This article is part of a series, helping young men to build their professional wardrobe with Indochino. I know I made many mistakes when I started my career, and there are some simple steps that everyone can take to make things much easier and better. It is possible to avoid looking back at old photos and having that "what did I think?" moment. Most importantly, it does not have to cost a lot of money or take a massive effort to get the basics covered and look good. Read on for some essential style advice and an overview of the top 4 Indochino shirts to buy when you are just starting out to build your professional wardrobe.
The perfect fit and the right material
In the end, it all comes down to fit and right after that, fabric. A well fitting $299 suit can potentially look better than a $1000 suit that fits like a bag. The same goes for shirts. But what makes a well-fitting dress shirt? In my opinion, it has to be slim fitting (independent of how fit you are), and it should not be labelled as wrinkle free or contain any artificial materials. That's the ultimate truth in my opinion. Yes, wrinkle free shirt materials did improve over time, and they are not quite the horrible polyester rags they used to be but still - are they necessary? Here is one tip: Hang your shirt on a high-quality hanger if it's wrinkly and spray it with a water filled spray bottle. Let it hang for a night and you are ready to go.
Regarding the fit: Wide shirts don't look good on anyone, skinny or portly. Some companies will tell you they invented the perfect shirt that you don't need to iron and the ultimate tech shirt made of a special high-tech polyester fibre, and I believe it's all nonsense. Ironing is an essential skill to learn for every man.
In general, follow the measurement guidelines Indochino suggests. You will want to show a bit of cuff, but it can be difficult to achieve if you mix OTR (off-the-rack) and MTM (made-to-measure) clothing. If you order both suit and shirt from Indochino, they will take care of this, but in other instances, you may have to shorten (and most likely also slim down) your suits sleeves. Don't overdo it or you will have troubles with blood flow after a few rounds of washing. You want a result like this. The Sartorialist also has an excellent piece on sleeve length.
A dress shirt is made to wear tucked, and you want to ensure it stays tucked. A whole day of moving around in the office, sitting down, getting up again, will cause short shirts to come untucked, and you will be awkwardly standing around all the time, stuffing your shirt back into your pants. Like I did for many years. Do yourself a favour and wear them longer, with Indochino you have the choice. Make them as long as your jacket even. Even if the shirt is very long, the additional fabric won't be visible, but it will stay tucked in nicely.
Endless options, different terms, it's confusing. They make you look at shapes of different faces, and usually, you can't tell what fits best for you. Make it easier for yourself at the beginning and just get a semi spread (Indochino calls it spread) collar. It's the kind of collar that always works, the medium point that Indochino advertises as the most versatile choice is a bit too conservative in my opinion.
Top 4 Essential Shirt
|White, Blue, Gingham and Striped Shirts are all you need for a good start|
Get two of these essential white shirts and always keep a spare one in your office for emergencies (trust me, the day will come when you need it).
A simple solid blue shirt. Get two of this one as well if you can.
The Tactician Light Blue Gingham Shirt - $129
Very versatile and yet different enough to notice.
Very versatile and yet different enough to notice.
Two shirts chosen are part of the basic shirts, prices ranging from $79 to $99, premium shirts are priced at $129. These four shirts are a good start. You can easily combine them with many suits & ties without risk. Stay away from solid black shirts and shirts with too many patterns. Impress by getting the basics covered first.
If you get these shirts above, you will start out with 6. That's not a lot, but it can work if you stick to a schedule. Keep 1 of the white shirts as an emergency shirt in your office or car. Needless to say, wear each shirt only for one day. Wash them on a Friday night and iron them when they are still a little wet on Saturday. Wash them at 30°C (unless you sweated a lot, in which case you can go to 40°C) and do not tumble dry unless you have an extra sensitive setting with low temperature.
Use the coupon SHIRTBUNDLES to get 3 shirts for $229. Get all 6 shirts for $458 (average of $76 per shirt) and save some money to spend on accessories. Or you get just 1 first to get the fit right, might make sense, but also Indochino good with shirts and they are easy to measure.
What do you think, would you have chosen different shirts or you would recommend a different company? Happy to hear from you in the comments!
Read more next week to find out about the essential shirt customization options and which accessories to get to complement your outfit.