The Foundation: White Dress Shirt

The white dress shirt is the most imperative component of any gentlemen’s wardrobe. Like most of men’s garments, it has English origins, initially worn as evening wear and to formal events. The color of this garment makes it a basic necessity, the shirt being all white allows it to be worn with virtually any ensemble and in any setting. From that initial interview with P&G, to the Annual White House Correspondents Gala, the white dress shirt is the “go-to” garment. Though I must warn you that all white dress shirts are not the same, and the details of the shirt depict which style  is appropriate for certain settings. Let us discuss, first, the different collar styles…….

The Classic, Spread, Semi-Spread, and Button-Down collars are the most recognizable styles, and the most frequently purchased. The Brooks Brothers introduced the  button-down collar in 1896, this style of collar creates a more casual type of dress shirt, commonly worn with jeans or khakis. There are other more distinct styles, like the Italian-Spread and British-Spread collars, these two collars have specific angles at which the collar is cut. An Eyelet collar is specifically used with tie pins, but we will discuss that in the post concerning a gentlemen’s accessories. I know that it is hard to choose a specific style when all of them can be used, so you can do 1 of 2 options, either buy a shirt with every collar style or buy one shirt with detachable collars or “Freemont Collars”.

Said to be invented in 1827 by a wife, in Troy, New York,  named Hannah Montague, who cut off her husband’s collar, washed it, and was sewn back on. It was commercialized but did not gain popularity until the late 1920’s. It is held down with studs implanted into a “Tunic Collar”, which is a band of fabric around the collar with a hole, for insertion, in the back of the shirt.  Now we can discuss the cuff styles………..

Cuff styles, like most of fashion, is left up to personal style, but I will say that french cuffs are common occurrence in formal settings.

As I stated before, you could buy multiple shirts with different collars and cuffs, but here at CVC we are a “League of Extraordinary Dressers,” emphasis on the “extra”. This means that we are held to a higher standard of dress, so I recommend having your shirts custom-made, which guarantees quality, satisfaction, and a tailored fit that no retail store can offer.


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