How to Wear a Dress Shirt: Casual and Formal Wear

How to Wear a Dress Shirt: Casual and Formal Wear

Knowing how to wear a dress shirt casually or formally is a useful tool in the toolbox of any gentleman. Let xSuit show you how to style a dress shirt for any occasion with a number of looks: both casual and formal.

A crisp — and comfortable — dress shirt stands as one of the quintessential elements in a man's fashion arsenal. Expertly deployed, it has the power to make an indelible impression, whether in a job interview or on a significant date. 

Historically, dress shirts were reserved for formal events, often sidelined in casual settings for more relaxed shirt styles. However, recent trends have witnessed a resurgence and transformation of the dress shirt. It now embodies a newfound versatility, seamlessly blending into casual scenarios while maintaining its luxurious feel. 

This evolution served as the inspiration for the xShirt: a garment designed to offer peak comfort and style. It effortlessly bridges the gap between high formality and relaxed, adaptable fashion, perfect for occasions that don't necessitate going all out.

In this guide, we will discover a few ways of wearing a dress shirt in different levels of formality.

First Things First: How to Wear a Dress Shirt Formally

Wearing a dress shirt is inherently more formal than not — it’s the way it was intended. If you want to know how to style a dress shirt formally or semi-formally, here are your options:

 Suits with Tie

Formal Dress Shirt With a Suit and Tie

The quintessential classic for business or significant events, a sharp suit paired with a tie unequivocally conveys preparedness for any occasion. Dress shirts, with their accommodating collars, are the perfect canvas for a tie, enhancing its appearance. Typically, a white shirt is the preferred choice for such an ensemble. Attention to detail is key here: the shirt should be neatly tucked in, with the collar securely buttoned and sleeves extending gracefully to the wrists.

Though ties have seen a decline in popularity recently, there's still merit in embracing this look for special occasions, like elegant weddings or significant events, where you want to demonstrate extra effort. Indeed, every man's wardrobe should include a selection of ties for those moments that call for a touch of formality. Remember, the tie can always be removed later in the evening as events become more relaxed.


Jacket with Pants

Semi-Formal With a Jacket and Different Pant Options — No Tie


Stepping slightly away from the formality of the previous style, this look involves pairing a dress shirt with a stylish jacket, but foregoing the tie. In this more relaxed approach, the top button of the shirt is left open. Despite this casual twist, the dress shirt should still be styled with formality in mind: fully extended sleeves and neatly tucked into the pants.

This style offers the flexibility to experiment with different pant options. While a classic dress pant that harmonizes with the shirt remains a safe and sophisticated choice, venturing into the realm of premium jeans, preferably in black, gray, or dark blue, can add a contemporary edge. It's essential to steer clear of jeans with tears or holes, as these can detract from the polished look you're aiming for.

 Sweater and Shirt

How to Wear a Dress Shirt Casually: Your Options

Wearing a dress shirt casually can be a stylish and eye-catching way to elevate a slightly casual look. If you want to do it right, keep reading.

Wear a Dress Shirt With a Sweater

Layering a dress shirt under a sweater offers a stylish and versatile look, particularly suitable for the cooler months. The combination of a casual dress shirt, like the light blue xShirt, under a neatly chosen solid-color cardigan, creates a sleek and effortless appearance. This pairing works exceptionally well with a range of sweater colors, from grays to whites and dark blues.

Opting for a dress shirt under your favorite sweater strikes a perfect balance between showing attentiveness to your style while maintaining a casual demeanor.


Sleeves Rolled Up

Sleeves Rolled Up

Transforming a dress shirt into a more laid-back and casual outfit is as simple as rolling up the sleeves. This approach is particularly appealing in warmer weather or when shifting to a more relaxed setting, such as an after-party or a casual late-night gathering. While it may not be suitable for every occasion, rolling up the sleeves enhances the adaptability of the shirt and adds a relaxed flair to your look.

A notable feature of the xShirt 4.0 is its anti-wrinkle and stain-resistant qualities, making it particularly suited for these casual moments. The shirt maintains its polished appearance, free from unsightly wrinkles or stains, even when styled in a more relaxed manner.

 Untucked Shirt

Untucked Shirt Style

The untucked dress shirt style can be somewhat divisive. When not executed properly, it can appear disheveled and careless rather than casual and stylish. However, when paired correctly with the appropriate shirt and occasion, an untucked shirt can present an intriguing and fashionable look. This style can be confidently worn with or without a jacket, offering a modern twist on traditional dress shirt etiquette.

 Black on Black

Bonus Look: Black on Black

Venturing into a more daring style, pairing a black dress shirt with black pants or jeans creates a bold and impactful ensemble. Common fashion norms often discourage matching shirt and pant colors too closely, but this particular combination stands as a striking exception. It's a look that demands confidence and careful consideration of the setting. 

In business environments, this might not be the ideal choice. However, for social gatherings, parties, or a night out at a club, it can make a powerful statement and exude a confident aura. The black performance xShirt, when matched with black trousers, offers a chic and sophisticated appearance, ensuring you look as great as you feel. For a more informal look, leave the tie at home — but a black tie would elevate the whole outfit.

Exploring the World of Dress Shirts: Beyond the Traditional

The traditional suit and tie combination is just the tip of the iceberg. The versatility of a stretch dress shirt unfolds in numerous styles. 

These styles break the monotony of conventional dress shirt usage. Whether it's rolling up the sleeves for a casual vibe, experimenting with an untucked look for a modern twist, or layering under a sweater for a smart, relaxed feel, there's a style for every preference.

If you're not sure which look to take depending on your events' dress code, take a look at our complete guide to understanding dress codes here.

Perhaps it's time to step out of your comfort zone; try these different approaches — both casual and formal — and uncover a way of wearing button-down shirts that resonates with your individuality.