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Picking a Tie and Shirt


The Basics

We need somewhere to start and so the basic rules seem like a good place. Here are 3 simple rules to set you off on the right foot when choosing a suitable shirt and tie combination for your formal look.

1. Proportions

Your tie width should be the same width as your suit lapels and to make things easy for you we currently stock 4 different tie widths, the skinny tie goes with the skinny suit and so on so you’re proportions will always be on point! A slim fit shirt with a charming neat collar loses all its character with a bulky tie under it. The shirt’s collar will look bloated and the tie will look strangled so avoid at all costs! For a slim tie you want a small knot and a wide tie is complimented with a large knot.

2. Fit

Your shirt fit should compliment your suit jacket fit. If you’ve gone for a slim fit suit then choose one of our slim fit shirts to ensure you don’t have swathes of excess shirt fabric bunching underneath your suit jacket which will ruin the line of your jacket. We offer shirts in a range of fits to perfectly compliment the suit cuts on offer so you’ll have no problems picking one to fit just right.

3. Colour

Your tie should be darker than your shirt, this is the simplest rule to remember when it comes to colours, so if you’re not confident playing with colour just stick to this rule and you won’t go far wrong and a white shirt is the easiest place to start as it works with every other colour.

Colour Combos

Let’s look in more depth at colour combos.

As we’ve established, a white shirt is an essential.  Light blue and faded pink shirts are invaluable members of the formal wear family and not to be overlooked. They work well as they’re light so pair well with most tie colours.

Burgundy is bang on trend but can be difficult to incorporate in your formal day to day attire. Burgundy shirts are considered mostly smart casual, so instead use burgundy in your tie to make it feel more formal for the day and right at home in your workplace. A light blue shirt with a contrasting burgundy tie is a big yes!

The thought of integrating orange into your understated yet stylish outfit will probably seem rather alarming. However a burnt orange tie contrasts exceptionally well with a light blue shirt. The burnt colour gives it texture and a sense of roughness, giving your outfit a subtle, masculine edge.

Our other favourite combos include a forest green tie on a light blue shirt – sophisticated and tasteful, a khaki green tie complementing a faded pink shirt – brave yet brilliant and a navy blue tie on faded pink shirt – a classic success.

Introducing a Pocket Square

Wearing matching pocket square and tie is dependable and considered the safe option, however there aren’t any steadfast rules when it comes to a pocket square. If you’re looking for a little guidance a good tip is to match your pocket square with the colour of any small detail on your tie; a very simple idea that shows good attention to detail and won’t go unnoticed. Once you feel confident with conventional colours why not try mix things up a bit with different textures and patterns.


Once you feel confident with conventional colours why not try mix things up a bit with different textures and patterns, knitted ties look amazing on a gingham shirt so try this combination for an established look.

Make your mundane work suit a little more dapper with a contrast collar shirt worn with a dark tie and a metal tie clip for a refined finish that will take you from the boardroom to your favourite bar in style.

Visit our Pinterest board of great shit and tie combinations for a little more inspiration.

Anatomy of a Shirt

The shirt is such an everyday article of clothing, worn with everything from suits to sweaters or just with a pair of classic dark denim. The thing is there is an absolute wealth of options when it comes to your smart shirt, each conveying a slightly different message when it comes to your sartorial selection.




One of the more noticeable details on your smart shirt, your choice of collar can speak volumes.

A classic point collar is a time honoured, versatile option that’s so popular because it suits all face shapes, it’s understated and simply smart.

Next up you’ve got spread and cutaway collars. “All cutaway collars are spread collars, but not all spread collars are cutaway collars”, This a widely debated topic but we don’t want to cause confusion so in the simplest terms, a spread collar has points that finish wider apart than a classic point collar, so a wider angle in between and a cutaway collar is an even more extreme version of this. They’re often considered slightly more formal than a classic point collar and they really suit men with thin and long faces.

The button-down collar is conventionally thought of as less formal, it’s traditionally a sports collar that would not be worn with a suit (dress down Friday is more within its remit), however times change and fashion and what is considered acceptable slowly morphs. These days you can get away with a button down collar for a formal look, but best to go for a knitted tie and perhaps leave the suit jacket at home.

The tab collar is much more elusive and less common than it’s other collar counterparts. Falling in and out of fashion since the 1920s, it’s popular with those who are after a vintage twist to their formal look. The tab fastens right under the tie knot which holds the tie right up to the top of the collar and keeps it looking precice all day long. The tab collar works well with a skinny tie and a modish skinny suit. If it’s good enough for James Bond (Craig rocked a tab collar in Skyfall), it’s certainly good enough for us. A similar effect can be achieved with a collar bar too.

The most formal collar type is the wing collar, it’s traditionally part of your black tie dress code and would be worn exclusively with a tuxedo or a morning coat and a bow tie. Not one to wear to the office, this shirt should be saved for special occasions only.



As with the collar, there are many varieties of shirt cuff too. Let’s focus on 3 of the most popular for now.

The most universal cuff is the barrel cuff which you’ll find on most ‘off the shelf’ shirts. It’s great for the office and business wear, it’s understated and it won’t break any of the rules for formal dressing. You get barrel cuffs with one, two or even three buttons (one is the most common on a formal shirt) and the cuff can be cut straight, gently rounded at the edge or even mitred to create some additional angles.

Next up is the French cuff which is also known as a double cuff. The material is twice as long as for a barrel cuff and it folds back on itself before you press the inner facing surfaces together and fasten with a cufflink. The French cuff is fairly divisive with two firm camps, those that love the formality of the French cuff and it’s association with high flying business executives which explains its enormous popularity in The City amongst the bankers, brokers and board members of the world and on the other hand those that find the French cuff ostentatious and over the top. Whatever your opinion, it is unanimously agreed that cufflinks are obligatory with a French cuff, anything else is considered sloppy and most certainly not ‘edgy’ and cool.

Finally we have the cocktail cuff which you may also have heard of as a turn back cuff, James Bond cuff, Portofino cuff, Milanese cuff, Neapolitan cuff or a British cuff. As you can imagine, having so many different monikers it’s easy to see how this cuff can cause some confusion. The cocktail cuff is similar to the French cuff in that it also turns back on itself, however you do not require cufflinks, the cuff is stiff and won’t flop around and is fastened by two buttons traditionally. This cuff makes a slightly more unusual alternative to the French cuff and saw a rise to popularity when it was worn by Sean Connery and Roger Moore in the bond movies through the 60s and 70s. As you can probably defer from the name, this cuff is intended for occasion wear including black and white tie dress codes but it has recently made a transition into the upper echelons of business dress.



Another hotly debated topic when it comes to men’s shirts, however this really boils down to personal preference and the level of formality you’re after. The function of the pleat is to give you some excess material to help increase your comfortable range of movement at the shoulders and back, the down side is that this also adds some volume of material to the waist too which doesn’t help achieve the slim fit which is right on trend at the moment.

A box pleat is the least formal option and is usually found on shirts with a button down collar, they’re often also found on many ‘off the shelf’ dress shirts (but not ours!).

Secondly you have side pleats which can also be known as knife pleats. These are often preferred over a box pleat for formal dress as they don’t create the same amount of excess fabric at the waist but should be avoided if you have broad but slightly sloping shoulders as they won’t sit properly.

An inverted back pleat is also know as a scissor pleat, its function is much the same as the box pleat, it’s just inverted. It’s more scarce than the box pleat but still considered fairly informal. It looks great on a smart-casual shirt like a denim or a chambray that can be used to dress down a suit.

A great deal of people prefer not to have any pleats at all on their dress shirt, and indeed if the shoulders and arm holes fit well there is little need. Having no pleats also means that you don’t have the extra inches of fabric around the rest of the torso. It’s also not really the done thing to have darts in a shirt with pleats and so if you’re after a slim, sleek silhouette then no pleats and a pair of neat darts to sculpt the shirt is preferable. We offer this style of shirt across most of our smart range.

The Placket


The placket also comes in a choice of designs available. The most familiar is the conventional placket which is found on most ‘off the shelf’ shirts. It gives the shirt a symmetrical aesthetic and is traditional British business and formal dress.

The French placket has the fabric is folded over inwards so that the stitches don’t show on the front of the shirt. It’s considered more modern and is much more minimalist and popular in the rest of Europe, however it is becoming much more popular in the UK too and can be considered more formal that it’s conventional counterpart.

The Fly Front placket has a flap of material which conceals the shirt buttons underneath. This is your go-to placket style when you have a black tie dress code or an occasion that calls for a tuxedo.

Finally, a contrast placket is most often a conventional placket which is made in a contrast colour to the rest of the shirt, it can also be complimented with a contrast collar or even contrast cuffs too.

Now when it comes to picking the perfect dress shirt, whether it is for business, black tie or you just want to show off your extensive knowledge, you’ll be clued up on everything you need to know to nail your look. For a little more inspiration check out our article on how to pick the perfect shirt and tie combination too.

National Burger Day – 5 Best Burgers

Patty & Bun – London


This little gem on James Street offers you a place to chill out and pig out.

The menu is small, meaning that each of the six burgers on the menu have been perfectly constructed to leave your mouth in awe after your self-indulged fix. The Brioche bun served with all the burgers adds a sweetness to every delightful bite.

Recommendation: The ‘Ari Gold’ Cheeseburger. With reference to the loveable character from the hit show ‘Entourage’, this flawless masterpiece will leaving you feeling on top of the world like Mr. Gold himself.


The Burger Joint – Bristol


Spoil yourself at the best burger restaurant in Bristol. The Burger Joint has an electric atmosphere and unbeatable prices to make your burger experience even better. There is a step by step menu which lends you a hand assembling your ultimate burger with every patty, topping and sauce you could possibly imagine. The enormous range of combos means that you can make your burger as simplistic or extravagant as your heart desires.

Recommendation: Welsh Lamb & Mint patty and Tzatsiki combo. These two work amazingly well together and can be collaborated with any of the 22 toppings with no bother at all.


Almost Famous – Manchester, Liverpool & Leeds


Be sure to get in and sat down early because the booming busy vibe of this place never seems to let off. The staff are extremely friendly and welcoming and make you feel at home while you decide which work of art to devour. the little plastic red baskets as well as the edgy furniture and decor create an authentic American feel.

Recommendation: River Phoenix burger. A double cheese burger with bacon and their trademark Baconnaise is a fusion to die for. Do not dare to ask them what’s in the Baconnaise though, they would never dream of telling you.


Boss Burgers – Leeds


Its all about the burger! At Boss Burgers the juicy patties are seasoned and cooked to a tee and are meticulously crafted together with a select range of components to complete the perfect burger. It is a small hidden treasure located on the quieter side of Leeds but is well-worth a trip if you are in town; prefect for lunch or dinner on-the-go.

Recommendation: The Goats Cheese & Chilli One. The perfect beef patty, goats cheese, chilli jam and rocket. This popular burger is simple, yet effective, sending your mouth into orbit at the very first bite.


Hache Burgers – London


Handsome portions, the highest quality ingredients and first class service makes Hache excellent value for money. It is considered to be more of a sophisticated restaurant than a sloppy burger joint. The menu is exploding with a variety worldwide influences, but all come together to work harmoniously in the heart of Camden.

Recommendation: Steak Louisiana. This American classic can be demolished in a matter seconds, so contain yourself. The chunky succulent prime steak is smothered in their crunchy peanut butter and the mature cheddar gives your burger the cutting edge it needs to steal the show.

Work Wardrobe

Going to work doesn’t have to be so bad when you have the perfect work wardrobe! It’s true, looking smart and stylish will make your work day way better and make you more confident. Getting you’re work wardrobe perfect is easy and will make getting dressed in the morning so much simpler.


Here’s what you need to do:

Stock up on 2 to 3 shirts, go for 2 light colours like white and blue and a dark grey or navy. If you want to get more wear out of these shirts during the week, a great trick is to put a vest top on underneath – don’t worry your secret is safe with us!

You’ll also need 2 pairs of trousers – go for a pair of classic black trousers as these go with everything and won’t go out of fashion and a grey or navy pair, for when you want a change from black. It may still be warm now, but it’s a good idea to keep a sweater for chilly days at the office.

Detail is always key, keep a plain tie and a more fashionable tie for days when you need to look a little bit smarter – plus ties always come in handy when you need to attend a formal occasion. Cufflinks and a nice belt are also very important, a leather belt will make your look much more stylish. Finally, finish your wardrobe with a classic pair of black polished shoes. A smart pair of shoes go a long way, a black pair will go with all your trousers and shirts but you can also go for brown if you’re a little braver at work.

You’re work wardrobe is officially sorted! Stick to these guidelines and you’ll look great all season round. Just to make it even easier – head over to our smart essentials edit to get you started. Mix and match the formal wear you need and get 2 for only £30!

Check out the Back to Work Feature 

Monochrome Runway

One of the most biggest trends hitting the runway this Autumn Winter is the Monochrome trend. This trend has been around for a while, but judging from the runaway it’s about to get way bigger. Many designers have filled the runway with black and white – whether it’s using simple black and white combos, colour blocking or big and small prints, it’s definitely big and here to stay.

From smart to causal wear – there’s always room for monochrome. This trend is easy to pull off making it really popular and never fails to make you stand out of the crowd.


If you think this is the look for you then head over to our Monochrome feature. Here you’ll find everything you need to know, to pull of this trend off well and look great this AW14. Trust us  you definitely want to be part of this cool and edgy style.


View the Monochrome Feature.

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