Womens Dress Shirts

"Shopping Strategies to Buying Dress Shirts that Fit"


Stylish womens dress shirt
Courtesy of Charles Tyrwhitt

Womens dress shirts are great for looking professional or for just simply polishing your outfit. I love layering my dresses with my ivory dress shirt. You can also pair it with denim jeans for that casual but crisp look!


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On this page you’ll find shopping strategies on selecting a dress shirt that fit along with tips on how to get the most out of your womens dress shirts and save money.

Get fashion advice & tips on:
The classic white dress shirt is an essential in any woman’s wardrobe, and keeps you covered on those inevitable job interviews. It goes with a range of garments, from pencil skirts to city shorts and even jeans. It’s versatility is unmistakable.

Let's take a look at the guidelines to buying womens dress shirts:

What Dress Shirts to Invest In?

Whether you work at an office or not, securing at least one or preferably two dress shirts in classic white, is essential to keeping yourself covered throughout the year.

Invest in:

  • 1x (a minimum 2x if you're an office gal) tailored dress shirt for a sophisticated ensemble
  • and

  • 1x casual white shirt. Eg. Tunic or oversized boyfriend style to go with your jeans and shorts

Essential shirts for women - white dress shirt and blousy white tunic shirt
Courtesy of Stylebop, Debenhams

You can further build upon it with black, brown or blue stripes on white. If you want to build a solid office work closet, look for dress shirts that are versatile (blends with the rest of your closet) and doesn't create a strong fashion statement. So look for neutrals. Learn more about your neutrals

They're cost-effective and can easily be mixed and matched with skirts, vests, sweaters, cardigans and dress pants.



The Classic White Dress Shirt

The white dress shirt can be interchanged with so many pieces in your wardrobe. And you can wear it to casual and formal occasions.

Essential white womens dress shirt
White dress shirt from Savile Row Company Ltd

There are various ways to tone down on the stiff, corporate look of the shirt. With the right styling and accessories you can bring it to a chic and office-appropriate level Get styling tricks and chic outfit ideas with a basic dress shirt.



Your Best Colors

Color wheel

This is super-super important if you want to look your best in a dress shirt. So you need to first figure out your best colors and choose womens dress shirts according to that.

It's not that complicated. I mean, you just need to know if you look best in cool or warm colors and this alone helps you figure out what type of white looks best on you, and if your coloring harmonizes with other classic shirt colors such as black, blues and pinks. Sometimes a Gold or Silver color test can help you with that.

Don't have time for a color analysis, and just want to get to the chase?

Here's a simple guideline to how it works:

If you have a bluish-pinkish skin undertone then crisp white, soft white (looks good on blondes) and colors with a similar undertone look good on you. Black looks best if you have dark hair and eyes (or bright blue eyes).

Best shirt colors for Winters - women with a deep and cool coloring
Dress shirt colors from the Winter Color Palette

Best shirt colors Summers - women with a delicate and cool coloring
Dress shirt colors from the Summer Color Palette

If you have a yellow-peachy skin undertone you'll look your best in warmer tinted colors such as ivory and off-white, or anything with a red/yellow undertone (eg. beige, mustard, tomato red). If you have dark hair you'll look good in black too.

Best shirt colors for Autumns - women with a deep and warm coloring
Dress shirt colors from the Autumn Color Palette

Best shirt colors Springs - women with a delicate and warm coloring
Dress shirt colors from the Spring Color Palette




Ivory and Cream

Ivory and off-white are slightly harder to find, but you can always "warm up" crisp white with earrings, necklace, scarves and makeup in your best colors. However, but to save time I suggest that to have them made by a tailor.




Classic Black, Light Pink & Light Blue

Other classic colors for dress shirts are black, light pink and light blue. If you're tired of white, these 3 colors can change the mood of your office work outfit. Unfortunately they're not universal which means they look good on everyone. But they're still typical office work colors, so I suggest that you add accessories and layer them with colors that look good on you!

How to wear a black dress shirt or blouse


Add neutrals because they create less of a fashion statement which may not be appropriate for your work's dress code.



How to Look Stylish in a Dress Shirt

Lady-like luxury stylish womens dress shirt
Luxury Dress Shirt
from Thomas Pink
Everybody's wearing the white dress shirt and you want to look a little different, right?

If office work is a huge part of your everyday life or if you have a classy-sophisticated style, add several more dress shirts in various styles - ranging from different colors, details (ruffles, bows, bib, etc.), length and tailoring.

For casual work environments, try tunic shirts and different sleeve styles. Experiment!

Add accessories to spruce your look. Adding a little bit of color and glitz changes the mood of your outfit and softens the serious office look :-) Learn how to create different looks with your dress shirt.


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Your Body Shape & Perfect Fit

How to measure yourself for a perfect dress shirt fit
The perfect womens dress shirt should fit perfectly and flatter your body shape.

It shouldn't be loose (not appropriate for work) nor tight (highlighted love handles and boobies are a no-no at most office settings). It should sit snugly on you.

Your Body Measurements

When it comes to womens dress shirts, an inch of difference can make or break your look. So always have your measurements in mind.

Compare your body measurements with the online store's size chart. Please don't skip checking their chart, as sizes vary from brand to brand. There are also few women who fit the "average" size.

For example, American fit tends to be baggier than the European/English fit (average body weight in the US is bigger than in Europe) even though they're both have the same tag! Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to take your body measurements.

How to Ensure a Good Fit

1. Button the dress shirt to the top. You should be able to slide two or three fingers between your neck and collar.

2. Bend your arms. Sleeves should be long enough so that cuffs don't ride up your wrist when moving your arm.

3. Check that cuffs are snug and don't hang over your hand. You should not be able to slip into shirt sleeves without first undoing buttons on the cuff.

4. Make sure the shirt doesn't pull uncomfortably across the chest or waist.

5. Inspect the buttons - they should be well-placed with no gaping holes exposing your chest.

6. Raise your arms and check that shirt tails don't come out of your pants.

If you're in doubt, measure an office shirt you already own and that you think is the perfect fit, and use those numbers when going shopping. Or head to your local store and try on a couple of shirts until you find the right one, and use those measurements on your next online purchase.

Note: If none of the sizes online fit your measurements, buy the one closest to your numbers and have a tailor do the altering. Or you can even have your tailor make a dress shirt for you.

We just have to face the fact that we all come in different sizes and shapes, and that sour lumps and bumps can't be categorized in a specific size tag.

If you're self-conscious about your hips, bust or tummy, resort to adding body shaper and/or an open vest or cardigan to camouflage your mid-section.


Your Body Shape

By knowing your body shape and where you carry most of the weight, you'll know what details and colors you should look for in womens dress shirts, and how to style them so them complement your body figure.

For example, stripes slims a full or wide upper body. Layering a shirt with a cardigan or vest conceals a muffin top. And ruffles draw attention away from wide hips. Learn more about how to dress your body figure


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How to Buy High Quality Dress Shirts

Blue and White Dress Shirt
Striped Dress Shirt
from Thomas Pink
If you spend most of your time at the office, always ensure dress shirt quality. Dress shirts are going to be worn daily, and although a high quality shirt is expensive, it will cost you less in the long run.

Generally speaking, expensive office shirts give you nicer fabric, nicer buttons, better stitchings and a brand name. And they're a very nice bonus for the price, if you appreciate unique garments and crafstmanship.

How to Ensure Good Quality

1. Check the shirt label for ply count. Finer dress shirts are made of two-ply, not single-ply, and the fabrics are stronger and softer.

2. Inspect the seam running down the side of the shirt. Usually, a high-quality garment has only one line of stitching visible on the side seam, while most shirts have two visible rows of stitches.

3. Determine whether buttonholes are hand-sewn, with irregular stitching. This generally indicates more work and time spent on making the short, which means high quality.

Note: Check out online UK stores (the deliver worldwide) such as Savile Row Company Ltd, Charles Tyrwhitt and Thomas Pink. They offer a stylish range of womens dress shirts with superb quality!



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Time to Shop for the Womens Dress Shirts

Now that you've gone through my fashion tips and shopping advice on dress shirts, it's time to shop!

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