The Best Casual Button-Down Shirt for Men

Nautica jeans
Photograph by Nautica

They’re the foundation of your closet, so choose wisely

Casual button-down shirts are a staple of every man’s work and weekend wardrobe. But if your closet is mostly blue windowpane or plaid shirts, it’s time to branch out. There are tons of solid, plaid, striped, and geometric patterns guys should reach for when a tee is too casual and a dress shirt is overkill. But finding the best shirt can make or break your style, depending on how you wear it and more importantly, how it fits.

Like all sleeved shirts, the fit in the shoulders is most important. The sleeve should start on top of your arm, not on your bicep. The sleeve should stop at about one-half to one-quarter inch below the crook of your wrist so it will show under a sport coat. If you find a shirt you love but the proportions are off, you can always get it tailored. It’s a small price to pay for a perfect fit.

How to Tell If Your Suit Jacket Fits Correctly:

Then comes the color and design. Every guy should own solid white and gray shirts for wearing with jackets and ties, but beware: They can look dull when worn by themselves. Plaid is a trusty choice for casual events and layering over a T-shirt. The most interesting patterns to wear by themselves are bold, wide stripes and geometric patterns that’ll catch people’s eyes.

When paired with jeans and chinos, go for an untucked look. Just be sure the back of the shirt doesn’t fall below the bottom of your butt. If it does, it’s either one size too big, or it’s actually a dress shirt that should be tucked in. Wearing the shirt solo or under a sport coat is a surefire approach. But try mixing up your look by wearing your shirt under a fine gauge wool sweater, bold down vest, or even a textured top coat to mix up your look.

This old-school brand had its heyday about 20 years ago, but like all things ’90s, it’s back in a big way. Known for its bold patterns and color blocking, Nautica makes classic (read: versatile) shirts that can go almost anywhere. Many are woven from wrinkle-resistant fabrics with just the right amount of stretch so they’ll move with you.

Winner: Nautica, $70, Buy It Here

Runners-up:
1. Club Monaco: $90, Buy It Here
2. Carhartt WIP: $108, Buy It Here
3. Levi’s Made & Crafted: $178, Buy It Here






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