The black dress shirt is a classic article of clothing that has been popular since the days of Al Capone and before. Black is a classic color that goes with just about anything, and a black dress shirt can both form the basis of and complete an outfit in the best ways possible. The key is not to go overboard and to know when to stop with the accessories.
Men’s Shirts Broken Down: Understanding the dress shirt
It might be true that fashion goes around with the same pieces going in and out of style however they always come back with a new name. It’s easy to get lost in the maze when this happens so we’re here to breakdown men’s shirts for you once and for all
The Formal Shirt
This shirt is as popular today as it was a decade ago. It comes with stiff collars, long sleeves, and buttons down throughout the length of the front. This shirt is worn under suits and tuxedos and paired with bow ties and neckties to give a sharp and formal finish. It is the peak of formality in men’s shirts and is reserved for flashy and classy events.
The Sport Shirt
The sport shirt is the dress shirt’s loud and bold cousin. Quite literally! While the two look somewhat similar in design, sports shirts often have bold prints and patterns, decorative pockets, and collars that make them stand out. Their materials are also more relaxed as they are made to be comfortable and worn out of formal settings.
The Polo is an upgrade to the plain old t-shirt and a downgrade from a shirt. The polo has a collar and two or three buttons below the collar giving them a relaxed vibe. They are made from knitted cotton and are light. They are the perfect options for anyone looking to keep it casual without settling for the t-shirt and jeans look.
The casual shirt
Casual shirts are made from light linen with relaxed collars and are perfect for occasions that require you to look put together without going all out. These shirts are made shorter than formal and dress shirts as they are not designed to be tucked in. As their name suggests, these are best reserved for informal settings.
The Dress Shirt
The dress shirt and star of today’s article is a semi-formal shirt that often features as business attire. These shirts are made long-sleeved and long to make them comfortable for tucking in and are appropriate for occasions that do not call for formal shirts but require a formal look. They also have stiff collars to make them easier to pair with ties. Dress shirts come in neutral colors however you can always add a pop of color with a pocket handkerchief or a bold tie.
Black is an exquisite and flattering color on its own, so it will always be in style because it brings a touch of chic to most outfits. For this reason, today we’ll be looking at outfits and ensembles you can include your black dress shirt in.
- Men’s Shirts Broken Down: Understanding the dress shirt
- What to Wear With a Black Dress Shirt for Men: 11 Ways
What to Wear With a Black Dress Shirt for Men: 11 Ways
Black and white is a color combination that’s as old as time. It’s a classic, and while it may not be as tacky as it once was, it’s still a bold and striking look. For a smart-casual look that will make you feel like you’re taking a yacht holiday in the Mediterranean, you can combine a black dress shirt with the top buttons undone and a pair of white dress pants for a classy look. You can also change the white color pants with ivory (as in the below picture) to add more interesting touch to the outfit.
Under a sweater or cardigan
Wearing a black dress shirt doesn’t have to dim your shine. Throw in a layer of bold patterns by layering it with a half sweater or a cardigan to complete your look. Just remember to keep your tones neutral to avoid throwing off the balance.
Black and Khakis
In a similar vein to white pants and black dress shirts, this color combination is another classic, if a bit more modern, that isn’t as bold and striking and is more comfortable. A pair of khaki pants can go well with a casual black dress shirt and black Chelsea boots or loafers to create a more laid-back, smart-casual type of vibe.
Striped pants and jackets have seen a resurgence as of late, and thankfully, their lifelong companion hasn’t gone out of style yet. With a black dress shirt as the basis, you can add other darker colors like navy pants and blazers with vertical stripes to bring back another classic mobster appearance. Stripes go almost uncannily well with black.
Another type of striped clothing which is a great match to the black dress shirt are the checkered chinos. Make sure to pick a lighter colors for the chinos compared to the dress shirt as in the below picture.
The Formal All-Black
We’ve all seen pictures on the internet and in magazines of formal suits that are all black, with intricate patterns separating the various articles of clothing. By combining a black dress shirt with a filigree black tie, a waistcoat, some plain black dress pants, and a jacket, you’ve got the ingredients to create a perfectly formal, all-black outfit.
The Slightly Less Formal All Black
Most people don’t walk around in all-formal attire all day. Thankfully, black is a versatile color, and the black dress shirt can help form the basis for a “slightly more formal than casual but not quite smart casual” look. By taking away some of the previous option parts, you can combine a simple black dress shirt with black dress pants, a nice knit belt, black dress shoes, and a detailed tie to still draw eyes but not look out of place somewhere like the office.
Black and Denim
If you want to go full casual, don’t worry – the black dress shirt is perfect for combining with darker denim types. Combine the shirt with black chinos or navy jeans, and you’ve got the start of a comfortable, casual outfit featuring our favorite dress shirt. A denim jacket can help complete the look, but this may be too over the top depending on how bold your denim jacket may be, as the denim might stifle the black.
The Distressed Bomber
Taking the black and denim a step further, distressed jeans have been quite popular for some time now. Combining them with a bomber jacket gives you a great cold-weather outfit that can still show off the black dress shirt. Get some nice brown shoes to match a brown bomber jacket, and you’ve got a semi-pilot look that is quite fetching.
If bomber jackets aren’t your thing for colder weather, then perhaps you’ll enjoy more classic royal fashion. While they may be more known as royal clothing nowadays, trench coats fit perfectly with the older stories of the 1920 mobsters who infamously wore black shirts and long, open coats like trench coats.
However, we’ll lose the hats and ties for a more modern touch. Take the shirt and coat and pair it with a nice pair of dark jeans or dress pants and some brighter sneakers for a more striking aspect of the outfit.
As we return to more formal aspects, you should also consider charcoal-inspired outfits that include black dress shirts with off-white and grey woolen clothing as perfect for smart-casual and smart outfits. The woolly texture of your grey pants paired with the black dress shirt creates an almost charcoal-like appearance, hence the name, and it can easily be completed with simple dark loafers and a grey blazer or jacket.
Black and red are two colors that are almost as timeless as black and white. There have been many occasions where black and red haven’t worked well together, as some people have hesitations about mixing two dark tones or even a dark and bright red. However, by including a blood, wine, or burgundy red suit over your black dress shirt with a black leather belt and black dress shoes, you’ve got yourself a red and black outfit that works out in the end.
You can also match the black dress shirt with a burgundy blazer. In this opt for a pair of gray chinos and black boots. Add the last details like a black knitted belt and a patterned gray pocket square. Now go out and enjoy the “All eyes on me” moment.
Black and Brown
Black and brown is a more modern color combination that has seen quite a popularity boost thanks to celebrities including these color combinations in their wardrobes. With a black dress shirt and a brown blazer, you can create a versatile outfit that is almost reminiscent of English getaway cottages that you would see on TV or in movies. We recommend the following outfit: black dress shirt, brown blazer, pair of blue jeans or khaki chinos, brown knit belt and brown trainers as in the picture below.
The brown suit can be versatile, as well, as brown checkered suits are quite popular, and so are plain three-piece suits. It’s the black dress shirt beneath that pulls it all together. However, as the bit of darkness peeking through mutes, the brown is just enough to create an elegant and sporting outfit.
We’ve covered many different outfits that include the black dress shirt, from formal attire to smart casual to cold weather wear and more casual clothes to wear daily. The black dress shirt is a versatile and fetching article of clothing that doesn’t take much to work for you.
Samoel Ovanessian is the founder and creator of StylishAlpha.com – a website dedicated to men’s fashion. As a proud owner of more than 200 ties, he loves digging through new clothing combinations for everyday use, formal events and even just for fun. You can read more about Samoel here.