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“Clothes make a man”_ when it comes to power dressing for men, this adage fits the bill completely. In the corporate world, your personality plays a major role in getting you the success you deserve. So, your clothes, being your ‘second skin’, should be a personality enhancer rather than a hindrance. In the competitive corporate sector, success comes to those who are presentable, confident and can create a positive impression on their superiors and clients. It goes without saying, that well-planned power-suits are the best bet when it comes to creating an impact.

The most important part of men’s formal attire is the shirt. Yes, it is your formal shirt that can make or mar your business suit! So it is worth the while to give some moments of consideration when it comes to selecting the right kind of shirt to create your signature corporate persona. In our fashion trend-driven society, every person, whether man or woman, is eager to make a fashion statement. Generally, a man never confesses to be shopaholic, but this does not necessarily mean that he is an ignorant and disinterested buyer.

The average metro-sexual man is so meticulous about his appearance that he can put most women to shame. Be informed buyers and look for certain key features while shopping for your formal shirts:

o The fit and mould of the shirt should enhance your build and frame.

o The color should not be too loud or too dull since it is the shirt that augments the glamour of your power suit. But remember that formal wear does not mean boring, understated and dull apparel. A smart dresser makes the best of the palette of colors available to him and keeps his suits/ trousers in mind while he is out shopping for shirts. The proper balancing of the patterns and solid colors between your shirt, suit, and tie would give the desired effect.

o A shirt with subtle detailing adds a touch of glamour to your look. But the detailing should not be too ornamental or loud. You should try to add a new dimension to your appearance but not overdo it.

o Break the monotony when it comes to the style and design of your shirts. Every shirt should offer a new dimension when it comes to the detailing of the fabric, pattern, collar, buttons and cuffs. Some men prefer tailor-made shirts as these would give the flexibility to play around with detailing and design. A well-stitched shirt with a firm construction is an indicator of a man’s attitude and status in the corporate world.

Take Proper Care Of Your Shirt: A careful dresser pays special attention to the maintenance of his shirt. After you have made a good purchase, it becomes your responsibility to maintain your shirts. Proper care would preserve the sheen and increase the longevity of your shirts. This would ensure that you need not buy shirts oftener than you would want to. Even an expensive shirt fails to make an impression if it is faded and sloppy-looking.

Wear: A responsible dresser would always make sure that his shirt is well-cleaned and well-ironed. Remember that you only have the first two minutes to make an impression, so make the most of it.

Keep these pointers in mind while you are going shopping and you would always be a smart buyer. Keep yourself updated about the latest fashion trends because the key to smart dressing is smart buying.

Formal shirts

In the UK, the term dress shirt is reserved for a particular type of formal shirt. There are formal day shirts for wearing with morning dress, and the white dress shirts used as eveningwear.

A day dress shirt is fairly similar to a normal shirt, and is usually white, with a stiff detachable collar, though other designs, such as a fine horizontal blue stripe, are also appropriate. Double cuffs are most common. This sort of shirt is also required to be worn by some barristers and judges.

An evening shirt, for wear with eveningwear, for example as part of black or white tie has some unique features. In the U.S., this shirt is often called a tuxedo shirt or tux. shirt. The shirt is always white.

The shirt required for white tie is very specific. It should have a detachable wing collar and be fastened with shirt studs instead of buttons on the front. The studs are normally mother of pearl set in gold or silver, but black onyx inlay is also permissible. The cufflinks should match the studs. The shirt front has panels made of different material from the rest of the shirt which are the only parts seen under the waistcoat. The shape of the panels, one on each side, is either rectangular, or the older U-shape (designed to sit under the older 1920s U-shaped waistcoats, now largely replaced by the more modern V-shape). The material for the panels is either layers of thick plain cotton that is heavily starched (this type is often called a boiled front shirt as the shirt needs to be put in boiling water to remove the starch before cleaning), or marcella (piqué) cotton. Marcella is more common, but a little less formal, though still appropriate, since it was originally designed to be used on formal evening shirts, as the ribbing can pick up more starch and create an even stiffer front. Traditionally, collarless shirts with a detachable wing collar fastened on with collar studs have been used, but all-in-one designs are occasionally seen, though this is considered incorrect and to give a poor appearance by many. Cuffs are single, and heavily starched (if the front is marcella, the cuffs usually match).

Black tie offers more leeway. Shirts may be soft (not starched), which gives the options of unstarched marcella or a pleated front, as well as the white tie shirts, which may also be worn with black tie. The collar is still sometimes a stiff high wing collar (common in America, though the attached variety is more popular there), or a turndown collar (more frequently seen in Britain). In past decades, particularly the 1970s, ruffled shirt fronts were made fashionable by Will Hunter, although they are now out of favour. Dress-studs are optional, and are onyx set in either silver or gold if used; otherwise the buttons are normally concealed under a placket. Cufflinks tend to be as simple and understated as possible, and harmonise with, if not match, the studs.

formal shirt

formal shirt

Men’s suits: An ill-fitting suit can be seen from miles away and has a damaging effect on your image. So getting the right fit in a suit and having it tailored is rather important, that is if you have any concern about how you might come across in an interview, to a client or to your peers. The first thing to do, if you haven’t already, is get properly measured (which any reputable retailer can do for you). This includes: neck, shoulders, sleeves, chest, waist and inseam. Once you know your size you are free to hit the dressing rooms. And when you do go shopping for men’s suits, keep these six things in mind:

Choosing a Fabric
Let’s get one thing clear, unless you have a closet full of suits and want something different, worsted wools are your best bet for a suit. These include gabardines or mid-weight corded wools. You will often find suits that say “Super 100” which are very popular these days–all this means is that the yarn has been twisted more often than the usual 60-80 twist wools. Either way they are considered mid-weight. And good fabric will spring back without wrinkling after it’s squeezed. Just remember that worsted wools wear well and are typically good year-round depending on where you live.

The Fit of Your Trousers
Make sure that the waistline of your trousers is comfortable and that you can stick two fingers into the waist while you’re wearing them. And as far as pleats are concerned, it’s usually a personal preference. However, as a general rule, pleats are better for those with larger tummies and not a good idea for those who are thin. This is because a flat front trousers accentuate your tummy if you have one and pleats help cover it up. And conversely, pleats make a skinny guy look even skinnier, and not in a good way.

The Hem on Your Trouser
Nothing says sloppy more than a pile of fabric at your ankle. Your pants should reach your shoes and have a slight break. Cuffed or uncuffed is your choice, but keep in mind that cuffless makes you look taller if you happen to be a little shorter and cuffs looks better on someone with long legs. Cuffs also appeal to a more mature consumer.

The Length of Your Sleeves
Make sure your sleeve length is right on, otherwise you will look like you borrowed someone else’s suit. If the sleeve covers your shirt cuff, it is too long. It should just reach the base of your thumb, revealing a half inch to an inch of your shirt cuff—very classy.

The Waist of the Jacket
The jacket should fit easily across your stomach. The traditional American cut suit with two buttons, which has been a mainstay for many years, is being replaced by suit jackets which are more fitted and have three and four buttons. However, the classic two-button style remains popular, and some two-button jackets offer a fresh twist with higher button placement similar to the three-button style and is often more flattering. Whether your preferred style is classic or modern, look for fitted waistlines that enhance the shape of your body. Getting a close fit at the waist is, do I dare say it?, a good thing (sorry Martha).

The General Fit of Your Suit
When it is all said and done, you should be able to stretch and bend easily in your suit. Make sure that you that you have free movement of your arms. As a test, bring your arms out straight in front of you, and also try sitting in a chair and pretend you are working. You should always be comfortable.