The Next Time You Need a New Dress Shirt, Buy One of These

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The best white dress shirts will always be indispensable. Maybe you just bought your first suit. (Congratulations, and good luck at that interview.) Maybe you just bought your 50th. (Congratulations, and enjoy that office with the complimentary coffee-pod machine in the corner. Love a good coffee pod.) Or maybe you’re somewhere in between. But wherever you are in your suit-buying life, and no matter your suit-buying budget, this much is true: you can definitely use another white dress shirt to wear with them.

They’re what you need for every conceivable life event. Don’t believe us? Here, watch. First day of work: wear a white dress shirt. Last day of work: white dress shirt. Wedding? White dress shirt. Bar mitzvah? Confirmation? Graduation? White dress shirt. Funeral? Condolences, flowers, and a white dress shirt. You get the idea. And the white dress shirt is what you need in relatively advanced fashion situations, too. Pitti Uomo peacocks, red carpet heroes, and charity-dinner all-stars all have one secret weapon—besides the animal-pelt jackets and shawl-collar tuxedos and floor-through apartments. They have perfect white dress shirts. While we’re at it, the right white dress shirt can even play it cool in more relaxed situations with a vintage pair of jeans and cowboy boots or for some high-low brilliance with a pair of baggy dress pants and skate shoes. But what separates the perfect from the workaday?

The Best White Dress Shirts for Men Shopping Guide

Here’s your answer: The perfect white dress shirt only needs to do a couple of things, but it needs to do them perfectly. Rule number one: no wimpy collars. Our favorites can all support a thick knot if that’s your thing, or will stand tall on their own sans tie. Rule two: They’re tailored to perfection. That often means that they’re on the trimmer side, but definitely not skin-tight. With a little boldness and well-thought proportion play, a white dress shirt can look smashing in a relaxed silhouette. But the same rule applies for any silhouette when it comes to tucking them into your pants. That is, a good white dress shirt should avoid that messy ballooning paper bag effect. Some of our picks are 100% cotton, some have a little stretch in the mix, but all of them are designed to stay crisp and are built to breathe.

And that, really, is reason enough to buy one, two, or all of the dress shirts we’ve picked out here. They’ll help you stay cool in every conceivable way—whether you’re on suit number one, 50, or somewhere in between.

The Best All-American (by Way of Japan) White Dress Shirt

Kamakura New York slim-fit broadcloth dress shirt

The Japanese have a knack for adopting elements of American culture, obsessing over it, and then selling it back to us better and purer than we do it ourselves. Blue jeans became a real thing over there beginning in the postwar ‘50s; now brands like Kapital are leading the pack in the denim game. On the culinary side of things, they saw our greasy cheesesteaks and raised us immaculate wagyu sandos. And after Ivy League style took hold in Japan, labels like Kamakura Shirts emerged to pick up the slack once the Brooks Brothers and J.Presses of the world began to wane in quality and veer from the true preppy-trad path. For a quarter-century now, Kamakura has been turning out top-notch, unmistakably American shirts with a price-to-quality ratio it’s sometimes hard to find stateside these days. This one is cut trim and streamlined from a pinpoint Oxford cloth, with the kind of perfectly-sized point collar guys like Paul Newman used to dig. It’s the sort of dress shirt you pick up and look over and mutter, “They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.” Only they do—just not here.

The Best White Dress Shirt For Your Next State Dinner

Charvet white double-cuff cotton shirt

If pedigree is a thing you care about—or, more precisely, can afford to care about—in your dress shirts, then Charvet is the move. The Parisian institution opened the world’s first shirt shop in 1838, conceived the first-ever shirts with attached collars and cuffs, and have dressed everyone from JFK and Obama to Proust and Matisse. Today, their shirts are meticulously constructed by a team of only 50 tailors—each trained for at least four years—from the most beautiful fabrics in the world, like this ultra-soft cotton number with an understated sheen and real-deal mother-of-pearl buttons. If you don’t think a plain white dress shirt can scream “PURE LUXURY,” it means you haven’t the privilege of slipping on one of these old-world grails.

The Best High-Fashion-Flex White Dress Shirt

Gucci cotton silk poplin shirt

Think there’s no room left to innovate on a white dress shirt? As per usual, Alessandro Michele wants you to think again. The ex-Gucci head honcho applied his signature a-couple-degrees-off-center vision to the most classic of all classics and, as was his wont, made it feel spectacularly new without stripping away any of its timelessness. To pull that trick off, he started with the collar—strong, pointed, made for wearing sans tie—and then worked his way down, subtly embellishing the body of the shirt with the maison’s legendary interlocking Gs and doing it all up in a subtly textured cotton-silk blend. You can absolutely suit it up to give your formalwear a freaky luxe twist, but more than any other option on this list it can stand entirely on its own—an attention-grabbing fit all in one package.

The Best Unfussy, No-Frills White Dress Shirt

COS regular-fit poplin shirt

Maybe you like to keep things as uncomplicated as possible. You Marie Kondo’d your wardrobe not too long ago, and all that you kept were some black jeans, a couple pairs of white sneakers, maybe a chore coat. This is the shirt that completes your austere ensemble. Even by white shirt standards it feels stark and minimalist, with a laser sharp slim cut and a well-proportioned collar. And, because it clocks in at just under $100, you can afford to buy a handful to repopulate your almost-bare closet.

The Best-in-the-Mall White Dress Shirt

J.Crew Ludlow premium fine cotton dress shirt

The gold standard of affordable dress shirts, thanks to its sturdy mid-size point collar, flattering trim cut, and opaque-enough-to-hide-your-nipples fabric. Don’t just buy one, either—take J.Crew up on their crazy-good deal and pick up three: one white, one pale blue, and one striped pink. (If you can’t quite work out the math, that’s a meager $175 for half a work week’s worth of unimpeachable outfits.)

The Best White Dress Shirt for the Guy Who Has a Closet Full of ‘Em

Bourienne Paris X “Apparat” shirt

Parisian label Bourrienne makes one thing and one thing only: pristine white dress shirts, each inspired by famous French flâneurs of old. Every season, the brand iterates on its central conceit to the Nth degree, working and reworking the defining tenets of its hero product until they’re tweaked to perfection. You could certainly roll with a more conventional silhouette here, but where’s the fun in that? A standing collar says “I dress up for nobody but myself—and I might be the billionaire co-founder of Twitter.”

Plus 16 More White Dress Shirts We Love

Tom Ford button shirt

Nary is there a red carpet event without Tom Ford. That’s because the guy is a master of tailoring and can whip up an impeccable dress shirt as easily as he can craft a knife-sharp tux.

Uniqlo Super non-iron slim-fit long-sleeve shirt

Uniqlo’s shirt serves up major value with its crispy button-up. It’s made using 2-ply ultra-long staple cotton which means it’s both strong and soft, and the updated collar steers away from the overly slim collars we’re used to seeing at this price point.

Polo Ralph Lauren Regent custom fit poplin shirt

When in doubt, Ralph is always a solid bet. The Regent fit is a dialed-in silhouette smack-dab between slim and classic so you’ll look like you already took it to the tailor.

Jan-Jan Van Essche #90 shirt

Just because we’re talking about white dress shirts doesn’t mean everything has to be so tailored. Enigmatic designer Jan-Jan Van Essche’s #90 shirt is supremely relaxed with just enough panel detailing to say that it ain’t your typical shirt.

The Armoury x 100Hands cotton pinpoint spread collar shirt

Tens of hours of handwork can go into a single shirt made by the artisans over at 100Hands. When all that painstaking craftsmanship is combined with the refined silhouette of the folks over at The Armoury, the result is butting up against perfection.

Alex Mill Easy shirt

We’ve all gotten the wedding invitation that says the vibe is ‘casual-formal’. Okay, but like, but what’s the split?. For those, this is the shirt to wear. Sure, you can press it to a crisp, but it’s meant to be rumpled and carefree.

Thomas Sweeney Super 130s cotton-blend twill tuxedo shirt

Normally, a cotton-blend dress shirt results in a product that feels cheap and artificial. Somehow, Thomas Sweeney’s cotton-Tencel blend is far from that. It feels luscious, silky, and surprisingly breathable thanks to the generous helping of Tencel.

Brooks Brothers “Milano” dress shirt

That old-school Brooks Brothers look, infused with a whole lot of new-school sweat-battling tech.

Nordstrom trim-fit non-iron dress shirt

Nordstrom’s signature button-up cracked our Best Blue Dress Shirt list, and surprise surprise, it’s also great in white.

Brioni cotton poplin shirt

Brioni’s Bond-approved dress shirts–the venerable Italian tailoring label kitted out Daniel Craig in Casino Royale—don’t come cheap, but international-man-of-mystery looks rarely do.

Sid Mashburn poplin dress shirt

Affable southern haberdasher Sid Mashburn (that’s his name on the label) swears by this shirt, a swanky slim-not-skinny number cut from primo Italian cotton.

Mfpen Exact shirt

Mfpen’s Exact shirts are a great option for leaning into the oversized look (just make sure you pair it with some billowy trousers). And as a bonus, this shirt is also made with deadstock fabric so you can feel a little better about your carbon footprint.

Theory stretch cotton shirt

Clean, polished, and fits like a charm—plus a touch of stretch for good measure.

Bonobos jetsetter stretch dress shirt

You know what’s smarter than calling the hotel ahead of your arrival to demand an ironing board in your suite? Buying a shirt that ensures you’ll never have to call again.

Calvin Klein non-iron stretch dress shirt

Clean, crisp, and classic, from the brand that made clean, crisp, classics its signature.

Drake’s cotton poplin shirt

Soft, slightly shiny, and ready to help your dress shirt roster get its summer glow on.

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