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7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Women’s Formal Shirt

It doesn’t get more classic than a formal button-up shirt. When looking to enhance your work or formal wardrobes, a stylish women’s dress shirt will always add an elegant touch that can fit into all scenarios and ensembles.

But not all women’s formal shirts are made equal. Here’s a list of things to consider when shopping for a button-up that will elevate your everyday look and add elegance to your style.

  1. FIT

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a formal shirt is its fit. Button-up that fits well, is the biggest determining factor in how you’ll feel and look.

Generally speaking, the right formal shirt will be nicely fitted to the body with little excess fabric, with shoulder seams sitting just on your shoulder and sleeves finishing comfortably at your wrist. The intention is to create clean lines flattering to the body without tension or bellowing.


A formal shirt should have a longer length for it to be either tucked in or worn untucked. A rule of thumb to keep in mind is that the back of your dress shirt should cover your bottom almost entirely. Any shorter and you risk untucking the shirt from basic movement. Any longer, and you’ll end up with a bulge due to excess fabric.


The fabric of the formal shirt determines how the shirt is going to look and feel. 100% fine cotton is the best choice for button-ups. You can recognize the quality fabric from an exceptionally silky, smooth, and soft touch. If the shirt’s fabric is at all rough to the touch, wrinkles particularly easily, or shrinks a large amount with normal washing then you likely have a poor-quality fabric.

For formal shirts it is better to avoid synthetic fabrics that can look shiny or cheap and aren’t as breathable as cotton.


The collar is the formal shirt’s most standout feature. It borders the face and is the first thing people see when looking at you. If well made, the collar helps make a great first impression by signalling professionalism and competence.

Most shirts for women are made with soft collars that are more casual and perfect for relaxed looks. However, if you are looking for a proper formal shirt, a firm collar is the better option for a crisp and sharp appearance.

  1. CUFFS

In addition to the collar, you should also pay attention to the cuffs when choosing a formal shirt. In general, it is possible to distinguish between two types of cuffs: the barrel cuffs and the French or double cuffs.

A traditional barrel cuff gets its name because it forms a sort of cylinder or barrel when it is fastened with the button. This cuff is fastened by a single button closure but may also come with two buttons, which allows you to control the snugness of the wrist. The style is simple and suitable for almost every situation.

A barrel cuff may also have a second buttonhole on the other side of the cuff that is unseen when worn normally buttoned but can be opened up and worn with cufflinks. That type of barrel cuff is called the convertible cuff.

French cuff is a more formal cuff. It is twice as long as a regular cuff and is folded back on itself and closed with cufflinks. French cuffs are a statement-making look that allow for an added touch of class as you can switch up the cufflink styles and colours.

  1. COLOR

There is no disputing the versatility of a solid formal shirt. When it comes to office wear, the mind jumps immediately to the white and perhaps the light blue shirt. These shirts are the cornerstone of your shirt wardrobe and for good reason. They are classic, timeless, and most importantly: they go well with literally anything.

Other popular and versatile formal shirt colours for women are pink and lilac. Besides these light shades, however, dark colours like black and navy blue are also a beautiful choice for formal button-ups.


Patterns are a great way to spice up your look. You can always rely on patterned formal shirts to add both style and visual interest to every outfit. The only thing to consider when choosing patterns is that the bigger or bolder the pattern, the less formal the shirt is considered to be.

A classic combination of white and blue in pinstripes is one of the smartest options for formal shirts. The pattern is timeless and brings about a change from the solid shirts.

Another awesome way to add some instant personality to your shirt arsenal is with a widely popular gingham shirt.

It takes many fine details to make a high-quality formal shirt. Hopefully list helps with what to look for when choosing a formal shirt.

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