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Dress Shirt Style and Fit Continued.


The Shirt Body
Moving on to the shirt’s body and components, it is virtually impossible to cover each and every alternative, so I’ll try to address the most important elements and their commonly found variations. It’s important to keep in mind that the subject of style is very personal and dependent on one’s taste, and as such, this article is meant to work as a guide, a reference of how different variations influence the way a shirt is perceived.

Shirt Front

When it comes to fronts, leaving plackets aside, most shirts feature a plain front without any additional elements other than chest pockets. While classic dress shirts may feature a chest pocket for functional aspects, I would advise leaving other options to more casual alternatives; two chest pockets should be kept strictly for relaxed alternatives such as safari, military or western shirts.

Shirt Placket

One of the main elements of the shirt’s front, the placket automatically draws attention to itself due to the closure alternatives and button location, especially if the latter are contrasting or made of an exquisite material, like mother of pearl. From formal to casual, there are three traditional placket versions which have then suffered variations to reflect more unique takes.

The 3/4 Placket – a variation on the above mentioned, this version has a shorter length, ending before the last button and usually in a pointed shape. It is commonly seen on more relaxed shirts or popovers, adding an interesting visual appeal to an otherwise common placket.

The Fly Front Placket – originally associated with evening or tuxedo shirts, this placket features an extra flap of fabric which conceals the button row and provides a sharper and cleaner looking shirt than all of the above alternatives. As with so many other components, the fly front has been embraced by many designers as a minimalistic fashion statement, thus transitioning from ceremonial to fashionable.

The French Placket – a more polished alternative than the traditional, the French placket is achieved by folding the fabric over itself inwards. This technique allows a clean shirt front without any stitching, which as the name states, is associated with a more European aesthetic and the go-to choice for a “sprezzy” Italian look. The French placket is the perfect in-between alternative that easily adapts to classic, fashion or casual shirts.

Back of the Shirt
There’s not much to be said about the back of a shirt, apart from the aforementioned pleats or darts, which are not merely aesthetic but help dictate the shirt’s the fit and silhouette. Shoulder or center back pleats have more of an aesthetic than functional effect, as they usually do not translate into considerable alterations on the shape of the shirt. Back darts, however, depending on their width, can produce a pronounced cinched effect on the waist that makes it slimmer and more contemporary. As with most details on the shirt, it all comes down to personal taste, although achieving a slim silhouette without resorting to back pleats might not be the easiest of tasks.


Cited from: The Shirt Style Guid