Most dress shirts are mostly made from one of three fabrics. Broadcloth, which is a tightly woven plain fabric which gives a smooth and crisp look. The second fabric is called Oxford. It is a basket weave which gives the shirt a more causual appearance. The final fabric, Cotton, is the most popular with shirts either made completely with cotton or a synthetic / cotton blend. The better the quality of the cotton the stronger the fabric and the smoother the surface.
The difference between a dress shirt and a casual shirt is that when you buy a casual shirt, you look for the size that is based on overall size, small, medium or large, while a dress shirt is sized by collar and sleeve length. Another difference is that dress shirts have collars that are designed to allow a tie to be worn without ruining the style of the shirt.
Make sure that the shirt collar style reflects the lapel style of the suit. Match wide lapels with wide collars, thin with thin. If you are looking to go sans tie when you wear your shirt and suit, make sure that the shirt collar is on the smaller size.
Of course, when you are wearing a suit and shirt, you need something to tie it all together and what better than, wait for it, a tie. A quick run down of materials commonly used for ties.
Wool ties are mostly used for casual wear and designed thinner than the average tie. They are also knitted so that they are thicker and can actually insulate the wearers neck.
Polyester ties are the cheapest but are also stiffer and usually don’t look as good. When you think of ties with cartoon characters on them, they are polyester!
The most popular material, silk, creates soft and smooth ties that look good. It actually reflects the light with a soft shine that draws attention to the wearer.
Of course, what makes a tie the tie is the fact that it is tied with a know. There are several commonly used ties such as the the Four-in-hand, the Double Knot, the Windsor Knot, the Half Windsor and of course, the Bow tie.
The next article will deal with tying the ties and knoting the knots!