The 12 Best Men's Dress Shirts of 2021

Dress up or down with these stylish picks

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Dress shirts are a men’s wardrobe essential. Whether you work in an office that requires formal business attire or you need something to elevate a more casual look, every man needs a few dress shirts in his wardrobe. 

No matter what shirt you choose, it’s important to prioritize the fit. According to fashion stylist Ali Levine, a man’s dress shirt should fit comfortably across the chest, yet have enough room to move. “A shirt should fit snugly, but not too tight, especially across the back and under the armpits.” 

Whether you prefer a more classic or trendy look, no matter your size or budget, here are the best men’s dress shirts to buy right now.

Best Overall: Nordstrom Smartcare Traditional Fit Pinpoint Dress Shirt

Nordstrom Smartcare Traditional Fit Pinpoint Dress Shirt

Courtesy of Nordstrom

If you want to buy a dress shirt that’s comfortable, stylish, and good quality for the price, Nordstrom’s Smartcare Traditional Fit Pinpoint Dress Shirt checks every box. But while you’ll love this shirt, your dry cleaner probably won’t feel the same way because it’s machine-washable. Just make sure to tumble dry on low and hang it up immediately after laundering. 

With all the cash you’ll save by cleaning it on your own, you may want to buy more than one. Fortunately, this shirt is currently available in three colors. There’s a standard shade of blue as well as the somewhat lighter Blue Hyacinth, which is a better choice for warmer climates and seasons. Men who prefer a trendier look will likely go for the Black Rock color.

This shirt is made of 100 percent cotton, which Levine says is the best fabric for men’s shirts. “Cotton is the best fabric because it is comfortable and easy to clean.” She also shares that cotton blends such as cotton and cashmere and cotton and linen can work just as well. However, each shirt can feel different.

Best Value: Uniqlo Easy Care Slim-Fit Long Sleeve Shirt

Uniqlo Easy Care Slim-Fit Long Sleeve Shirt

 Courtesy of Uniqlo

A gingham pattern is a great way to add some color and texture to an outfit. The timeless aesthetic is something you can wear for years to come. Six colors are available: Aqua, Classic Blue, Green, Light Yellow, Bright Pink, and Grey. So, you’ll probably want to stock up on multiples, which is a good idea because Tie Bar offers discounts on quantities of three.

Made from 100 percent cotton, this exceptional wardrobe staple wins points for comfort. It’s also machine washable. Still, you’ll want to read the directions on the label and make sure to hang it buttoned in your closet as soon as it comes out of the dryer.

Are you the kind of man who absolutely dreads ironing his shirts? That’s not a problem if you buy Tie Bar’s Gingham Non-Iron Dress Shirt. Keep in mind that this shirt is only available in a Trim Fit, so if that doesn’t flatter your body, it’s best to opt for something else.

Just because dress shirts can be expensive doesn’t mean they have to be. Whether you’re on a budget or currently working from home and don’t want to spend too much money on business casual clothing right now, Uniqlo’s Easy Care Slim-Fit Long Sleeve Shirt is a great value for the price.

 This shirt was designed with comfort in mind. Made of 2-ply, 100 thread count cotton, the material easily stretches and gives as you need it to. The shoulders are also curved, making them slightly looser than the rest of the shirt, which means you won’t feel restricted or have the need to adjust and unbutton. Because it is available in sizes XXS-3XL, it can fit men with a variety of body types.

 With several colors available including White, Black, Blue, and Navy, it’s easy to make this inexpensive shirt your go-to for everything from suits to more polished looks.

Related: The Best Work-From-Home Clothes

Best Splurge: Emporio Armani Check Dress Shirt

Emporio Armani Check Dress Shirt

courtesy of saks fifth ave

The Emporio Armani Check Dress shirt might be a splurge, but it’s absolutely worth every penny. Because it’s made of premium cotton, with proper care, it should last for years to come. Keep in mind that while this shirt is machine washable, it’s still best to send it to the dry cleaners. That’s because it’s not only easier on the fabric, but also because the fibers aren’t wrinkle-free, it will likely need to be professionally pressed anyway.

Made in Italy, this garment has a refined look featuring a point collar and buttoned barrel cuffs. The multi-colored check design easily complements most suits or jackets from navy to grey or even black. But keep in mind this design pairs best with a solid-colored tie and may look too busy with certain prints. At the same time, it’s versatile enough to polish [off] khakis or chino pants. Sizes and half sizes range from 15-18.

Most Comfortable: Bonobos Brushed Button-Down Shirt

Bonobos Brushed Button-Down Shirt

Courtesy of Bonobos 

While many dress shirts have a reputation for being difficult to move around in and stiff, the Bonobos Brushed Button-Down Shirt is the exact opposite. The soft, stretchy material moves and gives in a way most traditional dress shirts do not. This is the best option not only for comfort but also to dress down a more formal look.

One unique thing about Bonobos is its generous number of choices in terms of sizing and fit. This shirt is available in sizes XS-XXL as well as Tailored, Slim, and Standard cuts.  For those unfamiliar, a tailored fit is somewhere between a slim and traditional fit. Choose from three lengths: regular, short, and long.

The shirt is currently made in six unique colors and styles. Green is currently the only solid while Red Jaspe, Dark Blue, Grey Donegal, and Black Donegal have a texture to them for a less traditional look. Navy Ink Plaid has the most casual aesthetic of all the options.

Most Stylish: Pink Shirtmaker Tailored Fit Winchester Collar End On End Double Cuff Shirt

Pink Shirtmaker (formerly Thomas Pink) has some of the sharpest shirts available, especially The Tailored Fit Winchester Collar End On End Double Cuff Shirt. These shirts feature a white collar and either a pink or purple body. The two-tone look is more stylish than a typical solid colored dress shirt, yet is still traditional enough for formal offices and events like weddings and conferences.

Made of Italian cotton with an end on end weave, this garment is designed to have a subtle depth of color. The tailored fit has a tapered waist, but a roomy chest, so it is comfortable to move around in. The French seams are extra durable. 

If most of your shirts tend to lose their buttons, that’s something you won’t have to worry about with this one. Every button, which is made from mother of pearl, is lock-stitched and whipped in place. Even with average wear and tear, it should stay on for the life of the shirt.

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Best Casual: J.Crew Slim Ludlow Wrinkle-Free Stretch Cotton Poplin Shirt

If you aren’t currently going into the office, but want a casual dress shirt for Zoom meetings, J. Crew’s Slim Ludlow Wrinkle-Free Stretch Cotton Poplin Shirt is an ideal option. Made of cotton and elastane, it’s machine washable, so you can eliminate those annoying trips to the dry cleaner. 

Available in sizes XS-XXXL, it’s an easy go-to for the man who likes a slim fit best. 

This shirt is also slightly shorter than the brand’s original Ludlow. So it can be worn both untucked and tucked, which makes it extra versatile. The sleeves were also designed to be worn normally or unbuttoned and rolled up. 

Better yet, it comes in a generous range of colors and styles. White, Fairweather Blue, Light Pink On End, and Montclair Navy are the most formal options. On the other end of the spectrum, the Carlson Multi Stripe Blue is the most casual choice, while the blue and pink gingham colors are somewhere in between.

[This item is sold out at J Crew website. Here is a similiar item

https://www.jcrew.com/p/mens_category/shirts/dress_shirts/slimfit-bowery-wrinklefree-stretch-cotton-shirt/AV829]

Best Lightweight: Everlane Men's Linen Standard Fit Shirt

Everlane Men's Linen Standard Fit Shirt

Courtesy of Everlane

Linen shirts are ideal for men who have a tendency to be warm or work in a place where the temperature is just a little too high. Levine likes this fabric because it’s a great way to make an outfit look pricier than it is. “The quality and aesthetic of this fabric is an overall a luxe and expensive look”

So, the Everlane’s Men’s Linen Standard Fit Shirt is a truly excellent choice. This material breathes better and feels lighter than standard cotton or synthetic fabrics. It also has a somewhat more casual and relaxed look compared to most dress shirts. 

There are eleven different styles and colors available. So if this shirt fits you well, you’ll likely want to stock up on a few. White, India Ink, Black, Midnight, and Light Sage are the choices for solids. While Sage, Midnight, and White are available in a windowpane design, which is a great alternative to plaid. Striped and pinstripe materials are also available. Most, but not all of the styles are available in sizes XS-XXL.

Best French Cuff: Brooks Brothers Stretch Dress Shirt

Brooks Brothers Stretch Dress Shirt

 Courtesy of Brooks Brother

Cufflinks are a great way to uniquely accessorize each outfit according to Levine, “You can get printed ones, patterned ones, colorful, shiny, different shapes, different metals, so many different types. They can instantly change up a look of a shirt from vintage to modern or super trendy” she says. 

So if you like to wear them, you’ll definitely want to invest in some French Cuff shirts, such as the Brooks Brothers Stretch Dress Shirt. Ideal for the most formal of aesthetics, it’s a classic that’s impossible to go wrong with. No matter what color you choose, White, Blue, Pink, or Light Blue, it’s easy to find one that compliments your outfit. 

Brooks Brothers makes this shirt in a range of cuts: Soho (extra slim), Milano (slim), Regent (fitted), and Madison (classic).

Better yet, unlike most options on this list, this shirt comes in a choice of both sleeve length and neck size. Sleeve length is available in sizes 32-34, while neck length comes in 14.5-20. 

For an extra special touch, you can also have up to three letters monogrammed in a variety of styles and locations including the forearm, waist, cuffs, and above the pocket.

Best Non-Iron: Tie Bar Gingham Non-Iron Dress Shirt

Tie Bar Gingham Non-Iron Dress Shirt

 Courtesy of Tie Bar

Are you the kind of man who absolutely dreads ironing his shirts? That’s not a problem if you buy Tie Bar’s Gingham Non-Iron Dress Shirt. Keep in mind that this shirt is only available in a Trim Fit, so if that doesn’t flatter your body, it’s best to opt for something else.

Made from 100 percent cotton, this exceptional wardrobe staple wins points for comfort. It’s also machine washable. Still, you’ll want to read the directions on the label and make sure to hang it buttoned in your closet as soon as it comes out of the dryer.

A gingham pattern is a great way to add some color and texture to an outfit. The timeless aesthetic is something you can wear for years to come. Six colors are available: Aqua, Classic Blue, Green, Light Yellow, Bright Pink, and Grey. So, you’ll probably want to stock up on multiples, which is a good idea because Tie Bar offers discounts on quantities of three.

Best Budget: Goodfellow & Co Men's Standard Fit Long Sleeve Dress Button-Down Shirt

Goodfellow & Co Men's Standard Fit Long Sleeve Dress Button-Down Shirt

 Courtesy of Target

If the price is your main priority when buying a dress shirt, Goodfellow & Co Men’s Standard Fit Long Sleeve Button-Down shirt is the best choice. Very size-inclusive, it’s made in sizes small to 2XL.

Despite the price, the quality of the material is high. This shirt is made of 97 percent cotton and 3 percent elastane, allowing it to have a stretch and give you something that you won’t often find at this low of a cost. 

Several styles and colors are available. White, Sky Blue and White are ideal for the office. There are also checked prints in Blue and Sky Green, perfect for adding a sophisticated touch to jeans or chinos. The Navy pindot fabric has a fun, casual vibe, while Black is a good go-to for dinner at a trendy restaurant. No matter which one you choose, you’ll have plenty of money left over to buy that expensive blazer you’ve been eying.

Best Slim Fit: Polo Ralph Lauren Slim Fit Oxford Shirt

Polo Ralph Lauren Slim Fit Oxford Shirt

 Courtesy of Ralph Lauren

Slim fit shirts should fit close to the body and taper by the waist. “It should add shape as well,” says Levine. Polo Ralph Lauren’s Slim Fit Oxford Shirt is an ideal slim fit shirt. It’s classic Ralph Lauren style in every single way right down to the brand’s signature polo horse emblem. Men who already wear Ralph Lauren shirts should note that this one is 5.25 inches slimmer at the waist than the brand’s standard fit. 

Made of mercerized cotton, this wrinkle-free shirt requires minimal maintenance. Three colors are available: White, Light Pink, and Light Purple with white stitching.

While Ralph Lauren makes this shirt in sizes 14.5-18.5, note that not all sizes may be available for all colors.

If you like monograms, you’ll particularly love this shirt because there are so many options for monogramming. Choose from ten different styles of embroidery and many more thread color options available in standards like black, shades of navy, and red to brighter hues like yellow and even hot pink. There’s just one minor issue, which is that monogramming is limited to the left cuff.

Best Print: Eton Slim Fit Micro Floral Print Dress Shirt

Eton Slim Fit Micro Floral Print Dress Shirt

Courtesy of Nordstrom

If solid shirts aren’t your style and you consider yourself a fashion enthusiast, you’ll definitely want to add Eton’s Slim Fit Micro Floral Print Dress Shirt to your cart. The blue floral print has a fun look for the man who takes fashion seriously, but not too seriously.

This shirt is made of 100 percent cotton, and although machine washable, it’s probably best for most people to send it to the dry cleaner. This is because the material isn’t wrinkle-free and must be lined dried, which means it will also need to be ironed. 

But the shirt is certainly worth the maintenance because it’s so versatile. It has convertible French cuffs, so it can be worn with or without cufflinks. The French placket and spread collar with collar stay give it a polished look. With or without a tie, this shirt truly elevates a simple-looking suit or blazer.

[The item is sold out at the Nordstrom link provided. I found some similar shorts -- links below

https://www.saksfifthavenue.com/product/eton-slim-fit-micro-floral-print-dress-shirt-0400012767428.html

https://www.neimanmarcus.com/p/eton-mens-slim-fit-floral-dress-shirt-prod237340200?utm_source=google_shopping

https://www.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/eton-cotton-poplin-garment-washed-floral-print-contemporary-fit-dress-shirt?ID=3649840&pla_country=US

Final Verdict

Overall, our top pick is Nordstrom’s Pinpoint Dress Shirt (view at Nordstrom) for its classic, button-down style. It’s a solid go-to for work and occasions that call for something nice. For a more comfortable option, go with Bonobos' Flannel Shirt (view at Bonobos). It’s made from a stretchy, soft twill and comes in a myriad of colors and sizes as well as three fits (tailored, slim, and traditional). [The Bonobos Flannel Shirt is no longer in the build].

What to Look for When Buying a Dress Shirt

Fit

Most dress shirts come in traditional, slim, and regular fits. When looking for a shirt, be sure to measure your neck size as well as arm and torso length—you don’t want it to be too tight or too loose. Generally speaking, opt for one that fits snug around the shoulders, and you should be able to fit one finger between your neck and the collar. 

Fabric

Cotton, linen, broadcloth, flannel, twill, and chambray are the most commonly used fabrics. Cotton, flannel, linen, and twill are more lightweight and breathable whereas broadcloth and chambray are more sturdy. There are also blended weaves, though all are good options for everyday wear. Also, note that thread count makes a difference in terms of quality and durability, and certain fabrics are less prone to wrinkles than others.

Craftsmanship

The quality of a dress shirt comes down to its craftsmanship. Always pay attention to fine details such as seams, buttons, and stitching. Features like tightly-sewn buttons, clean stitching, matching patterns, symmetrical collars, and split yokes are some of the markers of a well-made dress shirt. 

Meet the Expert

This roundup was written by Amanda Lauren, a lifestyle writer who covers fashion and office accessories for The Balance and The Balance Small Business.