Pleat Styles On Dress Shirts


A dress shirt should be comfortable and fit snugly without restricting movements. With all the different types of dress shirts available, how do you know which one to shop online for? There are many design and fit considerations when selecting a dress shirt. Your back has a natural curve and wearing the wrong shirt can cause discomfort throughout the day, restricting your movements. Pleats were created to help conform the shirt to a specific body type and gives you more movement around the shoulders and arms.

When it comes to designs, there are three types of pleats – box, side and none. Each one of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Simply by looking at pleats on a dress shirt, people can determine if it was store bought, tailored, or well tailored to fit the man.

Box Pleat

This is the most common for off-the-rack dress shirts. The box pleat creates a rectangular fold of fabric that runs along the middle of the back. This style is the least formal and can be found on shirts in the store. If a man has shoulders that slope, this style would be more comfortable than side pleats. The reason it is the most common style is because it allows for the most movement. However, it can add fullness to the waist in the back when wearing a dress shirt utilizing it.

Box Pleats on Dress Shirt Box Pleat

Side Pleats

This style looks cleaner, with the side pleats placed near the shoulder blades. They are considered more stylish and subtle than their box counterpart and tend to fit men more comfortably because they align better with the shape of the wearer’s back. Most tailors would be able to add or alter off-the-rack dress shirts for you to incorporate this style.

Side Pleats on Dress Shirt Side Pleats

No Pleats

This is the cleanest style that is the most formal of the three and is considered the easiest to iron. If the dress shirt has no pleats, it means it was tailored to fit the person wearing it. Rarely found in stores off-the-rack – if you want no pleats, you usually go to your tailor to get the perfect fit for yourself.

No Pleats on Dress Shirt No Pleats

Those are the 3 options available for your dress shirts. If you are going for formal and perfect fitting, then you would ideally go for side pleats or a great fit so you won’t need any at all. For a casual shirt or a normal work day dress shirt, a box pleat may suffice. At the end of the day, the shirt should be comfortable, fit snugly and not restrict your movements.

Image Courtesy: Clifton Charles, Exec Shirts


About Author

Dhawal Shah

Through Art of Style Club, Dhawal Shah is educating himself on lifestyle matters affecting everyday men and bringing a fresh perspective to answer their questions. He is also the co-founder of 2Stallions Digital Marketing Agency, and an expert on web development, SEO, SEM, Marketing Automation & Social Media.

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