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Choosing a Shirt

The shirt should be selected to complement the pattern of your suit. Generally speaking, if you have a plain suit then it is best to go for a patterned shirt to add some details and if you have a pinstripe suit then a plain coloured shirt will look more professional.


Different styles of shirt cuffs will dramatically change the look and feel of your shirt. Cuffs present a different perspective and level of formality. The most common type of cuff that you will be familiar with are barrel cuffs. These are the traditional button up variety which general are worn by lazy people, who just want a functional cuff that looks presentable. If you really want to make an impression you should go for French cuffs (either straight or curved). These require you to wear cufflinks to fasten the cuff, which can themselves contribute to the appearance of your shirt.

Common Errors

The one cardinal sin you MUST strive to avoid at all cost is to wear a shirt with a pocket on the chest. A tailor will claim that a breast pocket destroys the line of the suit. Of course those 12 square inches of cotton pocket, far thinner than the line of buttons alongside them, don't affect the look of your suit - unless you put something in it. But whether the pocket is full or empty is neither here nor there, pockets on shirts are generally considered to be poor taste and you would do well to avoid such offensive garments. Not too long ago, while drinking a pint in the Officers Mess bar I witnessed first-hand the reaction of  a certain Lt Colonel having spotted a newly commissioned subaltern enter the bar wearing what would otherwise have been a fairly smart shirt had it not been for the pocket on the left breast. After a short comical exchange remedial action was promptly taken and the offending pocket was promptly removed by force.