How Many Men’s Dress Shirts Do You Really Need?

Have you ever wondered how many dress shirts
you must have to have a complete classic style wardrobe? In today’s video, we’ll discuss how many dress
shirts a man should have no matter if you regularly dress up or you hardly ever do. If you’re a follower of the Gentleman’s Gazette,
you may have come across the video about 10 dress shirts every man should invest in but
if you’re looking into building a timeless classic man’s wardrobe, 10 is just the start. So in today’s video, I go over my shirt wardrobe,
what I learned over the years, and I’ll try to help you and guide you so you can build
up the shirt wardrobe that suits your personal needs and wants. So to answer the question right from the get-go,
how many dress shirts do you need? The answer is it depends. So let’s break it down. Personally, I have about 60 to 70 dress shirts;
sometimes I add, some sometimes I’ll retire some, but overall, that’s the number. Personally, I don’t consider it to be too
much for a number of reasons. One, dress shirts are the backbone of my wardrobe. I hardly ever wear undershirts and so it’s
always something that protects my jackets and my outer garments from my body fluids. With the exception of going to the gym or
maybe mowing the lawn, I usually wear dress shirts or maybe a polo shirt when it’s really
hot and I’m in a very casual setting. So for me, a dress shirt is truly an everyday
piece of my attire. Two, shirts come in endless variations. Yes, you may have one white shirt but then
there are different weaves, there different weights, there are different patterns, there
are different collar shapes, different cuff shapes, different fits, and so it’s not difficult
for me to always come up with a new shirt that’s different than any other that I’ve
had so far. Three, I consider my dress shirt not to be
just a plain white or light blue background but I actively try to incorporate different
colors into my overall outfits. So rather than going with that white shirt,
I maybe go with an off-white or a light pale yellow. Four, dress shirts for me are part of an investment
in my wardrobe and not a throwaway item. I still have shirts in my wardrobe that are
more than ten years old and I still have them in my rotation. Of course, the more shirts you have, the fewer
you wear the individual ones, the longer they will overall last. The oldest shirts I have in my wardrobe today
I bought used from a gentleman who was a realtor and about to retire, he had my height and
he had all of his shirts made at Siniscalchi in Milano and it’s a bespoke shirt maker that
is very expensive. Shirts usually go for around five to six hundred
euros and he was just handing them to me at bargain prices and they all had very cool
fabrics, very unusual styles, and the one I am wearing here right now is in fact, one
of those. It’s not something I would suggest you invest
in when you’re just building a shirt wardrobe but it’s definitely something you can add
once you have all the basics covered. If you take care of your shirts properly which
means washing them in a little bag, ideally at home and then ironing them by hand, they
should last you a long time. If you have shirts made for you, it may be
a good idea to invest in separate collars and cuffs because that’s what usually wears
out the first and so you can just exchange that and still enjoy that shirt. Now some of the old Siniscalchi shirts I have
are just starting to fray around the edges on the collar and the cuffs and since I do
not have any excess fabric I could turn them into winchester shirts meaning I use contrasting
white collars and cuffs, that way,I could still enjoy wearing the overall shirt without
having to just buy an entirely new shirt. The other option would be to simply wear them
as they are and for example, Francesco Barberis Canonico is someone who could afford a new
shirt but he deliberately chooses to wear really worn down shirts and if you take a
closer look, you can always see that his shirts are heavily frayed and you can see the interlining
and white sometimes popping out from underneath but just like having all the rugs in your
home with signs of wear, it’s kind of a very British attitude and he just goes with it
and it suits his style. I’m not saying this is something that you
should practice and it requires a certain style in order to pull it off. More often than not, people would probably
think of you as frumpy or not well taken care of if you have a meticulous wardrobe with
fraying shirts. The fifth reason for having so many shirts
is that there are so many different seasons and I like to change my shirt wardrobe with
the seasons. In the winter I wear heavier Oxfords or heavier
twill shirts, sometimes they have a little flannel texture, just so I’m warmer and more
comfortable. In the summer, I wear very lightweight fabrics
with an open weave that help my skin to breathe and keep me cooler. Of course, in the in between seasons, you
can wear medium weight fabrics and ultimately, you have to analyze where you live. If you live in a climate like I do where you
have very hot summers and very cold winters, you need different shirts than if you live
let’s say in Sri Lanka where it’s hot all year round. Last but not least, I’m not a big fan of dry
cleaning my dress shirts. yes it would be easier to do so but I have
very good quality dress shirts and at a dry cleaner they usually wash them not as gently
and carefully as it can be done at home. also they’re usually not completely hand ironed
but machine ironed and all of those things help to wear down your shirt prematurely. So as a general guideline, how many shirts
should you invest in when you’re starting out and you’re interested in a classic wardrobe? I would say ten is the bare minimum. so first of all the basics, I think every
man should invest in ten dress shirts if they have somewhat of a use for dress shirts on
a regular basis and you can check out which first those are in this video here. if you wear shirts to the office 10 is actually
the bare minimum I suggest to have more like a three or four week rotation which means
15 or 20 dress shirts. of course the bigger the rotation the longer your shirts will last.
for the most part the first ten shirts should be mostly white off-white or shades of blues
and again check out the video for specifics here. personally, I’m a big fan of pastel-colored
shirts light greens or lavender or yellow but typically that’s something you should
add on top of the ten basics. if you don’t have to wear a dress shirt to
work and you don’t like wearing dress shirts I suggest you have at least three dress shirts
that you can always rely on. one is a white dress shirt ideally with French
cuffs for cufflinks without a chest pocket and it’s something that you can wear for anything
from a job interview to a funeral to a wedding or any kind of other formal events. if you don’t have cufflinks or you don’t want
to invest money in them go with a single barrel cuff which is also known as a button cuff.
if you want to invest in cufflinks I would suggest you get one pair in gold and one pair
in silver in a very traditional style without any diamonds or colored stones. personally, I would choose a monkey fist knot
cufflink because they’re versatile they’re classic and it’s something you could wear
with any kind of outfit. for a selection of those please check out our shop here. if you know that you attend black-tie events
sometimes it also pays to invest in a tuxedo shirt. the second must have dress shirt you need
even if you hardly everywhere dress shirts is a check shirt. ideally you get it with a button-down collar
because it’s more casual and you don’t need to wear it with any form of neckwear and for
that you definitely want to have barrel cuffs or button cuffs and you can also have a chest
pocket if you want. the third shirt I think you should invest
in is a denim shirt because it can really help to dress down other things you don’t
have to iron it it’s something that is popular right now and has been popular for the last
few years. it’s soft it’s hard wearing and it’s something
that works well in the wardrobe that is not true for me. on the other hand if you’re a collector a
classic menswear enthusiast or simply a clothes horse, the sky is really the limit. obviously that’s me and you can have just
10 shirts that are all in white but they can have different cuff styles different collar
styles different weaves different front plackets different buttons and all those little details
make the shirts different and suited for different occasions. of course at this point storage can be a challenge
and basically you can fold them and put them in drawers but I find that it takes up a lot
of drawers and so I hang all of my shirts on specific shirt hangers that are not too
wide so they don’t take up too much space in my wardrobe. Personally I use the ones from Butler luxury
which served me quite well and match my much wider suit hangers. so once you have all the basics covered I
suggest you go with pastel colors pastel pink pastel lavender green you can have other shades
that are combining those colors and just play with things. one color that’s really underrated in men’s
dress shirts my opinion is a subtle green. you can also add different kinds of patterns
such as maybe a small houndstooth shirt or maybe a horizontal striped shirt or maybe
stripes in an unusual color such as this one in kind of a light charcoal and yellow. of course you can also experiment with different
fabrics and different weights as well as finishes and on top of that playing with a collar shape
is probably the detail that has the biggest impact because it defines the V shapes and
the triangles that lead to your face. personally I think it’s a lot of fun to play
with different options you have. first of all it’s the height of your collar
then the spread of your collar also how long you want the collar to be in the front as
well as how much tie space you want which really depends on what kind of tie knots you
tie if you have bigger tie knots such as the Windsor you want more tie space otherwise
you can get away with no tie space at all. of course you can also have club collars or
create collars for collar pins with little pin holes in them just so you have exactly
the right shirt for the right occasion. I also urge you to experiment with different
details such as pleats in the back or if you have little grinze patterns you can have shirts
that have a higher degree of handwork you can have shirts with different
buttons you can experiment with shirts from different shirt makers like a shirt from Paris
is different than one from Milan or one from Naples, same thing with shirts from London
or from Germany. and over time you probably create some preferences
for certain kinds of shirts for certain occasions and it’s just a joy to experiment and try
new things. if you attend evening events regularly you
also may want to invest in different kind of evening shirts. some could have wide pleated fronts or slim
pleated fronts. you could have different kinds of Marcella
inserts, you can have starched shirts, and it’s just interesting and with black tie,
there’s not a whole lot variety in what you can do so changing up the shirt detail has
a much bigger impact than it would on let’s say a business suit. so overall, just like with anything else in
your wardrobe, it really depends on your needs and what you want however once you know what
you’re going for it pays to start out with the basics that give you the most use for
your purpose which means the lowest cost per wear. in general that means staying away from
super flashy or unusual things and it means that you leave them behind even
though they may be really really discounted on a super sale. but even you get the shirt at 90% off it is
kind of wasted if you just wear it twice in a period of 10 years. in today’s video I’m wearing a vintage Siniscalchi
dress shirts with French cuffs for cufflinks and wearing them with Tiger’s eye cufflinks
with an Eagle Claw from Fort Belvedere which you can find in our shop here and my slacks
are part of a suit they’re blue they have inward-facing pleats because that’s what I
like I have big thighs and it works for my silhouette my socks are brown and blue shadow
striped socks and they pick up the color of the pants as well as the cufflinks and they
transition that to my brown loafers. They are classic style penny loafers on an
Italian last which is why I like them quite a bit. probably I wouldn’t wear the outfit exactly
like that instead I would add a tie maybe a knit tie and a jacket because I just feel
more comfortable that way. If you want to learn more about dress shirts
and classic men’s style please subscribe to our Channel and also sign up for a free email
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100 thoughts on “How Many Men’s Dress Shirts Do You Really Need?

  1. Another good one, Sven! I had one white dress shirt for 15 years or so. Hardly wore it. In the past year I've built up quite a respectable dress shirt collection of about 25. The first, and still best, advice started with your videos. Thanks again!

  2. I greatly appreciate your videos.
    I had just found your channel last week and I've gained a wealth of knowledge from your videos. Thank you.

  3. Hey Sven I always love your videos I love how you base them on traditional men’s style and not on modern skinny/slim fit style garbage like many other men’s style experts

  4. this video seems very familiar. did you redo it? 😮
    Raphael, some of my custom dress shirts are yellowing, even tho i simply hung them in my closet. Please help. I am sure it will help many ppl; not just me. cheers!

  5. Hey hey Sven are you Swedish? I’ve been enjoying your channel a lot! Thank you! Pls do a men’s gift guide under 50.00. I love the DONT s on your vids they are hysterical! Wow you have 70 dress shirts? Probably like me with my handbag collection ! Great tips and channel tack tack Xo from CA ps how do you tackle
    The wring around the collar on dress shirts? You have great style Sven! Also pls advise on how to store wool suits to prevent moth holes? It’s amazing the different quality of cotton dress shirts out there good quality cotton shirts are like silk on the body rather than stiff
    Cheap cotton ! What brands of shirts do you prefer? I really love the Mozart era white shirts with the ruffle neck and sleeves but hey Versailles on Netflix is one of my fav shows

  6. Nice video, man!
    Where would you recommend looking for dress shirts? I discovered Tie Bar, but Im not sure if it is a good place for buying dress shirts. Any tips or recommendations? 🤔

  7. Great practical advice.These days I've less need for the conventional light blues so am always on the look out for unusual though still classic colours and designs ( a bit like the one you are wearing in the video – which looks great open necked as it is by the way)

  8. Hi Raphael, awesome video as always, well informative. By the way, when did you visit Sri Lanka? And how was your stay there?

  9. Hey Sven, I consider myself a minimalist so I’ll probably be sticking somewhere in the 10-15 shirt range once I have my job. Is there any particular clothiers you recommend for a good all around quality and price for a persons first 10-15 dress shirts?

  10. Any idea why small holes and tears appear in the body of the shirt? I’ve been having this problem recently.

  11. Nice video and thank you for the peek into your shirt wardrobe. With autumn arriving, any chance of a view of your entire tweed jacket collection? We've seen some of them but I am curious as to what else you have.

  12. If you find a dress shirt, OCBD or flannel that you like — buy another! Having 2 of each shirt you !!like!! makes wardrobe management so much easier — you can wear it again whilst one is in the wash!

  13. I currently have about 10 or so, all lightweight blends. I live in South Louisiana USA where there is no such thing as seasons… All my shirts are solid colors, I never did like to wear patterns. I do my pattern through sweater vests and ties and i also have a big collection of lapel pins. Two white dress shirts, one casual, and one more formal with french cuffs.
    They serve me well. I don't need that many because I am a chef so I spend most of my time in uniforms.

    Now the flip side of that is my necktie collection…. I currently have around 350, possibly more… pretty sure its more…

  14. Love the video, as always but I have two questions…
    1.) What would you recommend for the stains that accrue on the collar from wear?
    2.) Where to go, for your first Overcoat for the winter months?


  15. I wear detachable collars and cuffs, so I only require ten dress shirts at the minute, but I have about 20 collars and 4 sets of cuffs. I wear very classic clothing, we're talking antiques. Some of my shirts date back to 1890 and before, because they use collars and cuffs the shirts are not worn at all. The only wear they do get is the collar band where the collar is attached to, but that can be replaced very cheaply and the shirt can continue to life on.

  16. Very nice dress shirts, but do you ever have them dry cleaned? I only ask because a few of them did not have that nice fresh crisp pressed look, especially the ones you were wearing. I mention this because you appear to be the type of guy who appreciates detail.

  17. pastel colours are underrated, also many forget a light pink/ washed pink is an ultimate classic color for menswear, pastel can be awesome

  18. white shirts three or five. white shirts don't store and lose that patina of whitness over time if you don't wear them, succumbing to that off white. today I threw a load away today $70 a go. what surprised me though the shirt that had kept its white crispness was a the cheap one the cotton polly mix. what is your rule on white shirts

  19. Really nice presentation. I felt right at home in terms of the breadth and depth of your collection. Mine varies minimally from yours. Does that mean we're both nuts? I think not.

  20. Will you make, or recommend, a video describing the best way to store your wardrobe (ie; shirts, ties, jackets, pants, etc.)? Some people fold their shirts, while others hang them. Some people roll their ties, while others hang them. Some people leave their shirts in the plastic from the dry cleaners, while others do not. I have been growing my wardrobe over the last few years and would like to hear your advice on ways to make it last for years to come. Thank you.

  21. Hello , sir , Sven
    I wanna thank you for the amazing tips and cool ideas
    I live in Morocco , i come from a culture that doesn't understand the idea of dressing well , I find problems with others , it seems that I have to justify myself for wearing a suit . I hope my people understand someday the idea of dressing well

  22. Sven I am desperate: I need red yellow violet green very fitted shirts with spread collars and I am unable to find a place in London where to buy them. Do you have any suggestions?!

  23. Wow, a little over the top with 75. Of course, it all depends on your needs. There are so many collars, cuffs, colors and styles. Thanks for your great channel and content!

  24. Good afternoon Sven, thank you for teaching us all these tops,
    Sven, Can you please make a video about how to be a lady these days, if there’re gentlemen there should be ladies too .

  25. I wish I had more than 4. But I really can't afford it right now with a Portuguese salary. Love your channel.

  26. I had a favorite shirt that started to fray on the top edge of the collar. I was able to rip out the collar seam and turned the collar inside out. I sewed it back together and had a a perfect collar again. I was very proud of myself. It came out great.

  27. I go with solids, stripes, and checks of primary and secondary colors. Such as a pale blue shirt and a blue white striped shirt, a white and blue small check, white and blue large check. I also have winter shirts (cotton ) and summer shirts (linen) of these groups. I got about 40 now. For some reason, I have trouble finding green stripes in my size. Don't know why.

  28. Thanks for recommending denim. I might buy one and put it into my Friday rotation that way I might look a little more casual.

  29. I just began watching your videos and generally like them very much. This one though, is where we diverge. Perhaps having a high number of shirts can work for for some but I find that having that many shirts means that there are many that I don't feel comfortable in. These days, I'm of the mind that one should have fewer shirts that are highly comfortable both in fit and style. Only the "favorite" shirts get to stay.

    These shirts then, can be of higher quality; possibly bespoke; but at least custom fit, and fit much better than untailored shirts. Shirts that truly make one feel good and confident in the world.

    Finally, the shirts I buy are made as locally as possible and don't support the human, economic and environmental costs of Asian production. I suspect that many people who try to maintain a large wardrobe are going to fall victim to that.

    On another topic, the thing I learned living in Miami is the judicious use of the undershirt. I'm surprised you avoid these. They're great for being an absorbing layer against sweat in the summer and a bit of extra warmth in the winter; and also protect your shirts.

  30. I have 35, including a white tuxedo shirt – i take great pride in shirts and all are ironed to perfection (approx 8 minutes per shirt). I've got 25 of them to iron 2day but i find it therapeutic.

  31. I'd say a minimum of 20. If you commonly dress well, you will naturally accumulate more to match your ensembles. Think I have about 30 at this point.

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