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The White Dress Shirt Dilemma - Translucency

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    The White Dress Shirt Dilemma - Translucency

    The White Dress Shirt Dilemma (WDSD) refers to the issue that many many white dress shirts suffer from, to wit, translucency. Affected white dress shirts pose a number of issues: they show ANY undershirt you're wearing (yes, even heather grey), they take on some of your skin tone which looks strange and they just end up looking cheap. This is a VERY common problem that seems to plague reasonably priced white dress shirts everywhere.

    Yesterday I frantically scanned a mall looking for a slim fit white dress shirt that didn't suffer from the WDSD. I checked JCP, Lord & Taylor, Banana Republic, GAP, Old Navy, J Crew, H&M and Kohl's. I've been through Macy's so many times that I didn't even bother. Not a single place had a white dress shirt (slim or otherwise) that was able to avoid the WDSD.

    Has anyone found a white dress shirt that isn't horrible? Can they be found without wandering into the $100+ price range? Please discuss.

    My measurements, for context--> Body Type: Slim/Skinny |​ Weight: 175 lbs | Height: 6'1" | Neck: 16” | Chest: 40” | Waist: 33.5” | Shoulder: 18.75” | Sleeve: 35.5” | Bicep: 12.75” | Wrist: 6.75”


    @diversification - I find translucency a problem with poplins. Try some other weaves like twill.

    You can definitely find them for < $100. This for example.



      I notice you didn't mention Target. I have one of the Merona white dress shirts and I don't have any problems with translucency. Not 100% cotton though, but I doubt all of the brands/stores you listed are.



        It's been a common problem for me, too. More expensive shirts don't seem to alleviate the issue, either (at least not from my experience). I'll be following this thread.



          Yes this annoying. They also show tattoos through, FYI. I alleviate these issues by always wearing something over them (sweater or blazer).

          "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano



            @greg_s: Same here.



              I'm about as white as the shirt, so no problem for me. Im almost clear.

              What we do in life echos throughout eternity.



                Agree w/ redbeardmike - the twill and herringbone shirts I have are less of a problem.



                  Even the one herringbone white shirt I own is not 100% opaque.



                    My white Bonobos dress shirt doesn't seem to exhibit this problem. I'm pretty sure it's totally opaque - or close to it. Actually, same with my Uniqlo one, now that I think of it. I'll confirm tonight at home.



                      I had a feeling I'd be seeing suggestions for twill and herringbone weaves (end on end is probably another one). I really wish that more manufacturers would adopt those weaves. Personally, I think they look far better than the pinpoint, broadcloth, poplin, WhateverTheHellYouWantToCallThem weaves; they add that often mentioned bit of visual depth which is wonderful in almost all circumstances.

                      I would imagine that shirt that redbeardedmike listed from CT is completely opaque. The problem is, very few find-them-almost-anywhere brick and mortar stores carrying anything like this (I'm a US citizen... you British folks are lucky with regard to this). If they do, it's typically made for someone with a 16.5" neck, 57" chest, 65" waist and 32" sleeves (I'm being facetious but you get what I mean).

                      Anyway, thanks for the advice. Please keep it coming!

                      EDIT: That would be exciting if Uni has an actual dress shirt that was opaque. I'm not talking oxford material though...

                      My measurements, for context--> Body Type: Slim/Skinny |​ Weight: 175 lbs | Height: 6'1" | Neck: 16” | Chest: 40” | Waist: 33.5” | Shoulder: 18.75” | Sleeve: 35.5” | Bicep: 12.75” | Wrist: 6.75”



                        I have the Charles Tyrwhitt shirt that redbeardedmike mentioned. You cannot see an undershirt through it.



                          After a minute or two of googling:



                          Every Nordstrom Rack I've been to has a Nordstrom Smart Carr trim fit white twill on sale for about $30 in loads of sizes.

                          Free shipping and free returns from Nordstrom. Charles Tyrwhitt has free returns and they often have sales featuring free shipping.

                          I think you don't see a ton of twill dress shirts because it is a thicker fabric and presumably less breathable under a suit. I also got the feeling that herringbone and twill were considered slightly less formal - but that could just be because not many people seem to offer them.

                          I don't wear a lot of white under suits, but I recently had a white, twill, herringbone shirt made from Blank Label. I'm pretty pleased with he fabric. See pics here.



                            @diversification: the Uniqlo shirt I'm referring to is not oxford material. I bought it a few years ago, so they may not even have the same thing available anymore. In any event, I'll take a look when I get home tonight and update.



                              I should also mention that a number of the Charles Tyrwhitt shirts are available through their current 'shirts for $39.50 + free tie' promotion that runs through 10/31. There are a handful available, some in each of their fits.

                              Just use the url and click through to access the deal (don't worry, not a referral link).