How Many Dress Shirts Should a Man Own?

How Many Dress Shirts Should a Man Own?

Women have shoes, handbags, and who knows what, right? So, what do men have? When it comes to apparel, many men struggle to know how many business suits, slacks, and the like they should have. After all, no one wants to be busted wearing the same thing over and over.

It's hard to gauge how many you need. After all, dress shirts are NOT regular t-shirts, and there are many different types of dress shirts. We’ve decided it was time for an answer to the question: how many dress shirts should a man own? This article is an attempt to answer that very question, so let’s get started.


But First… When Do You Wear Dress Shirts?

Many men have to wear business attire, including dress shirts, even jackets, and slacks daily for the job.

Other men are a bit more flexible in what they can and cannot wear to work  or in the office (slowly raises my hand). Although, no matter what your career, every man should have at least a few dress shirts available in case they need it - whether it be for a date, a family function, or even church.


So… How Many is Too Many?

When it comes to quality dress shirts, I am one of those that feel that as long as you can afford it, there is no such thing as too much, with one important distinction… you must wear them. Every one of us probably has a shirt or two that is the designated shirt for occasions we would rather not attend.

For example, there is a black dress shirt in the back of my closet that only comes out for funerals. This shirt must be carefully ironed and is just too much work to wear every day, or even once a month, so there it stays. 

To give a more exact answer, most professional men will not need more than say twenty dress shirts at the most. Twenty shirts allow you to wear a different shirt to the office every weekday for almost a month without any repeats at work. Guys with 20 are probably even wearing them in style with some jeans. Is this really logical? Well maybe for some men. So, for the sake of argument, we are going to go with 20 is too many (for most men).

The other side of the aisle is the type of guy who only wears a dress shirt when he is required to, either by the event or another person (cough…significant other). This type of men could really care less about dress shirts being part of their personal style, and that is more than fine.

These men are probably going to be more than fine with three dress shirts, one to wear, one to wash, and one of those only when absolutely necessary dress shirts. More than likely the shirts are going to be light blue, white, or a soft gray, and they may or may not have a suit jacket or blazer to wear with it. Mix in some business casual shirts for outfits that work for smart casual attire.


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How Many Dress Shirts SHOULD I Own?

White Dress Shirt Blue Dress Shirt Grey Dress Shirt
Browse White Shirt Image Browse Blue Shirt Image Browse Grey Shirt

The simple answer is, most men are probably going to be more than fine with three dress shirts, one to wear, one to wash, and one of those only when absolutely necessary dress shirts. More than likely the shirts are going to be light blue, white, or a soft gray, and they may or may not have a suit jacket or blazer to wear with it.


What is the Answer?

The answer for most of us is going to fall between the two extremes. Generally, it is suggested that men own around 8-12 dress shirts if you wear them every day for work, or just 3 if you only wear them for special occasions. That includes button-down shirts that can be worn with or without a jacket, more stylish shirts with some tailoring or style, and a few different colors. Having an oxford shirt is good for diversity as well.

White Dress Shirts 

slime white dress shirt

You should always have at least two crisp white dress shirts. Although you may want one or two more, depending on how messy you are when you eat. There is nothing more classic than a white dress shirt newly cleaned and pressed. That is the go-to for the most formal occasions. Although many men will have several styles of white shirts, casual polo shirts can extend your wardrobe if you prefer.

You should also consider having an off white or ivory-colored shirt to wear when things are not quite as formal, the warmer tone will soften your appearance and actually make you more approachable. This is a great option when meeting new clients or going to social events where you are expected to mingle.

 You can find the best white dress shirts here.

Different Dress Shirt Colors are Optional but Encouraged

slim fit dress shirts in three colors hung up profile view

Many men have trouble embracing colored dress shirts (such as purple or pink) if they are not some light shade of blue or gray, then they won’t even consider it. Colored dress shirts offer you the chance to show a bit of your personality and lighten the mood without sacrificing style. 

See More Nimble Made Shirts


Some colors can make you appear younger, while others can make you seem pale or even sick. If you are venturing into the world of color for the first time, get some advice before you jump in and buy everything in sight. You may be surprised to learn what you think looks good does nothing for you. Start with lighter muted colors and move on from there as you feel more comfortable. 

Styles of Dress Shirts

The style of dress shirts you purchase and actually wear is going to depend on how you move throughout the day. You will also need to think about the climate, both outside and inside, whether you need to accommodate a tie or a jacket, and the type of pants you will be wearing. 

In warmer months, you will want to wear dress shirts that are lighter weight without being see-through, and in some cases, you will need them to breathe. Cotton is a great choice and is available in most styles of shirts. You can opt for heavier fabrics in colder climates. 

A button-down dress shirt is the most common type of dress shirt. They feature the small buttons on the tips of the collar to secure them over a tie if worn. Newer collar styles are introduced all the time, but if you want to stay with the classic then a button-down is the way to go.

Polo shirts are an often debated topic, are they really dress shirts or just a dressed up t-shirt? In most business circles a polo shirt is considered business casual attire. This means that while they may not be exactly right for a board meeting or wooing a new client, they are perfectly fine for everyday wear around the office. For the sake of this article, we are not including polo shirts in the 10 dress shirts you should have since most men have several polos if they already wear them.

These are our favorite dress shirts for short guys if you're looking for something that fits better.

Final Thoughts

We’ll wrap things up by saying that you should probably make sure to have 4-5 everyday wear dress shirts, a couple of white ones, a couple lighter color blue or gray, and one really high-quality white shirt that makes a statement. We also suggest you branch out into a bit of color; start slow and hopefully you’ll end up with a couple of statement colors and a few slightly patterned shirts for less formal occasions.


1. How many shirts does an average person own?

ClosetMaid recently surveyed American women and found that they own 103 things. The average woman owns between 20 and 30 t-shirts, tank tops, blouses, and dress shirts (The average woman owns about 5-7 dress shirts).

2. How many work outfits should a man have?

Even for a man on the verge of a professional career, it is difficult to afford such high-end apparel. We suggest that every man own a minimum of three tailored suits: one navy, one charcoal, and one black. These combinations are suitable for all occasions.

3. How many suits should a man own?

Most men consider a minimum of one to two suits to be sufficient. In your lifetime, you will probably attend a formal event, such as a wedding or gala, a funeral, or even a date night. Dust off that suit you haven't worn in years. It's time to put it on.

Shop Our Selection of Dress Shirts Here

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