Toward the end of our interview with Sebastian Dollinger, head of design at the Swedish brand Eton–makers of arguably the finest dress shirts on the market–he shared his love of lying:
“One time I told a reporter the whole collection was inspired by fish. And they printed it!”
So forgive us if we have doubts about the existence of his new EDM band, which he said is called Highly Sedated and appears to be un-Googleable.
Dollinger has a rock star personality regardless, and is a master designer with a deep history at Eton. He was practically born into the company and as an elementary school kid, used to sneak into his dad’s basement to watch him design Eton shirts.
Read on for a candid interview with Dollinger and photos from the Eton showroom in midtown Manhattan.
With summer temperatures climbing—and your blazer, bomber or denim jacket increasingly likely to come off mid-workday—it’s more important than ever to have an arsenal of solid dress shirts at your disposal. Keep reading for five new styles to try (plus the ties to match) if you’re ready to transcend standard stripes and solids.
Here at Nordstrom Men’s Shop, we strive to make it as easy as possible for you to look your best. It should go without saying that this objective applies wholeheartedly to the crucial foundation of every man’s office wardrobe: Dress Shirts.
Let’s be clear. We all have a closet full of shirts with buttons and collars—but are you well-stocked with true dress shirts? There are certainly some make-or-break distinctions: A dress shirt should be long enough to tuck in with ease. It should fit comfortably at your neck with the top button done. And its sleeve should extend precisely to the hinge of your wrist, to ensure that all-important sliver of shirt cuff shows when wearing a jacket.
With those points in mind, we present 3 simple steps to finding a dress shirt that fits precisely how you want it to.
1. Know Your Size. Because true dress shirts come in sizes that pertain to your neck and arm measurements (the first and second numbers on the tag, respectively), it’s vital to know your stats. Visit any Nordstrom store to get measured by an expert, or learn how to measure yourself here. Armed with this info, you’ll be ready to pull the trigger as soon as you find the shirt you want.
2. Find Your Fit. As the video above suggests, we categorize the dress shirts we carry into three classifications: Regular Fit, Trim Fit, and Extra-Trim Fit. Please note that due to the vast array of brands we carry—and each brand often offering its own multiple fits—the classifications above are merely jumping-off points to get your search started on the right path. For down-to-the-decimal analyses of how individual fits from best-selling brands measure up, please refer to ‘Find Your Fit’ dress-shirt guide.
3. Get It Custom. After mastering your correct size and preferred fit, if you still find that your off-the-rack dress shirt is even a fraction of an inch off from how you’d like it, we encourage you to visit a Nordstrom Tailor. You’ll find them on-staff at every Nordstrom store, and they can either adjust a shirt from your favorite brand to your exact specifications, or help you order a fully customized dress shirt, Made-to-Measure.
Now that you know the ropes, feel free to look around. Start with our Editor’s Picks, organized conveniently by Fit:
Here’s Rory Arakaki from our Men’s Shop buying team, showing that a creative mix of colors and patterns makes as much sense with a beat-up jean jacket as it does with a suit—any day of the week:
Monday: Classic Prep. Navy blazer, khaki trousers, striped tie. Every guy probably has a version of this in his arsenal already—but basing your combo on a micro-check gingham shirt, instead of plain white, will set it apart from the crowd.
Pro Tip: Rory nails the first rule of pattern mixing: Vary the scales. In this case, large stripes call for tight checks.
Tuesday: Smart Casual. Keep the fit snug and the color neutral, and a shawl-collar sweater can be spot-on for a laid-back day at work. Consider it a back-up for your favorite blazer.
Pro Tip: A button-down—inherently more casual than a point collar—is ideal when dressing down. Rory gets bonus points for using his purple shirt to pick up an accent color in his tie.
Wednesday: Vested Interest. Another great spring alternative to a suit jacket, a vest offers that much-needed third piece to tie your look together…while allowing you to push up your sleeves and get down to some serious mid-week business.
Pro Tip: This shirt’s pattern is fairly loud (especially in concert with Rory’s badass ink underneath)—so we dig how he calms it down with a solid knit tie.
Thursday: Purple Reign. Although this rig is boardroom-ready, Rory injects some signature personality through the addition of a pocket square, and by basing his shirt-and-tie combo in purple (it’s the new navy—embrace it).
Pro Tip: Rory’s on-point with his tie-clip placement. If you ever question your technique, GQ drew up a handy diagram.
Friday: Easy Rider. Rory gets an A+ on his blazer alternatives this week. Here, a classic jean jacket gets the job done on casual Friday—and was born-ready to hit the bars once 5 o’clock rolls around.
Pro Tip: A knit tie skews slightly more casual than a crisp woven one, but one thing doesn’t change: the flawless four-in-hand knot you should tighten up every time.
Work/Prank Balance: You might not have guessed it from his calm demeanor in the shots above, but Rory’s a bit of a live wire. This video shows him punking some fellow coworkers, by pretending to be a robot/cardboard box transformer possessed by funk—or something like that.
Taking a cue from Mr. Moore’s thoughts on dressy cottons that bring cotton suits out of weekend-wedding territory and into the office, we pulled four suited-up looks that can span from boardroom to casual Friday this summer. Check out our tips below, and browse additional options here: MORE COTTON SUITS
2. Quirky Khaki. You’re probably familiar with the trick of wearing your jean jacket with chinos, to avoid going double-denim. The same concept applies with your khaki suit, which benefits from the contrast of a workwear-inspired (but still dressy) shirt.
[Paul Smith London Suit | Gitman Tie | Eton Dress Shirt]
3. Room with a View. This crisp combo is boardroom-ready—and, whether it’s true or not, implies to your client that you’ll be on a boat this weekend. We like underpinning the preppy, regatta-motif tie with businesslike stripes. (Think of purple as the new navy.)
[Hugo Boss Suit | Hugo Boss Tie | Nordstrom Dress Shirt]
What happens when you lock buyers, stylists, tailors, models, video crew, and a rack full of dress shirts in a room for three days straight? For one thing, they churn out 30+ dress-shirt fit videos (more on those later). Secondly, they lose their minds a little. We showed you Cara Delevingne and fellow bored British models do the ‘Harlem Shake’ a few weeks ago—now it’s our dress-shirt video team’s turn.
Watch for detailed fit videos on more than 30 of our most popular dress shirts coming soon—they’ll show up on the product detail pages, along with all the other vital stats you need to know before pulling the trigger. We’ll also debut a video outlining our three dress-shirt fit categories (regular, trim, extra-trim), featuring tips from Jaime Fernandez (above), shirt and tie buyer for Nordstrom.com. From the look of that spread-collar and top-notch four-in-hand knot, dude knows his stuff.
In other important ‘Harlem Shake’ news, none other than LeBron James and the Miami Heat put their own spin on the internet fad recently. With the best record in the league, we’d say they earned the right to drop their game faces and have fun for 56 seconds.
Did you realize the NBA Playoffs start this weekend? Time flies. The Heat start the road to defending their title on Sunday—but tune in to ABC and ESPN all day Saturday, 4/20, for killer Round 1 match-ups like Celtics v. Knicks, Warriors v. Nuggets, Bulls v. Brooklyn (is Derek Rose back yet?) and Grizzlies v. Clippers in a rematch of last year’s brutally physical 7-game series. And clear your schedule for the next month or so, while you’re at it.
Amongst the myriad fantastic 2012 recaps out there right now, we thought we’d do our part by showing you some of our best sellers of the past year—like our very own wrinkle-free, 100% cotton, machine-washable, traditional-fit dress shirt. It’s available in exact neck and sleeve measurements, big and tall sizes, and a range of office-ready colors. (No wonder we sold more of this shirt than any other item in 2012.) Here’s what a few of our pleased customers had to say about it in their own five-star reviews:
“Fabulous Dress Shirt. Many companies only market ‘dress shirts’ in overall sizes (s, m, l, xl) rather than neck and sleeve sizes. A real dress shirt needs to have measurements. This 100% cotton shirt feels luxurious, fits perfectly and looks great. Also, the collar is well-constructed and holds up beautifully all day.” —jbgood53 in Kingston, RI
“I Think This is the Perfect Shirt. I have tried MANY other shirts and I always keep coming back to the Nordstrom Smartcare Traditional Fit Pinpoint. These shirts keep their press all day long and look as good at the end of the day as they do in the morning. If I had to suggest one thing, I wish there were more colors to choose from.” —DaveO in Minneapolis, MN
“Fantastic Shirt. The Nordstrom shirts are really ‘built to suit.’ Sharp measurements and really good materials. The standards are so well-followed that I can buy from the internet without any problem.” —Felipe in Brazil
“Smart Buy! My Husband is particularly fastidious about his shirt and tie and finds Nordstrom’s Smartcare Traditional Fit Pinpoint Dress Shirt really stays more wrinkle-free and fresh-looking much longer than any other brand. Excellent quality and fit. Even my son has switched from famous, much more expensive brands. Good color choice also.” —4162 in New Jersey
“Great, Versatile Shirt. Few things feel quite so right as a crisp, high-quality dress shirt. I count this among my current favorites. With or without a suit or blazer, this shirt looks and feels top-notch.” —BLSCarl in Orange County, CA
After six months of impeccable outfits (and exclusive insights from GQ Creative Director Jim Moore), this is the last of our GQ Selects posts! At least for now. Let’s finish things off with a look that’s quintessentially GQ: From the sharply tailored suit to the semi-spread collar, and from the $15 tie bar to the splashy socks, our favorite magazine’s signature touches are all here.
Dolce&Gabbana Solid Suit.“To put it simply, Dolce&Gabbana has mastered the modern black suit. From the duo’s focus on a body-hugging fit with a shorter jacket and trim pant legs, to the perfect lapel width to pair with a skinny tie, this is a two-piece any man can feel confident investing in.” —Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director
(shop this item)
John Varvatos Collection Trim-Fit Stripe Dress Shirt. “Any guy looking to add some pattern into his weekday wardrobe in a conservative office should reach for a striped dress shirt. The vertical lines add subtle visual interest to any outfit, while the semi-spread collar works for every occasion, be it with a tie to close a big deal, or going open-collar to grab a celebratory drink afterwards.” —Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director (shop this item)
Salvatore Ferragamo ‘Faraone’ Cap-Toe Oxford. “When you buy a pair of Ferragamo shoes, you’re not only getting fine Italian craftsmanship that will last a lifetime, but you’re also getting great design. In the brand’s deft hands, a standard cap-toe silhouette has its vamp elongated and toe tapered ever so slightly—slight tweaks that create a more elegant option for the office or a night out.” —Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director (shop this item)
If you’re like us, you’d prefer to reserve all brain power for after you’ve made it to the office—which means picking out clothes in the clouded stupor of morning, that not only get the job done but also make a confident statement, can be kind of a drag.
That’s precisely why we created a category of ready-made shirt and tie combinations. We’ve thought it all out so you don’t have to: Paisley on stripes? Of course. Dots on checks? Simple. Keep a copy of this photo taped next to your closet, and you can concentrate on more important things each morning: Like breakfast.