Do you know the difference between a dress
shirt and a sport shirt? Most guys consider dress shirts to be anything that buttons down the front with long sleeves and a collar.
There are actually plenty of differences as you’ll soon see.
Knowledge is power, so get to know the subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences below.
What’s the easiest way to tell the difference between a dress and a sport
The lines are a bit blurred and there are exceptions on both sides of the fence, but in general, dress shirts tend to be more conservatively styled and colored since they’re meant for, well, being dressed formally. They tend to have stiffer collars (to withstand things like neckties underneath them and suit jacket lapels on top of them).
Sport shirts get away with more patterns, bigger and bolder patterns, pockets, epaulets, decorative stitching and buttons,
Most off-the-rack dress shirts give you two measurements on the tag: neck and sleeve length.
For example, if I’m buying a
If you’re a 15″ neck like me, you’d most likely be a 38 in European sizing. Sport shirts are usually sized S, M, L, and so on.
Dress shirts are typically made with cottons of finer weaves. When I say finer, I mean tight with high thread counts.
When I say weaves, think twill, broadcloth, pinpoint oxford (all cotton but each type refers to the way the fabric was woven together). Oftentimes these shirts will have a slight sheen to them. This just adds to the dressiness.
Sport shirts are less formal (thus, traditionally made for “sport”), and can come in more rugged weaves like plain oxford or flannel, or lighter weaves such as linen and chambray. They also come in more colors and different patterns.
Your typical plaid
Our friends at Proper Cloth have put together a nice breakdown of the common shirt fabrics.
Silhouette and Fit
Silhouette should be the same whether it’s a dress
What does “lightly hugging” mean? Well you want that final button to close without it constraining your hip area. At the same time, you don’t want it billowing like a huge T-
You want your
Lots of brands have a “modern” fit (more tapered and slim) and a “classic” fit (more traditionally cut with a bit of room in the torso). The image above is from Brooks Brothers; this simple graphic does a great job illustrating the differences among their different dress
The point? Not all shirts are made the same, so don’t blindly purchase the first
Be careful with more classic, traditional cuts; they can often be too boxy. If your
This is one of the biggest differentiators between sport and dress shirts, in my opinion. I always refer to this Primer article because it’s one of the most illustrative and easy to understand.
Here’s the thing. Dress shirts are meant to be tucked in, so traditionally, they’re made longer. This is so when you’re moving and shaking and gettin’ jiggy wid it, your
Sport shirts have lower side seams and shirttails that aren’t too long, so you can wear them untucked.
In general, when you’re wearing a sport
Brush up on your shirt anatomy here.
In general, sport shirts will be much more casual in fabric and style than a dress
Once you do know the difference, what then? Well, you can choose the appropriate
Meeting the President of the United States? Throw on a crisp white dress
Gonna kick it with the homies and holla at some hotties? Feel free to put on that oxford cloth
Still having trouble deciding?
Maybe you still can’t tell. Or you can’t decide which one to wear to your upcoming shindig. Questions? Let’s hear em in the comments below!
By the way, still looking for that all-in-one style solution?
Figuring out what