Technique

The Chambray Way

How to dress up a blue-collar staple.

Blue-collar white-collar: A.P.C. tie, Lova chambray shirt, Hickey Freeman suit jacket.

There’s nothing wrong with a white dress shirt. (In fact, there’s nothing wrong with a whole slew of white dress shirts.) But spring and summer offer you an opportunity to give your wardrobe a little jolt of life by experimenting with different fabrics, tones, and combinations. Take the chambray shirt—repositioned under a suit, it makes for a rakish, rule-busting approach to semi-formality. A few caveats. First, keep the “western” embellishments to a minimum. That includes contrast stitching, flap pockets, and even some snap buttons. Second, don’t go tie-less. The emphasis shouldn’t be dressing down a suit, but more of an alternative sort of formality. Finally, err on the side of lighter hues. That’s not to say a darker wash (like the Lova shirt to the right) won’t work under certain circumstances. Stay within these guidelines, pair your chambray shirt with a solid colored suit (i.e., no overt patterns…solid navy or khaki are safe bets), and you’ve got yourself a look, cowboy.

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