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Mens Shirts: Best Styles

Updated on November 6, 2009
It doesn't get better than this.
It doesn't get better than this.

Don't take this the wrong way, but some of y’all wear clothing that wouldn’t even have looked good in the 70’s. The worst offenses seem to come from the men willing to spend the most money.Some examples? Sure.

Versace makes some of the nicest clothing you could hope to find in your closet. They also make some of the ugliest. When I was 19, I worked at a dry cleaners. Every week, this gorgeous, gorgeous trust-fund-baby used to bring his laundry in. Eventually, I became rather familiar with his shirt collection. It ranged from “why??” to “WHY??”

You see, our wealthy stud muffin had a series of silk, button-down dress shirts from Versace, complete with hideous gold lion’s head print. I wanted to ask him if he really wore it, or if it was part of some Village People costume. My boss told me I couldn’t ask the guy, so I drew my own conclusions: The boy simply didn’t know how to dress. Over time I’ve come to realize this is an issue shared by many men. Fortunately for y’all, Isabella is here to make it simple for you. I’m going to show you what works best, no matter what size or shape you are. The trick is keeping it simple.

Sexy Josh Lucas in a sexy dress shirt.
Sexy Josh Lucas in a sexy dress shirt.

Yes: Classic Long-Sleeved Dress Shirt

(I *love* this look)

You really can’t go wrong with this, as long as it fits you. Try to find something that doesn’t have any pockets, if you can. White is my fave, but nearly any color will work, as long as you don’t go Garth Brooks and wear something that resembles the flag of a foreign country. I do, however, suggest you avoid black, burgundy and other uncommon darks, unless you’re wearing them with jeans. Leave the black shirt and black slacks look to the mafia – they seem especially fond of it.

Tip: Wear this on a date with some dark jeans! Roll the sleeves up a bit and undo a few buttons at the collar. Yum, yum, yummy!

Sexy Hugh Jackman!
Sexy Hugh Jackman!

Yes: The Turtleneck

Don't you dare laugh or roll your eyes, this looks damned good. Cream and black are my favorite colors. They come in a variety of fabrics, something nice and thick tends to suit every man I've seen wear one. I don't know why more men don't wear these, they are hawt. (Thank you to Ms. Veronica for reminding me to include this one!)

Yes: Long-Sleeved Polo Shirt

Classic and masculine. Just make sure you leave at least the top button undone – otherwise you will look like a geek. Stick to solid colors, and wear only with jeans or khakis. If you’re wearing jeans and the shirt isn’t too long you can leave it untucked – but if you’re wearing khakis, tuck it in.

Yes: Classic Crew Neck T-Shirt

Yeah, baby, the kind you would see on James Dean. Make sure it fits your body, these don’t look good baggy. But don’t wear it tight either, even if you have a Fabio build – it will make me think you’re a princess. Plain old cotton is what you want, boys. No silk or anything else that’s going to make you look like a metrosexual.

College t-shirts are fine, as long as they meet the other guidelines. You can wear a pocket with these, but I think they look better without. White looks great – but unless you’re very good at keeping your whites white, I recommend you wear black on a date. A nice black t-shirt makes any man look twice as good.

Tip: These look best when not tucked in.

Yes: Short-Sleeved Polo Shirt

Again, classic and masculine, as long as the top button is undone. These come in a variety of fabrics and designs. My advice? You guessed it. Stick to solid, natural colors. Wear these with jeans or khakis. Do NOT wear the collar flipped up unless you want to look like Maude.

No: V-Neck T-shirts

Sometimes these look good. Most of the time, they make the man look a bit feminine, to me. Maybe that’s because I tend to wear plunge v-neck shirts myself, and seeing that on a man makes me go hmm. Regardless, just make sure you’re not wearing one of these if you’re about to take me out!

No: Classic Wife-Beater

Ok – first, let me just say I actually LOVE this look on men with nice shoulders, biceps and triceps. Most men, however, cannot pull this look off, and that is why it’s on the no list. If, however, you look like the man in this photo, for God’s sake, strut your stuff, baby.

No: Short-Sleeved Dress Shirt

I realize it might be hot in the office, but this rarely looks good on a man. Makes me think high school science teacher the moment I see it. I might even ask where your pocket protector is!

So those are the basics. There are other shirt styles out there that may look good on you, but these are pretty much safe for anyone. My advice is to avoid anything flashy or trendy - they tend to get you noticed for the wrong reasons.

And by the way, you don't have to buy Polo brand - Land's End, L.L Bean, Hanes and many other companies make quality shirts. Just get something made of quality material and you'll be fine.

xx Isabella


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