Best shirts for men 2018: smart and casual shirts for your wardrobe

A stable of your wardrobe, look sharp with this selection of shirts

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Picking a shirt for work, especially when pairing it with a suit and tie, is not so easy at first glance. But spending so many hours of your week at work, feeling comfortable and looking sharp are certainly important. 

Knowing what to look for and how to wear it are the first steps to choosing the right work shirt. But where to begin?

First decide how big you’d like your rotation to be and what is currently missing from your wardrobe. 

Then look at how you’d like to pitch yourself through styling options. Are you looking for simplicity and comfort, or perhaps something to make a statement? 

Whether you’re hunting for inspiration or ready to step up your power dressing game, below is a round-up of the best work shirts for men.

How to choose the best shirt

Do you work in a corporate environment, or at a startup? There might be a dress code at your office or perhaps you’re free to choose what you like. 

With that in mind, the most basic type of work shirt is a simple white or blue long-sleeved shirt. You can’t go wrong with these. A simple long-sleeve will carry you through most professional environments and also carry to events outside of work.

Short-sleeve shirts can certainly look sharp but they’re less formal than their long-sleeve counterparts. In saying that, summer is not too far off so you’ll want to check out quality short-sleeve shirts as you look around.

Colour is an important consideration when buying a work shirt. At the very least, if you stock up on neutral colours like black, white and navy then you’ve got a versatile setup with shirts that can transition between seasons and events.

Going for a printed design can also change your style up. The aim with printed shirts is to add character to your ‘fit. While this can make matching with suits a little trickier, it’s worth the effort for a more vibrant look. But if you’re unsure, an easy workaround is to go for printed shirts with neutral colours.

The 7 best shirts for men

1. Hugo Boss Jenno Oxford Shirt

The entry-level business shirt

Reasons to buy
+Versatile+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks standout qualities

Here’s a classic from Hugo Boss. The 'Jenno' is a sharp, formal shirt that works well as a professional piece or for formal occasions. On the more affordable end of the scale, this shirt has removable collar stays and a slim fit that will hold its shape over time. 

2. Canali Double-Cuff Twill Shirt

For when you want to look sharp

Reasons to buy
+Double Cuffs+Suit-and-tie match
Reasons to avoid
-Better for formal situations

This classic shirt from Canali is cut from cotton twill and features double cuffs. Its slim-fit styling and details lend itself to more formal settings, so this is best worn when you want to look sharp. A good shirt to have to get your basics right, you should bear in mind that this is more of a suit and tie shirt, so you probably won’t be rolling up the sleeves too often.

3. Kin by John Lewis Geometric Print Shirt

Stylish looks on a budget

Reasons to buy
+Geometric pattern+Inexpensive
Reasons to avoid
-Matching needs a little planning

This Kin by John Lewis shirt comes with a geometric pattern that lends itself well to professional styling. It’s constructed from cotton and features a point collar and mitred button cuffs for a clean-cut look that works with or without a blazer. However, this leans towards a more relaxed fitting overall.

4. John Lewis Short Sleeve

For when staying cool is a priority

Reasons to buy
+Comfort+Casual styling
Reasons to avoid
-Not for autumn/winter

It’s easy to overlook the short-sleeve shirt, but there’s plenty of reason to have this in your wardrobe. This one from John Lewis is made from a cotton dobby weave and is the perfect item for summer days at the office. Detailing includes a button placket and point collar. While you probably won’t wear this outside of summer, it’s definitely a worthy addition to your collection of work attire.

5. Tom Ford Gingham Shirt

Power dressing starts here

Reasons to buy
+Design+Versatility+Brand
Reasons to avoid
-Gingham not for everyone 

Gingham shirts have one big advantage – they practically always look good. This one from Tom Ford does just that with an ability to completely transform an outfit. Its professional cut and blue tonal shades are attention-grabbing but also convey sartorial acumen. In everyday terms this is power dressing. The checks are a strong pattern when worn without a blazer, but when matched with the right suit it works well in formal contexts. Detailing includes a classic collar with removable stays along with mother-of-pearl buttons.

6. Kenzo White Stripe Oversized 60s Shirt

For when it’s time to go all in

Reasons to buy
+Makes a statement+Poplin weave
Reasons to avoid
-Less versatile than other options

There comes a time when a man needs to send a message. This shirt from Kenzo is certainly one way to do just that, with bold stripes and a spread collar standing out from the more everyday work shirt. The poplin weave makes it comfortable under a suit or in warm weather. Other fine detailing includes barrel cuffs and tonal stitching. 

7. Carhartt WIP Madison Shirt

The pre-eminent work shirt

Reasons to buy
+Rugged design+Versatility
Reasons to avoid
-Less formal styling

This relaxed but rugged madison shirt from workwear brand Carhartt WIP is a great all-rounder. Shown here in understated dark navy, this is a staple shirt that is affordable and works in a variety of work contexts. Comfortable and with a more loose fit, this is one shirt that won’t be going out of fashion. Best worn with jeans and boots or trainers.