Men's dress shirts come in many different styles, usually determined by the shirt's fit and what type of cuff or collar it has. A basic dress shirt is a collared shirt, traditionally with long sleeves ending in cuffs, that buttons up the front. Fit may be tailored or standardized if the garment is ready made. The two most common types of cuffs on a dress shirt are the button or barrel cuff and the French cuff, while the more common collar styles on dress shirts include the point collar, the spread collar, and the button down collar. Other elements that contribute to the individual style of a dress shirt include what type of fabric is used to make the shirt, whether or not the shirt has breast pockets, and what type of buttons are used to close the shirt.
Dress Shirt Cuff
The most common and least formal cuff to see on an off-the-rack dress shirt is referred to as a button or barrel cuff. This type of cuff wraps around the wrist and closes with either one or two buttons. Another common type of cuff is the French, or double, cuff, which is considered more formal. A French cuff is folded over and held in place with a cuff link rather than a button. The most formal type of cuff is the single cuff, which is fastened with cuff links like the French cuff.
Dress Shirt Collar
There are various different styles of collar, which is the primary indicator of the formality of a shirt and here are three common type of dress shirt collars that you can commonly find in the market.
- Spread collars measure from around 3½ to 6 inches between the collar points, and the wider collars are often referred to as cutaway or Windsor collars after the Duke of Windsor. This city style is more formal, though it is common in Europe, and predominant in the UK.
- Point, straight, or small collars are narrow, with 2½ to 3¼ inches between the points of the collar.
- Button-down collars have points fastened down by buttons on the front of the shirt. Introduced by Brooks Brothers in 1896, they were patterned after the shirts of polo players and were used exclusively on sports shirts until the 1950s in America.