Who makes the cheapest and best dress shirts for men? As you refresh your 2021 back-to-work or work-from-home wardrobe, compare more than two dozen options from the cheapest dress shirts to affordable-luxury slim fit dress shirts to “workleisure” button-downs made from stretchy performance fabrics that are perfect for working from home.
That question — who makes the best dress shirt for men — is impossible to address definitively, because the answer depends on how you prioritize fit, fabric quality, style, design features, price, convenience and ease-of-returns.
The menswear companies below make up a small slice of a larger ecosystem of stylish men’s clothing brands that are helping men dress sharp in the digital age. You can keep track of the best online men’s clothing sales and discounts via this separate post.
This article has grown over time, so use the following table of contents as a guide:
The Short Answer: The 4 best dress shirt options for men
Among the more than two dozen brands profiled, here are my top recommendations for dress shirts for men:
The best everyday dress shirt: Charles Tyrwhitt
Hands down, British brand Charles Tyrwhitt makes the best off-the-rack dress shirts for men. The company’s shirts cost a very reasonable $50 when you buy four at a time. They come in a variety of fits and sizes, as well as colors and patterns. Charles Tyrwhitt is my go-to off-the-rack brand. (I particularly like their twill white dress shirts.)
The best destination for men’s dress shirts: Nordstrom
Nordstrom is one of my favorite menswear retailers and does a great job with dress shirts. Nordstrom offers several quality dress shirts from their house brands, including a $39.50 basic dress shirt from their Men’s Shop and an affordable Oxford shirt from 1901. In addition, they provide as a range of stylish men’s brands including Bonobos, Hugo Boss, Canali, David Donahue, Armani, Eton, John Varvatos, Reiss, Suitsupply, Ted Baker and Theory.
The best custom dress shirts for men: Proper Cloth
New York-based menswear startup Proper Cloth makes outstanding online custom dress shirts. Provided you are willing to take the time to get your fit right, you will wind up with durable, stylish and well-fitting dress shirts.
The absolute cheapest dress shirts for men: Amazon Essentials, Goodthreads, and Button Downed
Amazon’s house brands offer some of the cheapest basic dress shirts for men around. Are they my favorite? No. (The others on this short list are.) But they are super-affordable and ship quickly.
Price comparison: The cheapest dress shirts for men
Let’s start with the chart below, which compares the cheapest, best dress shirts for men:
Best Dress Shirts for Men under $50
Since it’s not practical (for most of us anyway) to buy a closet-full of expensive dress shirts, I wanted to break out a separate category of affordable dress shirts under $50.
You’re not going to find Thomas Mason fabrics at a price point of less than $50, but there are a number of brands who have built a solid reputation on delivering quality at an affordable price.
I’m convinced that Charles Tyrwhitt is one of the best dress shirt brands you can buy for under $50.
Founded by serial British entrepreneur Nicholas Wheeler in 1986, Charles Tyrwhitt is famous for its 4 shirts for $199 deal, which works out to just under $50 per dress shirt. Their shirts have held up exceptionally well for me over the years. (I prefer their extra slim fit, as even the regular slim fit can be blousey.)
Charles Tyrwhitt is also an excellent place to buy neckties online, and a true omnichannel retailer that will meet you online, in person at brick-and-mortar stores and through mail order clothing catalogs.
Nordstrom is my go-to-department store for the digital age. They have a well-deserved reputation for quality house-brands and customer service. Nordstrom also carries a number of other fresh, stylish men’s clothing brands, making a great one-stop-shop for refreshing your wardrobe.
The Seattle-based retailer has a large selection of affordable dress shirts for men from their own Nordstrom label as well as from brands like Bonobos, Brooklyn Brigade, English Laundry, Eton, Norse Projects, Rhone, Suitsupply, Ted Baker, Theory, and W.R.K.
I’ve owned a number of Nordstrom’s shirts over the years and been impressed by the relatively substantial material and their “trim fit” style. It appears they have dropped the price point of their entry-level dress shirts to under $40, which would be great news, except that some reviews seem to suggest that the quality of the fabric has declined.
Tie Bar makes more than just ties. Founded in 2004, the Chicago-based brand carries affordable but stylish clothing and accessories for men, including a nice selection of dress shirts. (In fact, Tie Bar is a surprisingly-terrific destination for a range of very affordable business casual outfits for men.)
I like that Tie Bar carries a range of basic building blocks, including a nice variety of white shirts (think pinpoint, oxford, herringbone, and textured non-iron), as well as a large selection of colorful patterned and striped button downs.
With Tie Bar’s 3 for $140 deal, their stylish shirts are affordable, clocking in at around $47 each.
I appreciate Tie Bar’s focus on affordable, elevated style for men, and enjoy the ways in which they have sought to innovate over the years. They have experimented with physical stores in places like Washington, DC (which sadly closed), and concepts like an incubator initiative that saw them partner with designer Whitney Michel on a limited-edition series of neckties, pocket squares, socks and totes.
Brooks Brothers 3 for $149 or 4 for $199 deal
Brooks Brothers has, at times, matched Charles Tyrwhitt’s offer of 4 dress shirts for $199 or advertised 3 shirts for $149. These offers appear to come-and-go so check out Brooks Brothers’ website for their latest deals.
Buttoned Down and Goodthreads by Amazon
Buttoned Down and Goodthreads are two of Amazon’s Prime Fashion Brands for men. Both of Amazon’s house brands offer button-down dress shirts for men, including Buttoned Down’s supima cotton non-iron dress shirt and Goodthreads’ “The Perfect Oxford Shirt.”
Uniqlo makes super-cheap dress shirts for men. Choose from slim or regular fit and either 100% cotton “super non iron” or “easycare,” which includes a 4% spandex blend for stretch. Dress shirts start at $29.90 or potentially less on sale.
The Japan-based retailer has established a solid reputation on Reddit and style forums for quality construction and value-for-money. Personally, I have found that the value-for-money is certainly there, but my experience with Uniqulo has been hit-or-miss: Their clothing doesn’t always fit my frame and they are frequently out of my size for items I want.
Best Off-the-Rack Dress Shirts for Men
The easiest, and most practical, option for men is to buy a “ready to wear” dress shirt off-the-rack online or in a brick-and-mortar store. Here are great options for dress shirts for men above and beyond the $50 range.
Richmond, Virginia-based menswear startup Lebury has to be my favorite destination for off-the-rack dress shirts. Let’s not stop there. Ledbury is one of my favorite destinations for menswear period. Their shirt styles, colors and patterns are unique and among the best I’ve ever found online or in person. Stop by Ledbury’s stores in Richmond or Washington, DC’s Georgetown neighborhood if you’re in either city. Shirts from $98.
The company may be best known for chinos, but Bonobos also offers a nice line-up of “Daily Grind” dress shirts for men, priced from $98.
One nice feature is the ability to visit a Bonobos guide shop to see how their clothes fit. Another is the ability to select a specific sleeve length down to the inch (32, 33, 34, etc).
Brooks Brothers offers a versatile selection of dress shirts for men in 6 different fits including extra-slim, fitted, classic, relaxed and big-and-tall. They also offer a variety of fabrics that dictate price points, from BrooksCool to the Brooks Brothers Luxury Collection to the Golden Fleece collection. Prices range from $69.50 for a Milano slim fit dress shirt to $225 per shirt for the Golden Fleece collection.
The company has been innovating since 1818, though its bankruptcy filing has men looking for similar alternatives to Brooks Brothers. Still, one of the nice things about the bricks-and-clicks brand is the ability to walk into one of its many physical stores like Brooks Brothers’ concept store in Georgetown.
You won’t find crisp sea island cotton shirts at Taylor Stitch. What you will find are attractive solid oxford shirts, made from burly oxford fabric, and appropriate for business casual office environments, for $98.
Twillory’s startup roots date all the way back to 19th Century Germany. Today, based in Long Island, Ricardo Goldschmidt, Harry Cedarbaum, Asher Weinberger and Eli Blumstein run the business that stemmed from a shirting business founded by Goldschmidt’s great-grandfather. Shirts from $99, or bundle 4 shirts for $54.99 each.
Iowa-born fashion entrepreneur Todd Snyder maintains an enviable list of high-quality, not-inexpensive clothing for men. Todd Snyder is one of my all-time-favorite menswear brands, though the threads are definitely a splurge.
Todd Snyder specializes in collaborations with iconic and innovative brands from Champion to Timex to the Peanuts gang. For dress shirting, Todd Snyder sells made-in-America dress shirts in collaboration with Hamilton Shirts, and is the exclusive U.S. outlet for Emanuele Maffeis’ hand-finished Italian shirting. Shirts from $195 (potentially less when on sale).
Mott & Bow
Mott & Bow has a nice selection of semi-spread and button down collared shirts for men that are appropriate for the office, featuring 100% cotton fabric from renowned Italian mill Albiate.
Dandy & Son
Base in Oslo, Norway, Dandy and Son specializes in dress shirts for men with an extreme cutaway collar. It’s a bold, British-inspired look. (They also have less-extreme cutaway collars.) Shirts start at $59 and sometimes less on sale.
Batch specializes in utility shirts. Traditionally, utility shirts are more casual, with a two front pocket design. Batch has a dressed-up line-up of work utility shirts featuring premium materials that could be appropriate for a business casual environment.
Netherlands-based Suit Supply has always been fashion-forward. It’s dress shirts, like its suits, have a little bit of an edge. Some feature flash patterns, colors or cutaway collars (some feature all three). If you live near a store, like Suit Supply’s Washington, DC shop in the Georgetown Four Seasons, you can try on a shirt in person. Shirts from $99.
Hugh and Crye
Washington, DC-based Hugh and Crye makes a range of professional, Oxford and business casual button down shirts for men.
Their shirts feature an innovative fit system: Choose from 12 unique options that combine size (tall, average or short) with fit (skinny, slim, athletic or broad) that get you close to a custom fit. (My fit is short and slim, and it really does fit better than off-the-rack shirts.) Their fit system makes it one of the best dress shirts for an athletic build. Professional shirts from $85.
Note: In December 2020, Hugh and Crye posted a note indicating that the company is “in a holding pattern” and figuring out next steps in light of the pandemic. Hugh and Crye is running a clearance on all in-stock styles. Use code SMALLBIZ to get 60% off of your purchase. All sales are final.
Custom Dress Shirts for Men
Off-the-rack dress shirts might be the easiest option, but bespoke or made-to-measure dress shirts will produce a better, custom fit.
In particular, made-to-measure might be the best dress shirt option for skinny guys or men with an athletic build. For more background on the dizzying array of bespoke and made-to-measure clothing, see Modern Fellow’s complete guide to custom.
Here are several options for custom-made dress shirts:
Jacob Wood makes perfect fitting clothing easy with his stylish men’s online custom clothing brand Woodies. While Woodie’s Clothing has an (intentionally) more casual vibe — “Think custom organic jeans, stretch washed chinos, super soft flannels, and fun patterns,” Jacob told me in an interview — they make great custom dress shirts and button-down oxfords.
I had a chance to try Woodie’s Heathered Light Blue Chambray Shirt (pictured above). The fabric is lightweight without being see-through and has wonderful texture, making it a nice change-of-pace from my everyday solid white and blue standards.
Most importantly, Woodies nailed my fit the first time around via an extremely easy and quick intake process.
Proper Cloth is a master of custom dress shirts for men. Once you get your measurements and fit preferences right and that first shirt feels perfect, it is a breeze to order new ones. Founder Seph Skerritt and his team take great pictures, have a useful customer review system in place, and offer an enviable array of fabrics and options in a format that doesn’t overwhelm. Shirts from $85. See Modern Fellows’ review of Proper Cloth dress shirts for men for more, and get a $20 discount off of your first order with this link.
Ratio Clothing founder Eric Powell runs a great company out of Colorado, and there is a lot to recommend about his shirts. For one, Ratio Clothing’s shirts are ethically-made in America yet don’t cost a fortune. In addition, Eric’s goal is to make ordering a custom fit shirt from Ratio Clothing as easy as ordering from Amazon.com by enabling customers to quickly create a custom “size blueprint.” Finally, Ratio has a wide variety of unique and colorful shirts, including campus oxfords and old school J Crew-like flannels.
Black Lapel is one my favorite online custom tailors for suits. I’ve had the chance to wear and review a number of Black Lapel’s made-to-measure suits for men. I’ve also had a chance to try Black Lapel’s white twill dress shirt ($139), which is a heavier weight option perfect for fall and winter, that has held up exceptionally well over more than 5 years of wear.
Alton Lane, Blank Label, Indochino, etc.
There are countless other online custom tailors who can make made-to-measure dress shirts. Choose from brands including Alton Lane, Apposta, Blank Label, Deo Veritas (see my interview with founder Vinnie Sikka), Hockerty, Indochino, Knot Standard and Lanieri, an Italian startup that delivers custom suits (and shirts) using premium fabrics.
Menswear shops with a brick and mortar presence including Brooks Brothers, Ledbury and Suit Supply also cut made-to-measure shirts. (Take a look inside the Suit Supply in DC’s Georgetown neighborhood to get a glimpse of their made to measure lab.)
High Bar Shirt Company
Based in Newark, NJ, the High Bar Shirt Company was a family-owned company that had been making shirts since 1933. The company was known for providing made-to-measure shirts for former MLB and NFL stars and broadcasters including Howie Long and David Ortiz. Sadly, the High Bar Shirt Company closed, another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic that has rocked retail and fashion.
Performance Stretch Dress Shirts for Men
Tech fabric with stretch is being implemented in everything from activewear to underwear to suits, observes DC style professional Robert Ordaway. While the trend began with lululemon and similar brands producing workout wear and athleisure clothing, technical fabrics can be found in everything these days. (See my guide to professional performance clothing for men and women for a deeper dive into the trend.)
Stretch fabrics have also resulted in a range of “professional performance dress shirts.” These stretchy, comfortable dress shirts made from technical fabrics are perfect for Zoom calls and working from home.
Ministry of Supply
The brainchild of a group of students at MIT, Ministry of Supply uses space-age materials (like the kind that regulate astronauts’ body temperature) in its line of performance professional button-down dress shirts. MoS is also a good example of a sustainable fashion brand that is working to lower the impact of clothing on the environment and adhere to sustainable manufacturing practices.
“Our signature Apollo dress shirt is the place to start. Made with NASA phase change materials, the breathable, wrinkle-resistant shirt is 19 times more breathable than traditional cotton and regulates your core temperature in real-time.”Aman Advani, CEO, Ministry of Supply
You can see an up-close view of the Apollo dress shirt’s fabric in the photo above, which is constructed from a Polyester-and-PCM-infused-Polyester blend.
Get a discount of 15% off your Ministry of Supply purchase with coupon code MF15.
Named after the Rhone River in Europe, Rhone specializes in clothing made from performance fabrics. While the company is perhaps better known for men’s activewear, Rhone’s commuter dress shirt features a lightweight Italian fabric that wicks moisture and contains Nylon & Elastane. It looks sharp and costs $118.
Best known for their undershirts and underwear, Tommy Johns makes stretch performance dress shirts from a ComfortStrength™ thread fabric of 72% Cotton, 23% Nylon, and 5% Spandex. Their tech fabric shirts also feature InvisiGrip® technology to keep you “streamlined, tailored, and always tucked in.” The shirts cost $128. See my interview with founder Tom Patterson for more about Tommy John and why he thinks the right underwear can change your life.
Mizzen and Main
Mizzen and Main is well-known for its performance fabric clothing. It makes a wide range of performance dress shirts for men that feature a quick dry tech fabric made of an 85% Polyester 85% and 15% Spandex 15% blend. Shirts from $125.
State and Liberty
Steven Fisher and Lee Moffie founded State and Liberty after meeting at the University of Michigan. They specialize in athletic-fit dress shirts and other professional performance wear made from technical fabrics. Their $90 Springer Solid White Performance Dress Shirt looks crisp and clean.
Following the trend of a number of digital-first brands who have opened physical stores, State and Liberty has opened several brick-and-mortar locations including in Washington, DC.
What is your favorite dress shirt for men?
Who did I miss? Let me know in the comments.
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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