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A button-down or button-up shirt is a dress shirt which has a button-down collar — a collar having the ends fastened to the shirt with buttons. Dress shirts are normally made from woven cloth , and are often accompanied by a jacket , collar sleeve, and tie , for example with a suit or formalwear , but shirts are also worn more casually. In British English , "dress shirt" "formal shirts," or "tuxedo shirts" in American English means specifically the more formal evening garment worn with black- or white-tie.
Some of these formal shirts have stiff fronts and detachable collars attached with collar studs. Traditionally dress shirts were worn by men and boys, whereas women and girls often wore blouses or, sometimes, known as chemises. However, in the mids, they also became an item of women's clothing and are worn by both sexes today. A shirt has several components: A one-piece back, which is usually pleated, gathered, or eased into a section of fabric in the upper part of the back behind the neck and over the shoulders known as the yoke either one-piece or seamed vertically in the middle ; one-piece sleeves with plackets at the wrist, or else short-sleeved cut off above the elbow , though this is not traditional; a band of fabric around each wrist known as a cuff; the collar, a strip around the neck, which is normally a turndown collar, with the strip folded down away from the neck, leaving two points at the front, the width of which is known as the spread; and finally two front panels which overlap slightly down the middle on the placket to fasten with buttons or rarely shirt studs.
There are various styles of collar, which is the primary indicator of the formality of a shirt. The very top button is number 1. Contrast collar shirts are occasionally made, which are white collars on a coloured or patterned shirt. These are worn for a variety of reasons, such as to offset certain complexions;  because of a tradition started by detachable collars , where it is impractical to have many collars in different matching colours; and finally because when a collar is replaced it is unlikely an exact colour match will be found.
These collars are generally considered more formal than matching fabric. The main distinctions between cuffs are whether they require buttons or cufflinks to fasten, and whether they are folded back double or single. The main resulting types are therefore:.
A high quality traditional shirt has long tails, extending almost to the knees at the back, and so has seven or eight buttons. The vertical strip of fabric running down the front opening is called the placket, and gives a more symmetrical appearance to the joint between the left side, on top, and the right.
This left over right order is also seen in waistcoat and coat fastenings, though women's clothing buttons the other way right over left. The buttonholes, aligned vertically, are placed on the placket, though the top button and buttons at the bottom of stiff fronts are aligned horizontally. The buttonholes are one of the few places where the difference between hand and machine stitching can be observed while the shirt is being worn, and fashion designers sometimes use contrasting thread here or on the buttons themselves for extra impact.
To give extra fullness to the back, there are often pleats where the back panel joins to the yoke. On some fittings these are not needed, and handmade shirts may feature the extra fabric being worked continuously into the seam. In America, a box pleat is common two pleats together in the centre , while in Britain the pleats are placed wider out under the shoulders. The less casual shirts in Britain will have no pockets, but the standard shirt in America has a single one on the wearer's left side, which is a sewn-on patch with a plain upper hem, optionally with a single button for closure.
This small pocket is large enough to hold a pack of cigarettes or a few pens a pocket protector can be used. Less formal shirts may feature larger pockets, dual pockets, or pockets with flap closures; safari or other military styled shirts often feature two large pockets with buttoned flaps. Less formal shirts may have small pockets on the sleeves as well.
Shoulder straps are virtually non-existent on formal shirts, with the exception of military clothing. Short-sleeved shirts have a plain no-button hem above the wearer's elbow. They are considered a casual summer or tropical option, though many people wear only the traditional long sleeves in all circumstances.
In the UK, the term dress shirt is reserved for a particular type of formal shirt. There are formal day shirts for wearing with morning dress , and the white dress shirts used as eveningwear. A day dress shirt is fairly similar to a normal shirt, and is usually white, with a stiff detachable collar , though other designs, such as a vertical blue stripe, are also appropriate. Double cuffs are most common. This sort of shirt is also conventionally worn by some barristers and judges.
An evening shirt, for wear with eveningwear, for example as part of black or white tie has some unique features. The shirt is always white. The shirt required for white tie is very specific. It should have a detachable wing collar and be fastened with shirt studs instead of buttons on the front. The studs are normally mother of pearl set in gold or silver, but black onyx inlay is also permissible.
The cufflinks should match the studs. The shirt front has panels made of different material from the rest of the shirt which are the only parts seen under the waistcoat. The shape of the panels, one on each side, is either rectangular, or the older U-shape designed to sit under the older s U-shaped waistcoats, now largely replaced by the more modern V-shape. The material for the panels is either layers of thick plain cotton that is heavily starched this type is often called a boiled front shirt as the shirt needs to be put in boiling water to remove the starch before cleaning , or marcella piqué cotton.
Marcella is more common, but a little less formal, though still appropriate, since it was originally designed to be used on formal evening shirts, as the ribbing can pick up more starch and create an even stiffer front. Traditionally, collarless shirts with a detachable wing collar fastened on with collar studs have been used, but all-in-one designs are occasionally seen, though this is considered incorrect and to give a poor appearance by many.
Black tie offers more leeway. Shirts may be soft not starched , which gives the options of unstarched marcella or a pleated front, as well as the white tie shirts, which may also be worn with black tie.
The collar is still sometimes a stiff high wing collar common in America, though the attached variety is more popular there , or a turndown collar more frequently seen in Britain. In past decades, particularly the s, ruffled shirt fronts were made fashionable by Will Hunter, [ citation needed ] although they are now out of favour.
Dress-studs are optional, and are onyx set in either silver or gold if used; otherwise the buttons are normally concealed under a placket. Cufflinks tend to be as simple and understated as possible, and harmonise with, if not match, the studs.
The placket of the shirt is the part that holds the buttons and the button holes. This is highly regarded as the focal point of the dress shirt when worn casually. Unfortunately due to the lack of reinforcement, the weight of the collar will cripple the placket throughout the day. No amount of starch, ironing, pressing nor does the type of fabric matter when it comes to combating the collapse. Shirts are made of woven cloth.
The natural fibers used more commonly in the past were cotton the most frequent , linen the oldest , ramie , wool or silk. Nowadays, artificial fibers such as polyester or polyester blends are also used, due to their low cost, despite being considered by most shirtmakers the poorest material, owing to less softness and breathability. However, these plastic based matterals create microp plastic pollution. Want to get your items fast without the pricey shipping fees?
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