The 9 Best Men's Dress Shirts of 2021
Dress up or down with these stylish picks
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Dress shirts are a wardrobe essential for men. They're versatile enough for formal business attire or to elevate a more casual look. From classic to trendy styles, here are the best men’s dress shirts for every size and budget.
Best Overall: Nordstrom Smartcare Pinpoint Dress Shirt
Comfortable yet stylish, Nordstrom’s Smartcare Pinpoint Dress Shirt offers great quality for the price. Even better, it’s machine washable; just make sure to tumble dry on low and hang it up immediately after laundering.
In addition to a classic white, this dress shirt is available in various colors: There’s a standard shade of blue as well as a lighter blue, which is better for warmer climates and seasons. No matter what color you choose, however, the button-down rounded collar and single button cuff make this shirt suitable for most men.
Best Splurge: Emporio Armani Check Dress Shirt
The Emporio Armani Check Dress Shirt might be a splurge, but it’s absolutely worth it. Because it’s made of premium cotton, it should last for years to come with proper care. Keep in mind that while this shirt is machine washable, it’s best to dry clean it as the fibers aren’t wrinkle-free.
Made in Italy, this dress shirt features a point collar and buttoned barrel cuffs. The multi-colored check design easily complements most suits or jackets, along with a solid-colored tie. Sizes range from 15 to 18.
Related: The Best White Dress Shirts
Most Comfortable: Bonobos Lightweight Flannel Shirt
The soft, stretchy material of Bonobos' Lightweight Flannel Shirt moves and gives in a way most traditional dress shirts do not. Not only is it great for comfort, but also for dressing down a more formal look.
Best of all, Bonobos offers a generous number of sizing and fit options. This shirt is available in sizes XS to XXL as well as tailored, slim, and standard cuts. Choose from three lengths (regular, short, and long), as well as a slew of colors and styles including Green, Red Jaspe, Dark Blue, Grey Donegal, and Black Donegal.
Best Lightweight: Everlane Linen Standard Fit Shirt
Everlane’s Linen Shirt is an excellent option for summer. Its material breathes better and feels lighter than standard cotton or synthetic fabrics. It also has a more casual and relaxed look compared to most dress shirts.
There are various styles and colors available, from solid hues like White and Black to Stripe and Pinstripe designs. Note that most, though not all, of the styles come in sizes XS to XXL. This dress shirt is also machine washable.
Best French Cuff: Brooks Brothers Madison Dress Shirt
French cuff shirts are a great way to elevate any look, such as this Brooks Brothers' Dress Shirt. Ideal for formal occasions, it’s a classic that’s impossible to go wrong with. From White to Pink, it’s also easy to find a color that'll complement your outfit.
Brooks Brothers makes this shirt in a range of cuts: Soho (extra slim), Milano (slim), Regent (fitted), and Madison (classic). Better yet, this dress shirt comes in a choice of both sleeve length and neck size; sleeve length is available in sizes 32 to 34, while neck size comes in 14.5 to 20. For a special touch, you can have up to three letters monogrammed in a variety of styles and placements including the forearm, waist, cuffs, and above the pocket.
Best Non-Iron: Tie Bar Gingham Non-Iron Dress Shirt
If you're someone who dreads ironing, this Tie Bar Non-Iron Dress Shirt is the perfect pick. Made from 100 percent cotton, this wardrobe staple wins points for comfort. Plus, it's machine washable and can be thrown in the dryer.
The dress shirt's gingham pattern is also a fun way to add some texture to an outfit. Six colors are available including Aqua, Green, and Grey, and you’ll probably want to stock up on multiples as Tie Bar offers discounts on quantities of three. Keep in mind that the shirt is only available in a Trim Fit.
Best Slim Fit: Ralph Lauren Slim Fit Oxford Shirt
If slim-fit dress shirts flatter your body best, opt for Ralph Lauren’s Oxford Shirt. Made of mercerized cotton, this wrinkle-free shirt requires minimal maintenance. Colors like Blue, White, and Pink are available with white stitching. While Ralph Lauren makes this shirt in sizes 14.5 to 18.5, note that not all sizes may be available for all colors.
There are even options for monogramming this shirt: Choose from 10 different styles of embroidery and an array of thread color choices, though monograms are limited to the left cuff. Keep in mind that this dress shirt is 5.25 inches slimmer at the waist than the brand’s standard fit.
Related: The Best Men's Dress Pants
Best Print: Eton Micro Floral Print Dress Shirt
If solid colors aren’t your style, you'll love the subtle floral print of Eton's dress shirt. The shirt is made of 100 percent cotton, and although machine washable, it’s probably best to send it to the dry cleaner as the material isn’t wrinkle-free.
This versatile shirt has convertible French cuffs, so it can be worn with or without cufflinks. The French placket and spread collar also give it a polished look. With or without a tie, this shirt truly elevates a simple-looking suit or blazer.
Related: The Best Ties
Best Budget: Goodfellow & Co Long Sleeve Button-Down Shirt
If you're on a tight budget, opt for this Goodfellow & Co Long Sleeve Button-Down Shirt. Very size-inclusive, it’s made in sizes small to 2XL. Despite the price, the quality of the material is high. This dress shirt is made of 98 percent cotton and 3 percent Spandex, allowing it to have a stretch and give you won’t often find with low-priced shirts. Several styles and colors are available, including White, Black, Horizon Blue, Grey, and Lilac. Better yet, the shirt is machine washable.
Related: The Best Work-From-Home Clothes
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).
What to Look for When Buying a Dress Shirt
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.
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.
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.