Men’s shirts are at the centre of a one-man daily fashion show, and from high-quality work shirts to more casual shirts for weekend wear, they play an important role in deciding how a man looks overall throughout the changing seasons.
In the summer months cotton shirts allow the body to breathe and can be much more comfortable than synthetic fibres, especially if you’re required to wear a suit jacket over the top (100% cotton is the industry standard – all of ours are – but beware super slim fit or cheaper shirts, as these use man-made fibres as they are stretchy and cheaper respectively).
But as we move through autumn and into winter, how can you spruce up plain or striped cotton shirts to create a seasonal look? Here are some of our top suggestions
Your neck tie is probably much more welcome in autumn and winter, when it can help to keep your neck snugly wrapped up and prevent draughts from blowing down your shirt. As one of the central accessories of any smart outfit, its appearance should be given due consideration.
For autumn, consider plain neck ties in autumnal colours – rich browns or frosty blues are elegant options if you don’t want to go as outlandish as bright pumpkin orange. For the colder months of December – February think about darker blues and greys or a darker bordeaux red. Irrespective of whether it’s winter or still autumn,the tie should be darker than the shirt that it is paired with.
Patterned ties are also an alternative, especially if you’re in a role where a slightly more casual approach is acceptable, so look out for classic designs or and prints.
With many workplaces climate-controlled all year round, you might not need a major departure from your summer wardrobe. Our shirt subscription can keep you well stocked in new work shirts for the new season, but beyond that it could just be a case of accessorising.
Invest in a really excellent coat – thick and warm, and of a fabric dense enough to block the chilliest wind – and a matching set of scarf, gloves and hat (if you’re a hat-wearer). The added benefit here is that this outer layer can be cast off completely on arrival, so teamed with a good pair of smart winter boots, it gives you a suit of armour against whatever the elements may bring to your morning commute.
In addition, consider coordinated socks, cuff links and pocket squares. The mail-order service ‘Me, My Suit & Tie’ offer some sound advice here on how to decide which accessory will look best with a suit. In their blog post they note that “most suits tend to be blue, grey or black, but the trick is to look deeper. Many of these suits contain subtle flecks of colour within the material which, when matched with a similar colour tie, can result in a beautiful looking combination.”
Cotton shirts naturally allow moisture to circulate and escape your body, and this makes them a great option for layering. There are many different types of knitwear to layer over men’s work shirts. A smart jumper or sweater is the obvious choice, but cardigans can be comfortable and still look smart, even over casual shirts.
If you don’t like extra fabric on your arms, but you want your torso to be warmed up, choose a tank top. A plain tank top over a smart men’s striped shirt can create the centrepiece of a very smart outfit – similar in effect to wearing a waistcoat, but much more comfortable on a cold day.
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