General shirting rules
Be elegant in all circumstances with our master tailor’s style guide on dress shirt, business shirt and weekend button-down shirt etiquette.
1. Iron your shirt carefully
Nothing ruins a stylish look like a cascade of wrinkles. There is no way a shirt is going to fall right if it isn’t sitting right on you. The only way to make sure the shirt is at its best is by ironing it. Quality shirts doesn’t mean anti-wrinkle material. Often, cotton advertised as anti-wrinkle has been treated with ammonia, which is both very polluting and bad for the skin. On the good side, a quality cotton like the one that we use, doesn’t wrinkle easily and irons out with ease. There will be no struggling to keep your Nakhle bespoke shirts pristine.
2. Button all the buttons on your dress shirt
Our made-to-measure collars are made for your neck and will not constrict you or give you headaches. There is no reason to keep any buttons open, which would stop you from knotting your tie on properly. The only exception to the rule? If you wear no tie of course.
3. The colour and pattern of a shirt should be chosen to complement your complexion and body type
If you are shorter, it is advised to wear a finer motif, a large windowpane design would not look complementary, and a small check pattern would probably fit much better. If you are tall, with longer arms, it might be a good idea to consider longer cuffs with double buttons. They would feel more proportionate to your body and look more pleasing to the eye. As for colour, it is important to consider your skin tone, hair, and eye colour. Of course, we can help you with your choices and advise you every step of the way.
What is the perfect fit?
There are quite a large number of measurements that come into the mind of a master tailor when he builds a shirt. But even without years of practice, and a measuring tape, there are a few rules everyone can test out.
1. You should be able to fit two fingers between your neck and the collar of your shirt, but no more than that. This makes sure that your collar sits right on you and will hold your tie elegantly, while always giving you the comfort you need and ease of movement.
2. The right shirt should give you a full range of motion to be both comfortable and practical. You should be able to sit without feeling any tightening around your waist and move your arms in every direction without feeling constricted.
3. There should be no excess fabric pooling around your waist or down the length of your arms. This is why off-the-shelf shirts can never be as perfect as a bespoke one made especially for all your unique body measurements.
4. Bespoke cuffs will not fall on your hands but will be adapted to your wrist size to fall at the perfect place. This means you can have the extra centimetres in the sleeve length needed to stretch your arms comfortably and move with ease without your sleeves ever pulling too far back on your arms.
5. A shirt should be adapted to your build. Contrarily to simple made-to-measure shirts, our master tailor with take your posture, shoulder shape and lifestyle into account when making your bespoke shirt. All of this affects the final product which will be, not only created from your measures, but made specifically to look perfect in your most comfortable posture.
Tucked in or untucked?
Dress shirts are made to be tucked in. Only casual shirts with straight side seams can be left untucked and are perfect for the casual-chic weekend and holiday look. Work, evening, and dress shirts are designed to be longer specifically to be tucked in, while casual shirts are cut shorter at the waist to fall pleasingly over the trousers.
Admittedly, there is also a question of silhouette, and usually only the younger, trimmer men can pull-off the untucked shirt look. If you don’t have a flat stomach, you risk having skin showing as you sit.
When you are getting bespoke shirts, it is important to remember how you intend to wear it, and what you need it for. Are you ordering a work shirt, a weekend one that you will sport with no tie and untucked? All this will affect the design and the recommendations the master tailor will offer you.
Under-shirt or on the skin?
There is a style legend going around that singlets shouldn’t be worn under white shirts as they show unfashionably under the fabric. This is only because the fabric used is too light.
Whether you want the comfort of an under-shirt or prefer to feel your precious bespoke garment directly on your skin is a question of personal taste and seasonality. After all, you might want more layers in winter and enjoy the breathable fabric in summer.
Because you are opting for a custom-made shirt, choosing every detail down to your fabric, you have the option for thicker material of wonderful quality at Nakhle Shirtmakers. And if you wear a vest, we can help you choose the ideal fabric that will never let any hint of it.
Tie or no tie?Once again this depends chiefly on the event you are wearing your shirt to and your personal style. What you must keep in mind is that a bowtie will require a different collar style on your shirt from a regular necktie.
The opening and the size of the points will be matched to the use you want to make of your shirt. If you are going without a tie entirely, generally keep the collar on the smaller side.
How to wear your jacket?
So what are the rules about your shirt once it is under a jacket? It seems quite a shame that such a wonderful item of clothes should be hidden. But don’t worry, it isn’t.
A small amount of shirt collar should always be visible above the jacket. Your shirt collar should complement your face as well as the kind of knot you tie in your neck wear.
This is why choosing the right colour for your shirt is so important. It might seem easy to just call out “white”, but there are many shades of white and you want to find the one that will fit you specifically.
Thinking about accessorising?
You might wonder how to accessorise your shirt, how to make it truly personal and what to pair it with?
If you are wearing a watch with your business or dress shirt, make sure it’s something elegant and sophisticated, not the bulky, shock-resistant number you wear playing golf.
You can also think about cufflinks which are always reappearing in men’s fashion magazines and have been paired recently even with casual shirts.
They are a symbol of sophistication and definitely give a personalised touch to your look. We have over 1000 models of German manufactured cufflinks to choose from and will be happy to help you choose the perfect ones for you.
Do you want a fully bespoke shirt?
About Charles Nakhle
Charles learnt the trade of bespoke shirts from some of the best tailors and most recognised labels in the world.
His mentor, a master tailor who approached shirt making with an engineer’s eye for precision and detail, taught Charles techniques and formulas for shaping, sizing, and grading.
Do you want a fully bespoke shirt?