What is a dress shirt?

striped shirt
The striped shirt with double collars

A dress shirt is simply a buttoned up shirt with a collar, long sleeves and a wrist cuff. The shirt is usually made from cotton fabric and dyed into various patterns and colors. However, more expensive dress shirts are made from silk. Most people buy mass produced dress shirts as they are cheaper to purchase, so they do not necessarily wear the best fitting shirts. The best shirts to wear are the tailored shirts as they will cater for the individuals own body shape.

The perfect shirt should have a two finger space in the collar when buttoned. Have a tight enough wrist so that that the buttons should be undone in order to release the shirt. The arm length should not bunch more than 1 inch at the sleeve when the arms are extended. The shoulder points should extend only to the end of the shoulder. There should be 1-3 inches of spare shirt in the chest and waist when fully buttoned. The most commonly produced dress shirt is a plain white shirt. It is perfect for any formal occasion as the shirt will always look smart and will go well with most accompanying suits or blazers.

Not far behind the solid color pattern is the striped shirt which can be seen to look more casual. It does however convey a sense of business and success, and is popular in the big companies. The most relaxed pattern of shirt is the check shirt. These shirts give the greatest variety of design and also allow the wearer the freedom to use the shirt in more relaxed settings. However, it does give the purchaser the greatest problem in choosing the right combination of suit, tie and shirt in order to avoid a fashion statement disaster.

PVH company
PVH a top 300 company in sales in the USA

The cuffs can either be the single cuffs which are buttoned into place or the more formal double option which are held in place by cufflinks. People who work in the high end institutions tend to wear cufflinks and double cuffs as the cufflinks gives an opportunity to portray an image of style. The dress shirt has proved to be big business and has attracted major companies who have supplied the shirts to the market. The largest seller of dress shirts in the world today is Van Heusen and they have been in operation since 1910.

The original company started when Dutch immigrant John Van Heusen met and teamed up with established shit maker Isaac Phillips. By 1919 they had patented their own collar and in 1921 they were set up with their famous advertising slogan “the World’s Smartest Collar”. In 1974 Queen Elizabeth issued the company a Royal Warrant and they were appointed the official clothier of Buckingham Palace. Today the company has over 300 stores in 70 different stores with sales of over a billion US dollars each year.

In 2011 the company was renamed PVH, the Phillips Van Heusen Corporation, and is now a public company acquiring other major retail outlets such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Speedo and Arrow. Van Heusen is not the only large dress shirt manufacturers in the world today, but it is a great example of a company that has grown with the industry. Due to its own creativity in production it has been supplying shirts to the public for nearly a century now and this never ending market means that the success of the company appears to be fairly certain for the foreseeable future.