Addicted to novelty since 2001

Buying a Dress Shirt

I don’t know about you, but I get a special joy out of bringing a new dress shirt home and removing it from it’s packaging. Typically it’s full of pins, plastic widgets, cardboard and tissue paper. I feel like I’m disassembling a pistol or something. Nicholson Baker once wrote that the first time he felt like a man was the first time he received his pressed and folded shirts from the drycleaners.

Here’s an excellent, exhaustive article on buying a dress shirt:

On to cuffs. This is the easy part. You have a few options, but it’s mainly built-in buttons or holes for cuff-links. Again, personal style. A note on cuff-links, though, in case you want to wear them: never wear cuff-links if you’re not wearing a jacket. Otherwise you’ll look like a pirate who forgot to hide his treasure.

Arrrr…apparently I’ve been committing a fashion faux pas. On several occasions, I’ve worn a dress shirt with cuff-links and no jacket. I dig cuff-links, because they’re one of the few pieces of jewelry a man (or, at least, this man) can wear. Yet, on the West Coast, particularly in technology, it’s rare to require a suit for business. What’s the prevailing opinion on this?

4 Responses to “Buying a Dress Shirt”

  1. Jen

    Like a tie, belt, or shoes – it’s all about the level of “bling” if you will. Some simple and small cufflinks will look fine on a shirt sans jacket. Up the ante, and you up the ante of the whole outfit, which may then require a jacket. I think it also depends on the cut of the cuff. A larger cut cuff (and usually accompanying collar) may look a bit lost on a plain shirt without a jacket.

    And having spent one of my post-secondary Christmas breaks working in a Haberdashery – those little pins and widgets were the bane of my existence. Especially steaming out all of the creases they left.

  2. Troy Angrignon

    Hmmm, first cologne, now all this talk of dress shirts and suits. Okay Darren, share with the class, what’s going on?

    My take on cuff-links is that they look great….with a REALLY nice suit. More accurately, I find that all of the pieces of the outfit should be in the same class unless you are really bloody talented enough at this to be making a fashion statement by intentionally mixing say tennis shoes and dress shirt with cuff-links and the Armani jacket. I think that I would grade cuff-links around 8/10 on the formal scale and so I would match them with a really nice dress shirt and definitely a suitable suit jacket.

    As for the West coast not requiring a suit, I often wear mine here because of that. True, you stick out, but isn’t that the point? And besides, I LIKE wearing suits. (shudder)

  3. Olaf

    I’m a French Cuffs kind of guy myself. It’s hard to find nice cufflinks, though cufflinksworld.com has some real *charmers*. I’ve worn them with and without a coat, but I usually have a coat nearbye just in case the fashion police stop by. I like the 5-button suits with cufflinks, actually. I’m sure you know, but antique stores can have some real nice stuff. I’m not sure if the links I like are real old or for women, but they often present detailed reliefs of flowers or fillagree. Not something I see much of now, anyway.

  4. joke

    No cufflinks with khakis. With proper trousers, they’re OK, even sans jacket.

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