Shirts are one of the most basic pieces that can be incorporated into any look, from a snazzy suited-up ensemble to a laid-back one for a day at the beach. As versatile as they are, it’s best to have a few different shirt types at your disposal to ensure you’re well-prepared for any situation life throws your way. After all, you don’t want to be wearing a crumpled T-shirt for that last minute date.

Thanks to its versatility, the shirt has seen countless iterations, styles and fabrics that constantly reinvent the look. And while there are countless options you could turn to, we go back to basics and bring you five shirt types that you absolutely need in your wardrobe now.

The Poplin Shirt

Named after its weave, the poplin shirt is known to be lighter than other weaves and are hence, better for warmer climates. It might be a thin material, but its composition makes it less likely to tear, so it’s no surprise that poplin is the most commonly used fabric when it comes to shirts. Given their smoother, thinner finish as compared to say, an oxford shirt, they make for great formal wear options. Besides, you won’t be sweating under a heavy jacket.

Givenchy chain-trimmed poplin shirt, S$961

The Grandad Collar Shirt

The grandad collar started off less as a stylish fad and more as a functional need. Factory workers began ripping the collar area from their shirts to prevent them from getting caught in the machines. Now, it’s transformed to be a shirt that deserves a place in every gentleman’s wardrobe, thanks to its versatility. And it’s not just reserved for weekend looks; it can be a marginally more casual take on a full-blown suit ensemble when paired with a blazer and smart oxford shoes.

Paul Smith slim-fit grandad collar club cotton shirt, S$312

The Oxford Shirt

First made in the 19th century by Scottish fabric mills, the oxford shirt is actually one of the four shirt fabrics that’s named after some of the world’s most prestigious universities. It’s also the only one to survive the test of time and trends. The others — Yale, Cambridge and Harvard — have been ceased to be produced. Today, the humble Oxford is the go-to for occasions that are casual, formal or anything in-between. Wear the versatile shirt with slim-fitted jeans or chino shorts for an updated look on the classic.

Thom Browne oxford shirt with grosgrain placket, S$585

The Denim Shirt

No longer reserved for cowboys and mechanics, the denim shirt is more grunge-y cool than utilitarian wear now. Whether it’s chambray, raw, dark or mid-blue, the denim shirt is a perennial favourite that has great mileage. Wear it as a layer over your favourite tee, or wear it on it’s own for a tailored look that’s not too formal.

Tom Ford slim-fit denim shirt, S$660

The Linen Shirt

Perhaps the most relevant option in this humidity, the linen shirt is a better style option than the plain ol’ tee when it comes to looking insouciantly casual. The Mediterranean-esque breezy look is easy to achieve too. Simply choose form-fitting ones, and play with sleeve lengths for varying degrees of casual-ness.

MP Massimo Piombo linen-blend shirt, S$357

Shatricia Nair
Shatricia Nair is a motoring, watches, and wellness writer who is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, tourbillons, and the latest fitness trends. She is fuelled by peanut butter and three cups of coffee a day.