Should You Always Wear a White Dress Shirt?

I always see on television, movies, shows, the Internet and sometimes the newspaper that the men in suits almost always have a white dress shirt on and I am wondering if that is really the norm for the work force. I have a bunch of dress shirts in different colors but I am not sure if white is what you should regularly wear.

Also, if you can, please list the occasions that you must wear a white dress shirt if there is one. (Like meetings/interviews/pictures)

Can I Wear Pink Dress Shirts (and other colors)?

Our users fully believe that men are not solely limited to white dress shirts when on the job and can even wear light pink shirts. The following list was created by our users and includes acceptable shirt colors to wear to the office. However, you should observe what the full time / current analysts are wearing and judge your wardrobe off of that.

  • light blue
  • light grey
  • off white
  • light pink
  • light purple

White Business Dress Shirt for Interviews?

However, when in a serious environment such as an interview or an information session, white should be your go to color.

imsurance - Real Estate Analyst:

On a normal day there's nothing wrong with breaking away from the mundane. But I am a firm believer you should always interview in a white shirt and conservative tie.

iBankedUp:

Yeah, I second the above. Off white, light grey, light blue can all be alternatives to white, but never when you need to project yourself as a serious and focused person. White is just easy to look at and doesn't throw off any colors from the light pinstripe in your suit, to the nuances of the patterns in your ties. Always wear white when trying to look good in front of people. But other light colors (blue, grey, off-white) can work if you just want to look good for yourself.

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Comments (93)

Sep 16, 2016

White/blue would be the most formal. Depends on your office, but I would say generally no you are not going to have to wear a white shirt every single day...

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Sep 16, 2016

I would second that. White and blue all day e'ry day. Some patterns at times but I would definitely stay away from any solid colours outside of white and blue.

Jan 6, 2017

Pink is okay too, depending on your skin colour and skin tone. Bright pink works quite well if you're a tanned black man, for example. Maybe a lighter pink otherwise.

Oct 8, 2016

I would add off white and light grey with white and blue shirts, for formal dressing

I mostly buy from nattyshirts dot com

Jan 6, 2017

+1 for grey

Dec 27, 2016

On a normal day theres nothing wrong with breaking away from the mundane. But I am a firm believer you should always interview in a white shirt and conservative tie.

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Dec 27, 2016

Yeah, I second the above. Off white, light grey, light blue can all be alternatives to white, but never when you need to project yourself as a serious and focused person. White is just easy to look at and doesn't throw off any colors from the light pinstripe in your suit, to the nuances of the patterns in your ties. Always wear white when trying to look good in front of people. But other light colors (blue, grey, off-white) can work if you just want to look good for yourself.

Dec 27, 2016

White and Blue should make up the majority of your shirt rotation. I also have ONE pink and ONE purple (both are muted, not bright) that I rotate in about once every two to three weeks.

Business Casual Fridays, however, can change this up a bit. Wear some checks with your blazer and khakis.

Stripes just look silly.

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Dec 27, 2016

Think about it this way. In the morning efficiency is your friend, if you only have white and blue shirts it's pretty easy to get dressed as you don't need to think about what you're going to wear. When you add in a bunch of colors you'll start doing the "What color shirt did I wear yesterday?"

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Dec 27, 2016

Can't go wrong with white. Light blue/grey and discreet stripes can make it less bland.

Apr 4, 2018

thanks for sharing!!

Dec 27, 2016

I just gave up and have like 8 white shirts. And a couple legacy blue ones...

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Apr 4, 2018

You can branch outside of that as long as it stays conservative..just use common sense.

Apr 4, 2018

just don't wear flashy colors.

Apr 4, 2018

Dude. That's 100% true.

Apr 4, 2018

White / light blue for work shirts. 100%. Maybe darker blues as well. Cheeky pink shirt as well for Friday's if you're feeling brave!

Apr 4, 2018

pastel purple is ok too. Flashy clothes are clown suits in this business...

Apr 4, 2018
Apr 4, 2018

Light pink's my personal go-to colour, but that's only because I couldn't be arsed to segregate the whites and the coloureds and now I don't have any white shirts left.

Apr 4, 2018

The worst combination I have ever seen was some kid wearing a gray suit with a teal dress shirt. For some reason SOME people think it looks good. I think it looks ugly as shit.

Apr 4, 2018

What is the general consensus on button-down collars? Are they acceptable at all? If so, can they be worn without a tie?

Apr 4, 2018

Button-down collar is a no, unless in the south/midwest (I'm regurgitating this from alumni in NYC)

Apr 4, 2018

Button-down collars are a no if you plan on wearing a tie. They are alright for business casual, generally. But, I would avoid them for versatility reasons. Just go with a reasonable spread.

Dec 27, 2016

Anything besides white, some types of off-white, light blue, or light grey is anathema

Apr 4, 2018

Only if once a month, you wear a white shirt with some varying lipstick smooches on the collar. This is S&T and functional since gingham screams Thomas Pink.

Apr 4, 2018

Gingham screams casual (Friday).

Apr 4, 2018

Wear whatever makes life easier. It seems you have a potential system sorted out. When I started, I did that. I've not seen anyone do white through the whole week since, but I'm sure no one would care.

And yes, gingham is basically a "See you Monday, beyotch" kinda shirt.

PE is the new black.

Apr 4, 2018

whooooa, gingham?! let's not get too wild!

BossMode

Apr 4, 2018

Anybody ever bought shirts from http://www.5thandlamar.com? They claim to be truly slim fit.

Apr 4, 2018

Been looking at them for awhile but wanted some reviews first

Apr 4, 2018

The designer Thom Browne claims that all a man needs is a white shirt. Versatile, looks crisp, and fits with a variety of neckties.

Apr 4, 2018

Don Draper seems to be wearing a crisp white shirt every day, should be okay for monkeys.

Apr 4, 2018

I'm not a monkey and Don Draper reflects an older and more conservative style which isn't representative of today's culture.

Apr 4, 2018

No one would care or notice if you always wore white. You're overthinking this. By the way, what sales and trading firm still wears ties everyday?

Dec 27, 2016

Always white for an interview

Dec 28, 2016

White shirts goes well with suits and other such stuffs. Due to that reason it is preferred a lot. You can choose any colour shirt that matches your blazer or suit. Moreover not with just white you can be unique in your own way by trying some good colours for your outfit.

Dec 28, 2016

Yup, second everything said. It's a common misconception, probably promulgated by Facebook pictures of those who don't know style conventions, that normal / dark blue, black or grey shirts can be seen in business. This is wrong. For business, just keep it:

  • white, or off white
  • light blue
  • light pink

Always muted, always light and never bright. You can tell a dresser is amateur when he walks in with a dark blue shirt thinking he is mixing it up correctly. This is wrong. If you wanna mix things up, don a solid blue tie, a pastel colour pocket square a peak lapel jacket or a signature shoe like Lobb's or Berluti's.

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Dec 28, 2016

i would keep things very conservative.
u just want clients to say that this guy look good and move on.
men clothing should look classic and standard - fit is also very important.
shirt - just stick to plain white and light blue.
suit - dark gray or dark navy blue (no black or pinstripes > no peak lapel or ticket pocket).
tie - solid blue or red; no patterns or strips.
accessories - say no to pocket square, tie clip and cuff links.
shoe - standard black oxford shoe (no brown please) > if u move up to VP, u can wear loafers.

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Dec 28, 2016

No peak lapel? How come Harvey Specter from "Suits" always wear a peak lapel suit? Sometimes a pinstripe.

Also, he sometimes wears nice non-solid ties too.

Dec 28, 2016

Harvey Specter breaks all the rules to demonstrate that he has power in the office. He wears peak lapel, pinstripe, bold tie and pocket square. But if you watch carefully, his style become more loud in the later seasons (i.e. double breasted suit), which is also his transition to his downfall. So if you really want to copy Harvey Specter's style, I would highly recommend only the early seasons.

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Dec 28, 2016

White, followed by blue. Some pinks are always a nice mix (but I tend to find more older men wearing this. Not surprising since I think it was more "in" during the 80's as were French cuffs- always another option). I'm speaking as a woman of course, but I notice these things.

********"Babies don't cost money, they MAKE money." - Jerri Blank********

Dec 28, 2016

save the colors for going out, express yourself with different ties, keep the shirts simple. white & blue, with subtle patterns. do not wear yellow, pink, green, really anything but white or blue. I'm not sold on grey, but I think it's subtle enough to pull off.

Dec 28, 2016

I used to do different color shirts but like some have stated above. Your life is just simpler with all white dress shirts. No worrying about you shirt color being offputting, tie/suit/shirt matching is a breeze, and everyone inherently associates white dress shirts with professionalism. All this being said, I have nothing against people who choose to wear colors, just find that only white shirts is best for my situation.

Dec 28, 2016

I rotate between solid white and solid light blue. Those are the more formal options, but I do so more as a way to balance out between my crazy socks.

Dec 28, 2016

Just keep the shirts simple with white and light blue when you're in the bullpen.

Dec 28, 2016

Clearly a lot of bankers in this thread. All white every day? Boring.

I'm all for switching it up and showing some individual personality and style. Then again, I'm not a banker.

Dec 28, 2016

White and light blue for client meetings. maybe a light purple if I am feeling crazy.

Days that I know I will just be sitting at my desk, I will wear anything with buttons.

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Dec 28, 2016

Completely echo everything that has been said for client meetings, interviews, other formal work-related functions.

For business casual everyday office wear I see this rule broken all the time with different colors, patterns, etc from the MD to the analyst level across a variety of groups. I personally keep it white / blue for meetings but wear plenty of other colors and patterns during the week in the office.

Dec 28, 2016

Usually white is good, but you can get away with a green dress shirt on St Patty's Day, as well as a tasteful santa suit during the holidays

Jan 6, 2017
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Dec 28, 2016

4/5 days I do white, grey, or blue. The other day I usually wear a light lavender, green, or salmon shirt. The basic jist of it is just to not be uiltra flashy no matter the color. For an interview, client dinner, road show, etc. I always wear a white shirt with a dark blue or maroon tie.

Dec 28, 2016

I wouldn't wear white it shows stains from food, drink and blood too easy.

Dec 29, 2016

White is a must in my eyes. Annoyed when I see juniors in shitty dark shirts.

I always have 10 white shirts. Need to keep them looking brand new so this will last 12 months. i.e. ~25 uses each before collars & white colour starts to look shit.

If you are wearing white shirts which are faded throw the fucking things away they just look seedy.

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Jan 5, 2017

"25 uses each before collars & white colour starts to look shit."

you think? not if you get them dry cleaned consistently

Jan 6, 2017
TheInvestmentBaker:

I always have 10 white shirts. Need to keep them looking brand new so this will last 12 months. i.e. ~25 uses each before collars & white colour starts to look shit.

The fuck? You sweating ink from your pits or some shit?

Dec 29, 2016

White every day

Reinsurance

Jan 3, 2017

WSO style

Battle Dress for a Meeting a GS VP.

  1. White shirt
  2. Red "Trump" Tie
  3. Monkey themed Socks like a true WSO Ape!

Going to report back if the VP is ready for that WSO style.

Jan 3, 2017

that undershirt looks like a used hankerchief

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Jan 3, 2017

Still does the job just fine! Let's see how them socks work out...

Had that undershirt since my days fighting pirates on Wooden ships with iron canons! Glad I got all the blood stains out.

Jan 5, 2017

What are peoples opinion of an undershirt? Is it a must? V-Neck only?

Jan 5, 2017

Lunch with VPs went well. Had to admire that subtle off-white that closely resembles bone and the raised logo on the card. Paul Allen would have been proud.

Straight up chillin:

Socks

Best Response
Jan 6, 2017

Dude...those shoes....

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Jan 6, 2017
Ebolamonkey:

WSO style

Battle Dress for a Meeting a GS VP.

  1. White shirt
  2. Red "Trump" Tie
  3. Monkey themed Socks like a true WSO Ape!

Going to report back if the VP is ready for that WSO style.

I never understood the draw of variety / themed socks. In fact, I think that especially for socks, it is even more stylish to keep to the rule: the socks matches the pants, not the shoes.

Whenever I see themed socks, I think either:

1) The wearer couldn't find something dry this morning and so put on whatever sock is available.

2) The wearer isn't able to express his style through the conventional means - pocket square and tie.

I wish you well in getting the job at Goldman. But a red tie is to show aggression. Keep it blue, which is the staple business color.

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Jan 6, 2017

Lunch meeting with two VPs. Went well and they loved the outfit, monkey socks included. Got to wear this tie next time for that proper Yakuza look:

Red Dragon

Jan 3, 2017

no white shirts ever.

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Jan 5, 2017

I strictly where shirts with white or light blue base. Conservative patterns are cool. My goal is for no one to notice what I am wearing

Jan 5, 2017

What type of shirt should you wear if you want to work in DCM versus ECM?

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Jan 5, 2017
zerojb34:

What type of shirt should you wear if you want to work in DCM versus ECM?

ECM is coloured shirt with white cuffs & collar plus bracers.

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Jan 6, 2017

In my previous firm where I was a buy-side equity analyst, I was always attending conferences (whether held by the sell-side or publications) with fellow buy-side analysts and PM's from around the world, and executives & investor relations teams of listed companies around the region. I think that I was able to see how a pretty diverse set of people dressed for a somewhat formal event. White and blue shirts were definitely the most common. For the formal parts of the conference, it was more often than not a charcoal, dark grey, navy or black (yes, black suits during day time and for business are kosher here in Asia) suit. Charcoal, black and grey suits were often paired with a white or blue shirt, with the pattern being either solid color or pinstripe. A less formal but still acceptable shirt style was a blue/dark blue + white gingham or grey + white gingham with the previously mentioned suit colors. For the navy suits, they were most often paired with a white shirt, sometimes light blue or light grey. Personally, I stuck to charcoal, dark grey and black suits with white/light blue shirts for these formal events, when I was meeting with executives from the companies I cover, and meeting our institutional clients (HNW & UHNW people are a bit more laid back lol). These would be paired with simply-patterned ties, usually a modern-width Ferragamo tie like this: http://www.ferragamo.com/shop/en/usa/men/ties-acce...
When I'm just in the office or even going to lunch/dinner/drinks with counterparties, I also wear pinstripe/gingham, and also more casual shirt styles (like oxford) in similar colors.

I still dress similarly now (I work for a later stage VC, where the dress code is still slacks, with coat + tie optional unless we have an LP meeting or event) but have dialed back the formality a little.

Bottom line is that unless you're more senior, I would avoid colors that stand out such as purple or pink. I never tried to out-dress the PM's, and especially not my direct boss. But don't be afraid to mix it up shirt-wise, especially if you're just in the office and you hang up your coat when at your desk.

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Jan 6, 2017

190$ for a tie? Completely unreasonable.

Jan 6, 2017

Yeah, they are quite expensive and I make no pretensions that I'm blue-blooded in any way so I would always rely on hand-me-down's and closeout sale items (for accessories like ties and belts) during my first two years as a broke analyst. I wouldn't buy the current season's collection.

Something that helped me a lot:

Step 1: Ask parents and their friends who work in fields like marketing, advertising, medicine etc. and no longer wear ties to work for their fancy ties that are just sitting in the closet, or ties people gave them as gifts that they probably won't be able to use
Step 2: Just go wear them to the office because nobody has to know your fancy ties are hand-me-downs
Step 3: Repeat every 1st quarter of the year, post-Christmas gift giving, and voila, you frequently have "new" ties

Not the most glamorous of strategies but helped me save a lot of money.

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Jan 6, 2017

I love white and it looks nice.

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Jan 6, 2017

The monkey socks, I MUST BUY A PAIR!

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Jan 6, 2017

Mens Novelty Color Cotton Fancy Pattern Socks (1 Pair) (Hungry Monkey) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UUEPOUC/ref=cm_sw_r_c...
Should have a @WallStreetOasis.com Patrick Curtis edition. Hahaha.

Jan 14, 2017

White, light gray, light blue. Keep it simple.

Apr 6, 2017

wear white occasion dress.

Aug 17, 2017

If the company establishes an official dress code for working in the office, I would advise you to change jobs.

Aug 20, 2017
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Aug 29, 2017
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"All men are alike in their dreams, and all men are alike in the promises
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Oct 5, 2017