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What do I need to know about the shirt as a gentleman?

Benno Büchler, 28.03.2023

Der Guide, wie du richtig mit deinem Hemd umgehst.

A good shirt is never wrong.

There is (practically) no occasion to which a shirt in the right combination does not fit.

The shirt is a garment that can be worn both open and closed in the front. It is usually understood as upper body clothing for men. The female counterpart is a blouse. Furthermore, the shirt is a part of the "uniform of the modern man" combined with a well-groomed suit.

So what's wrong with leaving the house tomorrow in something other than a shirt?



And what combinations and styles are possible, what you need to look for when buying as well as how to properly care for the shirt, I show you now.


Name me one occasion that a good shirt doesn't go with?

Doesn't anything come to mind either?

This Swiss Army knife of the fashion industry always looks good. Be it at a dinner in combination with a blazer or a suit. At work, where you immediately stand out positively among all those wearing T-shirts. During a leisurely walk along the lakeside promenade, or even just at home.

A survey showed that on average a man owns a good 17 shirts. Of these, 7 are business shirts and 10 are casual shirts.

(Source: Shirts Survey)


Here, too, there are almost no limits to the shirt.

Whether you wear it with a tie and a suit or with sunglasses and shorts, it can be staged perfectly for virtually any situation.

A few examples:

A cashmere sweater to stroll around the city.

A zip neck, because it might get warm in the afternoon.

Roll up your sleeves when the sun is shining or you need to do something physical.

With the collar open for a cozy after-work beer.

The possibilities are endless...


A well-fitting shirt is incredibly important. If the foundation of your outfit doesn't fit, everything built on top of it is shaky. As a gentleman, your shirt should always fit properly and be well-situated.


It's absolutely essential that your shirt fits your body and your style.

In terms of fit, the shirt comes in 3 shapes:


Traditionell und geräumig, viel Platz im Rückenbereich, der Brust und den Schultern.

Suitable for people who are a little rounder built.


The go-to shirt for most men.

Wider in the chest area, but narrow at the waist. This leads to a kind of V-shape, while still providing enough space and comfort for those of us who do not spend 20h a day in the gym.

Extra Slim Fit:

Sharp and tight.

The ideal shape, for those who are in shape themselves.

Narrow across the chest, around the arms and waist.

If you have a little belly on your body, you should avoid the extra slim-fit shirt. You're better off with a regular slim fit.

To find the perfect size, you'll need to try on a few.

In the front, the shirt should be flat, snug, but not too tight. If you need more room in the front, make sure the shirt is a little wider in the back.

The seam between the shoulder piece and the sleeve should touch the exact corner of your shoulder.

When it comes to length, you should pay close attention to the length of the sleeves. They should, if you're wearing a suit, peek out from under the suit. However, they should not flap around your fingers. Optimally, the sleeve goes to about 10 to 12cm before the tip of the thumb.

The shirt sleeve should cover your watch.

The bottom ends of your shirt should be long enough that they don't pull out of your pants when you move, but also not too long or it will look like a nightgown.


There are also differences in the collar that need to be considered.


A traditional collar for a traditional shirt, you can never go wrong with that. If you're not sure about the collar, go for a classic one. It is also called Kent collar in German.

Shark neck:

This collar shape points sharply outward. Very a modern look and perfect if you want to wear a wide tie knot. Also likes to be worn without a tie. But be careful: if you combine this collar with a double-breasted suit or a 3-piece, it will quickly look very dominant. This is the typical CEO look.


The most sporty among the shirt collars.

Decisive are the small buttons on the shirt, which allow you to attach the tips of the collar to the shirt. Usually such shirts are worn without a tie or jacket.

Important: if you're wearing a button-down you absolutely must also fasten the collar points, a flying collar on a button-down just looks ridiculous.

In terms of fit, you should be able to effortlessly slide a finger between your neck and the collar.

To preserve the structure in the collar, you should always wear collar stays. (Except for a button-down, there it is not necessary).

Three different collar shapes for the shirt
Quelle: The modern Gentleman’s Handbook, by Charles Whitt

In terms of fit, you should be able to effortlessly slide a finger between your neck and the collar.

To preserve the structure in the collar, you should always wear collar stays. (Except for a button-down, there it is not necessary).

Roll up shirt

You want to wear a more casual look in the afternoon, but you're still wearing the long shirt from the morning?

Then you can definitely roll up the sleeves of your shirt. However, before you roll it up more or less awkwardly or even have to get someone else to help you, here's a trick on how to best roll up your shirt.

I recommend you the "Italian method".

1. open all the buttons on the sleeves.

2. Fold the cuff over and pull it to slightly above the elbow.

3. fold the unfolded part again from the bottom to the top, over the cuff. This reveals the inner fabric and the cuff is hidden.

With this method, without wrinkling your shirt too much, you'll have the sleeve rolled up and it definitely won't slip back down.

Die effizienteste und schönste Art die Ärmel vom Hemd hoch zu krempeln
Source: Massanzug-online.de

The multitasker

A nice white or light blue shirt is all you need.

  • At the desk: leave a button or two undone at the top, and when it gets chilly, pair with a V-neck cashmere or zip-neck sweater.
  • In the meeting: button up and, depending on the type of meeting, tie a tie, throw on a jacket.
  • For lunch: keep the blazer or jacket on, but remove the tie and undo one or two buttons.
  • At the after-work beer: If it's not too long, you can take it out of the pants. Unbutton it a bit, (but not too far!) roll the sleeves to just before the elbow.
  • Weekend: Unbuttoned a bit at the neck, rolled up to the elbow, pair with a pair of jeans and throw a cozy sweater over it. Relax!


A shirt is always the right choice.

Anyone can wear a T-shirt or a polo shirt. However, as a gentleman you have no interest in ordinary.

Get a good shirt and start exploring what it can do. 

The question is more what you combine your shirt with and how you wear it that it fits your style and the formalities in place.

This article is meant to be your reference guide to the basics of shirting.

Stick to the points that you think are right and important, and live up to them in terms of combinations and styles.

But at the end of the day, as always in fashion:

"All is permitted that pleases!"

Title image: Pexels | revised article

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