The Most Popular Types of Shirts for Men

types of dress shirts for men

Did you know there are several different types of shirts for men? Everyone thinks of the usual button down, long sleeve shirt type right away, but what are all the other types of shirts for men out there? 


If you are struggling to find the right shirt type for you and for the right occasion, this article is the ultimate guide to explaining the types of shirts for men. Here's a separate guide on how dress shirts should fit, and types of dress shirts. We will learn about the various types of shirt types from dress up shirts to types of dress shirts, and components of every shirt type as well. 


Dress Up Shirts or Dress Shirts for Men

mens blue dress shirt striped sitting model with watch

The first type of shirt for men is the classic men’s dress up shirt or dress shirt. A dress shirt is a button up shirt with both a collar and long sleeves. Here's a separate guide to button up vs button down shirts.They were meant to be worn with a jacket and tie, but in modern day dress culture, they are often worn with one or neither of them. Out of all the types of shirts, dress shirts are common for white collar jobs, important events like weddings or conferences, and a  staple when it comes to professional shirt types.

When contemplating what types of shirts to have in your wardrobe, we highly recommend a slim fit white dress shirt because it will be essential to many outfits. Dress shirts are the types of shirts that are elegant and professional and can be worn to many occasions. Because of this, the dress shirt is the first shirt type we’d recommend having a few. Our favorite is Nimble Made’s men’s white dress shirt.

If you live in a hot climate where you never get much opportunity for long sleeves, then more bad news is coming your way. While many workplaces have started to trend towards business casual and allow short sleeve collared shirts, they also do not count as dress shirts. In the next section, we’ll go over the types of shirts in the dress up shirt category.

 

Types of Dress Shirts

Within dress up shirts, there are many varying types of dress shirts for men. The factors that go into differentiating different types of dress shirts from each other are often the collar styles and fabric. The dress shirt collar is where you will see the most variance in style. There are several different collar types, so make sure that you choose the right one for the occasion and find the right tie to match your particular collar choice.


Shirt Types with Straight Point Collar

straight point collar traditional look

The most common collar type is the straight point, or pointed collar. This is the most traditional type of collar, sometimes called a forward point. This collar and type of dress shirt is the narrowest, and is great when wearing a suit and tie. It usually has a longer collar point and closer tips than other collar types.


The pointed collar is versatile, and can be worn in business or black tie settings. We recommend small and medium tie knots with this look and a shirt with an angled (mitered), or round cuff for the sleeves.


Shirt Types with Small Semi Spread Collar

A small semi spread collar features shorter points that are wider apart than the straight point collar. This type of shirt look is a bit more casual, but sometimes still suitable for formal occasions. Most tall people with longer necks will look great in this collar choice. 

small semi spread collar frontal graphics

Pair this type of dress shirt with medium or large tie knots. This gives you the option to use Windsor and get a bit fancier than simple knots. Pair this shirt type with angled or rounded cuffs. 

Shirt Types with Spread Collar

spread collar frontal graphics

The spread collar is one of the most versatile shirt types for men available. It’s very modern & elegant and fits in well with most settings. This collar and type of shirtwill work well with pretty much any type of knot you choose to tie, though a popular choice for this is the Half-Windsor. 


This is a well-balanced middle of the road collar that is versatile enough to fit in nearly any situation. It’s great for men with long faces, narrow faces, and oval faces. Pair this type of dress shirt with a straight cuff or rounded cuff. 


Shirt Types with Cutaway Collar

cutaway collar graphics only visual

The cutaway collar has the smallest collar point length of all shirts. The tips are very short and extremely spread apart. This type of shirt has gained major popularity in contemporary fashion. It is a bit more sophisticated and may not always be great for formal workplaces because some of the collar band may be visible under your tie. 


This is a great shirt type for angled faces because the wide spread of collar points will soften strong facial features. You can easily pair this with large tie knots like the Windsor, but to add even more sophistication, try a fancy knot like the Balthus, Eldredge, or Trinity knot.

 


Shirt Types with Club Collar

club collar black and white graphics

The club collar was the style in the 20s and is seeing a bit of a comeback in modern fashion. This collar’s tips are rounded rather than pointed, so it is sometimes also called the round collar. This was originally invented as an exclusive look for wealthy English schools, but is still seen today as a more unique fashion choice and not a collar every man has.


This type of shirt is best worn by men with long faces and should be avoided by men with rounded faces. The shirt goes well with sleek knits and very thin ties. If you want this shirt type to become casual, simply wear the collar open. Match the collar to the shirt cuffs with a rounded cuff. 

Make sure dress shirts fit your body shape well. We have best dress shirt recommendations for short men and for those with long torsos.


Flannel or Casual Button Down Shirt Types

There are many other types of shirts like the flannel or casual button down shirt that is a less formal shirt type. These flannel shirt types usually come in long sleeves and a button down collar. These shirt types have collar tips with small buttonholes that fastens it down to the shirt. This used to worn exclusively in sporting, but has earned a place among more casual and informal business looks. It’s more popular with younger people. Our comparison between a sport shirt vs dress shirt here.

Because this is more of a casual style, it is rarely worn with a tie. Instead, pair it with a tailored blazer or sporty jacket to dress it up. Flannel shirts are a great casual everyday shirt type to have and are especially popular in the fall. We have another article where we break down flannel vs plaid shirts.

 

Oxford Shirt Types 

The oxford shirt sits somewhere between a dress shirt and a casual button down shirt. It may be confusing but just remember one tip: the term “oxford” refers to the oxford cloth fabric. These types of shirts can often pull off as a dress shirt but in a slightly more casual look. Oxford shirts are often rougher in texture with a thicker fabric weight, unlike a dress shirt’s finer texture. This type of shirt for men is often our favorite for when the dress code may be a bit vague and you don’t want to go all out with a business formal attire. Oxford shirts are the perfect shirt type for a casual yet put-together look. Our favorite oxford shirt is Nimble Made’s grey dress shirt.

Wear these types of shirts for men with jeans, trousers, or slacks. This versatility makes the oxford shirt type a popular choice for many guys and occasions. See our other top picks for the best Oxford shirt for men and learn more about Oxford cloth button down shirts.

 

Basic T-shirts 

 

This goes without saying that one of the most popular types of shirts for men is the t-shirt. T-shirts go back in history for being a medium to “convey both rebellion and conformity, depending upon the context and the types of messages that may be inscribed on the front or back,” according to University of Chicago’s Diana Crane and “The Social Meanings of Hats and T-shirts.”


Today, there are many different types of shirts within the t-shirt category ranging from long-sleeve tshirts, short-sleeve tshirts, graphic t-shirts, t-shirts with pockets, blank or basic tshirts, and more. T-shirts are versatile because they are a shirt type that can also act as an undershirt beneath other types of shirts like dress shirts or dress up shirts. Our approach to finding the best t-shirt is quality and fit. We love Nimble Made’s 100% cotton slim fit t-shirts because they’re made in the USA, come in a unique slim fit, and come in a variety of colors.

 

Short sleeve shirts with Pockets

Another shirt type in the casual space is the short sleeve shirt with pocket. Use caution with pockets. Pockets on different types of shirts can quickly impact how you are seen. Shirt types without pockets are generally more formal than shirt types with pockets. In this case, short sleeve shirts with pockets are a casual shirt and can vary in different fabrics and colors. 

white shirt with brown stripes single pocket

Today, having a pocket is generally informal, but sometimes can acceptable as dressy. For example, many dress up shirts or dress shirts have a pocket. This style is a little more traditional these days but, in the working world of business, it is mostly acceptable for men’s dress shirts to have a single pocket for pens.

If your shirt has 2 pockets, then it is no longer considered dressy by cultural standards even if it technically fits the requirements of men’s dress shirts. A chest pocket on both sides of your shirt is generally reserved for military, uniforms, and blue-collar occupations. It is considered informal. 

 

Recap on Types of Shirts for Men

In conclusion, there are countless number of different types of shirts for men ranging from casual to formal. We have concluded that having a few of them will really help your wardrobe go a long way when deciding what shirt types to have for various occasions and outfits. We recommend having a classic dress shirt, an oxford longleeve shirt, a flannel or casual button down shirt, and tshirts as the essential shirt types to have that will have you equipped for all of life’s events. 




Frequently asked questions about types of shirts for men

  1. How many types of shirts are there?

    There are over tens of types of shirts for men. Different shirt types cover a range of dress codes from casual to formal. We recommend having at least 3 different types of shirts including a dress shirt, a more casual button down shirt, and t-shirts to cover most outfit scenarios.

  2. What are 3 button shirts called?

    Three button shirts are called a henley because this type of shirt features 3 buttons at the top of a collarless long sleeve shirt. The henley shirt type can be worn buttoned or unbuttoned and are a casual long sleeve shirt type to have. 

  3. What type of shirts do men wear?

    Men wear a variety of types of shirts ranging from dress up shirts to t-shirts depending on the dress code and occasion. The most popular type of shirts for men are dress shirts and t-shirts.

  4. What are baggy shirts called?

    Baggy shirts are often called oversized shirts and is a trending fit in streetwear and high fashion due to its artistic approach in creating an intentionally-overfitted shirt. 

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