Save or Splurge: Classic Dress Shirts

Buying a basic, button-down, collared dress shirt doesn't sound like a complicated task. It also doesn't sound like an expensive one. After all, these classic dress shirts are a wardrobe must-have, and almost every clothing store carries them.

However, my recent shopping trips to find such shirts have not been the inexpensive shopping sprees I had hoped. I wanted a few basic dress shirts to help build my professional wardrobe. These shirts add structure to my flouncy skirts and make them work-appropriate.

I shopped at thrift stores, Target, affordable department stores like JC Penny and Kohls, mall favorites like Bannana Republic, Express and The Limited, and slightly more expensive department stores like Nordstrom.

None of the affordable stores offered a classic shirt that fit. The trendy puff-sleeve shirts fit at some of the cheaper stores, but not the classic shirts. All of them gapped at the bust or looked way too boxy. The arm holes were cut too large on most of the shirts, which made it difficult to move my arms or pair them with a jacket that fit well.

Nordstrom was the only store that offered classic shirts that actually fit. These shirts, like the one pictured above, cost from $40 to $70. They fit like a dream though. Plus, they are actually made of natural fibers, which is a feature the less expensive stores didn't offer.

For shirts this classic that never go out of style, I guess a splurge isn't so bad even though I'd hoped to save on this wardrobe basic.

Do you splurge on classic dress shirts to build your wardrobe? Or can you find a good fit at a lower price?


Annie said…
I'm busty & I have a heck of a time finding button down dress shirts that fit. I also don't have a lot of cause to wear them, so it's not something I'd want to invest a lot of money in. I'd rather spend the money on a nice jacket & a cami to go under it. It's a more practical solution for me.
Rachel said…
I feel like it's probably hard for everyone to find a classic dress shirt that fits just right. It's one of those things that you want to FIT like it was made for you, but not be tight... so unless it's specifically tailored for you, the odds of finding one that's your exact measurements in every dimension is pretty slim. I think it's an item that you just need to try on every one you find and cross your fingers.

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