There are certain features on shirts that make it either formal or casual. Collars with more than 1 button are typically higher and therefore more casual because if you try to knot a tie around it, chances are it looks a bit off. So these shirts look better without a tie.
Check out the ‘Big P’ wearing a two-button-collar shirt, styled in a way that it still looks a bit formal:
Cufflinks too, typically make the shirt more formal. They add a certain degree of dapperness and style. Even though the gentlemen in the photo below doesn’t have a double-cuffed shirt, neither does he show his cuffs underneath the jacket’s sleeves which isn’t good, it still looks quite formal. A tie would make this look more formal. Photo is from: The Sartorialist.
The most formal shirt possible is crispy white, four-ply cotton, double-cuffed shirt with a French collar. Typical casual shirts are made from linen or even jeans like the gentlemen wears in the picture below. Photo is from: The Sartorialist.
Shirts with dots, paisleys, flowers etc. are typically less formal. Photo is from: The Sartorialist.
These Paul Smith shirts are styled with a different fabric on the inside of the cuffs. This subtle feature will be noticed by those few men and women that are as passionate about fashion as we are. I bought a Paul Smith shirt at the Oger store in Rotterdam the other day, and wore it with a suit and a tie to a formal event. Although the creative fabric on the inside is hardly noticeable, it adds some personality and rebelliousness to the outfit.
Next week I will post an article about Etro Cufflinks in the ‘Great Gift for Men’ category on our homepage. These match very well with casual shirts like those from Paul Smith.