love doing this on my clients because it breaks up the outfit when you see a little of the belt buckle and gives it a little polish without overdoing it.

Leggo my Logo

Please don’t get a shirt with a huge logo all over it. Just. Don’t. Logos that are small and the same color of the rest of the shirt are passable, but if you have the option, go logo-less.

How Should A Polo Shirt Fit?

Check out my Men’s Polo Shirt Fit Guide for details.

The Best Polo Shirts for Men

Designer Options

For a pique polo, I recommend the Sunspel Riviera Polo Shirt. This shirt was made for Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale. A black or navy polo pairs well with either dark wash jeans or grey wool trousers. For a silk/cotton blend polo shirt, I love John Varvatos and Burberry. The shirt’s impressive construction and fit is well worth the price.

John Varvatos Hampton Polo 

Sunspel Charcoal Jersey Polo Shirt

Ermenegildo Zegna Mercerized Cotton Polo Shirt 

Burberry Navy Silk Cotton Polo

Theory Black Boyd Polo

Budget-Friendly Options

I’m a big fan of H&M’s cotton polo shirts. Actually, I would probably get those over the designer options a majority of the time. They won’t last forever, but they’re cheap enough to replace every season or two. They have a clean design with a great fit and a price that you can’t beat. The model in the first picture below is wearing the H&M Polo.

H&M Polo Shirt 

Uniqlo Navy Dry Pique Short Sleeve Polo Shirt

J.Crew Black Pique Cotton Polo

3 Ways to Wear a Polo Shirt

(Sunglass lenses sold separately)

H&M Polo Shirt

J.Crew Broken-In Chino in 484 Fit

Vans Authentic Sneakers

True Vintage Revival Glasses 

Polo-Shirt-Outfit-2-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

The jacket and chinos are actually from Dsquared2, but they’re for an upcoming season and not available in stores at the time of writing. So I added the best substitutes below.

Philipp Plein Coat So Cool

Ermenegildo Zegna Mercerized Cotton Polo Shirt

Brooks Brothers Slim Fit Dark Khaki Garment-Dyed Chinos

Nike Tennis Classic Sneakers

Allen Edmonds Black Poplar Belt

IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch

John Varvatos Lafayette Sunglasses

 

Polo-Shirt-Outfit-3-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Burberry Modern Fit Wool Part Canvas Jacket 

Burberry Silk Cotton Polo Shirt 

Levis Chino 511 Slim Fit Jeans 

Salvatore Ferragamo Penny Loafer Shoe

Allen Edmonds Brown Poplar Dress Belt

Piaget Altiplano Watch

John Varvatos Lafayette Sunglasses

Outfit Inspiration

 

The Oxford Button Down Dress Shirt

This article is part of my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials series.

One of the best collared shirts to own and what I recommend for all my clients, regardless of age or body type, is the Oxford Button Down Shirt. It’s versatile, comfortable and one of the more durable items you’ll have in your closet.

What is an Oxford Shirt?

Oxford Shirt vs. Dress Shirt – What’s the difference?

In my best Jerry Seinfeld voice: “So what’s with all these dress shirts?”

A dress shirt is any type of collared shirt with a stiff collar and long sleeves that may be worn with a suit or blazer. An Oxford Shirt is usually considered a type of dress shirt, but the Oxford shirt is different from a regular dress shirt in two ways:

  1. They usually have a button down-style collar which eliminates that problem of collars flopping around and/or laying flat and disappearing underneath a jacket’s collar.
  2. The Oxford Shirt is named after the specific weave of the fabric called, you guessed it, Oxford cloth. It has a basketweave structure and a lustrous aspect making it a popular fabric for a dress shirt.

While you can wear Oxford shirts with suits, I don’t dress my clients this way. The buttoned-down collar lends a more casual vibe to the shirt and takes attention away from the formality of a suit. Unless you’re going without a tie when wearing a suit, it’s just not my preference, but it’s acceptable. I normally pair them with a Gray Notch Lapel Suit (no tie), Blazer, Harrington Jacket, sweater, or by itself with the sleeves rolled up.

Why Should I Own Oxford Dress Shirts?

Well, because they’re awesome. But most importantly, because of these 3 points:

  1. Looks Good, Is Versatile
    They look great on every body type and they pairs easily with the rest of your essential wardrobe. They can also be worn in casual and professional settings and feel equally appropriate. Roll up the sleeves and leave it untucked over a pair of dark wash jeans and you’ve got a casual outfit. Button the cuffs, throw on a tie (or not) and wear under a suit or blazer and you’ve got a dress shirt. It’s one of the most versatile shirts in a man’s closet.
  2. Comfort
    The oxford material is typically woven in a basketweave pattern which allows it to be soft and comfortable and less prone to wrinkling than typical dress shirts made of silk or silk blends.
  3. Durability
    Due to the heavier fabric and weave the shirts are very resilient and durable, as opposed to non-weaved fabrics like silk or silk blends. I’ve got clients who’ve been wearing their Oxford shirts for over 5 years and they look good as new.

How should an Oxford Dress Shirt fit?

An Oxford Shirt should fit just like any other dress shirt you own.

The Best Oxford Button Down Shirts For Men

Since they’re all generally made of the same fabric and weave, the color is what matters most.

For my clients, I only recommend two colors to start because they look good on every skin tone, can be paired easily with the rest of your essential wardrobe and will cover any situation where a collared shirt is appropriate.

The colors are:

  • Light Blue
  • White

Designer Options

Brooks Brother Milano Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt

Rag & Bone Thom Browne Oxford Shirt

Budget-Friendly Options

Club Monaco Classic Fit Oxford Shirt   

Uniqlo Mens Easy Care Long Sleeve Shirt

3 Ways to Wear Oxford Button Down Dress Shirts

Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt

Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Stretch Jeans 

Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm

Allen Edmonds Newland Ave Casual Belt

Converse Jack Purcell Signature Leather

Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Merino Wool V-Neck Sweater

Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt

Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Plain Front Trousers

Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm

Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-toe Oxfords

Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Micro Check Suit Jacket

Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt 

Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Stretch Jeans

The Tie Bar Solid Pocket Square with Black Border 

Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt 

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-toe Oxfords

Outfit Inspiration

The Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt

The Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt is *the* holy grail of dress shirts. When I was conceiving the idea of this series, this was the article of clothing that started it all because it embodies everything an Essential means to me:
  • It works for everybody – regardless of age, face shape or body type.
  • It works in all scenarios.
  • It will never go out of style.

A semi-spread dress shirt will look great dressed up or down, with or without a tie, with the sleeves rolled up, underneath a v-neck sweater or even a leather jacket.

In all your outfits, but especially when dressing up, you want to put your best foot forward, and a pillar of a sharp outfit is the dress shirt.

If you’re new to dressing, looking and feeling better, it’s extremely easy to get bogged down by the minutia. So let me save you the time and just say don’t worry about other collars until later on in your style journey.

What is a Semi-Spread Collar?

Let me show you via the simple image below. There are other types of collars such as the club, mandarin, tab and contrast collar, but those have extremely specific use cases and won’t work for most people, so let’s stick to the most common ones below:

DressShirtCollarTypes

Why A Semi-Spread and Not..?

The collar is very important. It makes or breaks an outfit. The collar of a shirt borders your face, so this is the first thing people see when looking at you since our natural tendency is to look at the face/head and move down.

Also, the type of collar informs the viewer, often unconsciously, what the rest of your outfit should be and how to perceive you.

Point vs Semi-Spread

A point collar, the most common one you’ll see in stores, simply doesn’t look good on most guys because it doesn’t fit most faces or body types. I rarely dress my clients in them because it’s just not worth the hassle when there’s something that looks good on all men. Whenever I see someone wearing a point collar, they almost always shouldn’t be wearing it because it’s not for them. I’ll do a more detailed post about this later, because I can go on forever about my dislike of the point collar.

Full Spread vs Semi-Spread

The full spread collar is similar to the point collar in that it is acceptable in only specific contexts and body shapes. These have gotten more popular over the last few years and I’d choose them over a point collar, if given the choice.

They’re great if you’re wider or broad shouldered, but I see a lot of guys wearing them who really shouldn’t be. These are also the same guys who have a full windsor knot to fill in the space of a spread collar, and on thinner guys, this is style suicide! Don’t do it!

What Colors Should I Get?

You’ll want to stick with white and light blue because like the gray suit, it’s a blank canvas that goes with anything you pair it with and you can easily add your personality via accessories (ties, pocket square, etc). Later on, you can play with the color and pattern, but for right now, these two colors are timeless, sharp, and don’t require any thinking when you put an outfit together.

[et_bloom_inline optin_id=”optin_21″]

How Should a Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt Fit?

I’m glad you asked. Head over to my Fit Guide for details about how all your dress shirts should fit.

The Best Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirts

Budget Friendly

J Crew Ludlow Semi Spread-Collar Shirt
Zara Semi Spread Collar Shirt 

For the price and quality, I love J.Crew’s and Zara’s semi spread collar dress shirts. The collars are just the right spread and height, and the fit is nice and tailored. It’s a staple shirt that they always have year after year that I can always count on.

Designer

Burberry London Slim Fit Stretch Cotton Blend Shirt
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Shirt 

My, hands down, favorite dress shirts come from these designers. The quality and fit is spot on. Burberry London and Emporio Armani’s collar height is perfect for most men, while Brooks Brothers’s tends to be a tiny bit taller so if you’re slim and under 5’7′, then I’d advise to go with the former brands. Side note, the Brooks Brothers dress shirt says it’s a spread collar, but it definitely fits like a semi-spread.

3 Ways To Wear

Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-1-Full Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-1-Detail

True Vintage Revival TVR504Burberry Lightweight Lambskin Bomber Jacket 
Brooks Brothers White Milano Fit Spread Dress Shirt
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Plain Front Flannel Trousers
The Tie Bar Knitted Tie
The Tie Bar Brushed Straight Silver Tie Bar
Brooks Brothers Calfskin Belt
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Dress Shoe
True Vintage Revival Glasses

*NOTE: You choose the type of lenses (shaded, etc.) during checkout for the sunglasses above.

Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-2-Full

Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-2-Detail

Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Grey Suit Jacket 
Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Grey Suit Trousers
Brooks Brothers White Milano Fit Spread Dress Shirt
The Tie Bar Grenafaux Midnight Navy Tie
The Tie Bar Solid Pocket Square with Navy Border
IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Dress Shoe

Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-3-Full

Ashley-Weston-Semi-Spread-Collar-Dress-Shirt-Look-3-Detail

Burberry Prince of Wales Virgin Wool Suit Jacket 
Brooks Brothers White Milano Fit Spread Dress Shirt
J Brand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
The Tie Bar Solid Pocket Square with Burgundy Border
IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch
Brooks Brothers Calfskin Belt
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Dress Shoe

Outfit Inspiration

 

Model: Michael Tribby