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8 Best Work Shirts for Men on the Market

The humble work shirt is perhaps one of the most underappreciated workplace garments. Whereas all good tradespeople worth their salt invest in durable boots, protective outerwear and socks that could stop snake bites, many people tend to consider the shirt an afterthought. If you’re finding yourself sweating up a storm or getting your shirt tattered and worn out, there’s a good chance you’ve picked the right shirt. In this list we will not only be looking at durability but also style and comfort.

How many work shirts do I need?

For people who are working for eight hours a day or more at a work site, ensuring you have a shirt that is breathable and comfortable is of the utmost importance. How many you will need, depends very much on the type of person you are, how many days you wear your shirts and how often you wash them. Having at least 3 is always advisable, but there’s no harm owning more.

The best work shirts for the money

However, we also realise the importance of a good deal, so we’ve also factored in value into our shirt selection. Additionally, we’ll take into account various types of materials and neck types to ensure we cover a broad range of fashion tastes and practical requirements.

Based on our research and reviews these are the 8 best workwear shirts on the market:

1. Scruffs T54672 Worker T-Shirt (in Graphite)

Price: £ | Sizes: UK Small – XX Large | Material: Cotton | Colour: Graphite

Scruffs T54672 Worker T-Shirt Graphite

It’s almost impossible to find a list of high-quality workwear that doesn’t feature Scruffs; the Scruffs T54672 Worker T-Shirt Graphite is no exception. Made from 100% cotton and designed for all-day comfort, the T54672 is a wonderful choice for people who want a shirt that’s just as comfortable lounging on the couch as it is when you’re on the tools. This particular shirt washes easily and dries quickly, making it the ideal choice for guys who just want to chuck the shirt in the wash without having to think twice about it.

The graphite colour is a solid, masculine look, and it’s the kind of shirt you’d be happy to have two or three extra of so you’re never caught short.

I don’t know about you, but our team hates it when you get a shirt that doesn’t breathe properly the longer you wear it. There is no such issue here, as this shirt (being made from cotton) is inherently breathable and is naturally absorbent, removing liquid from your skin like a towel and then evaporating thanks to its innate predisposition to rapid drying.

2. Regatta TRS167SM038 Offensive Wicking Polo (Various Sizes and Colours)

Price: ££ | Sizes: UK Small – XXX Large | Material: 63% Bamboo, 37% Polyester flat mesh fabric | Colour: Black / Blue Wing / Seal Grey / Dark Khaki

Regatta TRS167SM038 Offensive Wicking Polo, Size Small, Seal Grey

The Regatta TRS167SM038 Offensive Wicking Polo is available in four different colours and a multitude of sizes, so there’s plenty of choice for your work needs here. It has moisture-wicking antibacterial performance fabric with a ribbed collar and cuffs, giving this a sporty look that I could imagine a football coach wearing.

It features a three-button placket and a single chest pocket, and the style is matched exquisitely by the level of comfort it provides. The smoothly finished fabric means that you could also wear this in the winter months and make do okay, although an outer layer on cold days is advisable.

The bamboo and polyester blend gives this shirt strong antibacterial properties that in and of itself warrants this shirt’s slightly higher price tag, although the price itself is still very affordable for most people. If you’re looking for a shirt that fuses style and comfort, the Regatta TRS167SM038 Offensive Wicking Polo is a fine choice indeed.

3. Dickies Hi-Vis Safety Polo Shirt / Mens Workwear (L) (Hi-Vis Yellow or Orange)

Price: £££ | Sizes: UK Medium – XX Large | Material: 100% Polyester | Colour: Orange or Hi-Vis Yellow

Dickies Hi-Vis Safety Polo Shirt - Mens Workwear

Okay, so it’s hard to look suave in a hi-vis polo, but this Hi-Vis Safety Polo Shirt from Dickies will at least make sure you won’t be getting accidentally run over any time soon. Featuring a three-button placket and two retro-reflective strips (50 mm wide) that stretch around the body, including one over each shoulder, Dickies doesn’t take any shortcuts with this shirt. Each sleeve is finished with a ribbed cuff, and the neck is graced with a ribbed polo collar. It conforms to the BS EN 471 Class 2 specifications.

If you’re wondering to go medium and large, we actually recommend ordering down on this item, as the large variant may be a bit too big. Dickies are known for their durable workwear items, and the Hi-Vis Safety Polo Shirt is just one of their many examples of high-quality clothing items. Don’t leave visibility to chance—ensure that you can be seen at all times; it could save your life. The shirts come in both hi-vis yellow as well as orange, which are by far the best two colours when it comes to hi-vis workwear.

4. Apache Men’s Dry Max Moisture Wicking Polo – Black / Grey, Large

Price: £ | Sizes: UK Medium — XX Large | Material: 100% knitted polyester fabric | Colour: Black / Grey

Apache Men's Dry Max Moisture Wicking Polo - Black/Grey, Large

The words “smart” and “cheap” are not two words that normally go together, but the Apache Men’s Dry Max Moisture Wicking Polo definitely fits both categories. Featuring fast-drying fabric with a quintessentially modern design, our money is on this shirt to win the contest for best-value wicking polo (and 258+ customer reviews can’t be wrong).

While you’d be forgiven for thinking that a polo at this price point is cutting corners, this honestly isn’t the case. The knitted polyester fabric is delightfully breathable, although the size charts for this particular shirt are not perfectly tuned, which means that very tall people might find the shirts a little short; if that’s you, then you might want to look into sizing up or selecting a different shirt altogether. This is a perfect summer polo, although we suggest you look into something a bit heftier if you’re looking for a winter shirt to complement the rest of your winter clothes.

One thing that we will mention, however, is that this isn’t the most robust of shirts. If you’re planning to do heavy trade work, including gardening, you’d be better served investing extra into something with more durability. That said, given the price, this is a truly outstanding deal.

5. Scruffs Active Graphite Grey with Black Trim Polo T-Shirt

Price: ££ | Sizes: UK Small – XXL | Material: Cotton | Colour: Graphite Grey with Black trim

SCRUFFS Trade Active Polo T Shirt Graphite New for 2018. Workwear Summer Clothing

The Scruffs Active Graphite Grey with Black Trim Polo T-Shirt is certainly a modern look, although we understand if the design is a bit on the polarising side. The vertical orange zip is certainly not something we can recall seeing before, but it’s a bold look regardless of how you slice it.

Another 100% cotton shirt, the Active Graphite Grey with Black Trim is as breathable as it is unique. It’s quick to dry, designed especially to ensure you feel and stay fresh for long days at work. It’s ideal for construction sites in the summer sun, but the material is also solid enough that you will find it useful in the winter, too. Unlike many other shirts, this shirt has good sizing measurements. Best of all, though, it won’t shrink in the wash. However, if you’re on the fence between medium and large, we’d say go for large, as the item is designed with a builder’s frame in mind.

If you’re looking to shake your shirt game up a bit and try something new, the Scruffs Active Graphite Grey with Black Trim is the perfect fit.

6. Dickies High-Visibility Hooded Sweatshirt

Price: ££ | Sizes: UK Small – XXXXL | Material: 100% Polyester | Colour: Orange / Hi Viz; Orange Navy / Two Tone; Yellow Navy / Two Tone; Yellow / Hi Viz; Black / Plain

Dickies HI VIZ VIS Hoodie HIGH Visibility Hooded Sweatshirt Safety Work Hoody

Do you know what’s lame about hi-vis wear? It tends to look pretty rubbish when it’s loosely slapped over the top of something else. It doesn’t really conform well to the body at all, and that’s not to mention the garish hues that are necessary to ensure you’re easily spotted. While not much can be done about the loudness of hi-vis wear, you can flip the script and turn it into something trendy without sacrificing the undeniable utility of being easy to spot.

The Dickies High-Visibility Hooded Sweatshirt is different. It fuses the comfortable fit of a hooded sweatshirt with the eye-catching colour of hi-vis workwear, ensuring that you don’t have to throw out your sense of cool to avoid getting hit by a Mack truck in the dead of night.

It features a ribbed hem and cuff, a front kangaroo pocket, and an attached hood with draw-cord adjustment. Like all good hoodies, the Dickies High-Visibility Hooded Sweatshirt is warm and durable. Furthermore, it is machine washable and comes in three types of fits: regular fit, slim fit, and loose fit.

It’s available in five colour schemes, including black (just in case you’ve been commissioned to undertake corporate espionage and don’t want to be spotted infiltrating a competitor’s work site, we guess).

7. Gildan Heavyweight Ultra 100% Preshrunk Cotton Pique Polo

Price: £ | Sizes: UK Extra Small – XXL | Material: 100% Cotton | Colour: 15 colour varieties!

Gildan Heavyweight Ultra 100% Preshrunk Cotton Pique Polo

On a tight budget and have a penchant for a particular colour? Fear not! Gildan are masters at creating high-quality polos at dirt-cheap prices, featuring a large array of colours to ensure there is something for everyone’s tastes. They are machine washable and 100% preshrunk cotton, ensuring a breathable experience that shirts five times the price will sometimes fail at. It has three woodtone buttons and is formed from a tubular construction.

Due to the bargain-basement price of these shirts, you might be tempted to get a handful of them in a variety of colours. While this is a great idea, we suggest that you first purchase one of them to see if it is the right fit, as the shirt lacks shape compared to higher-priced shirts, and some people have reported the shirts being slightly too large. Nevertheless, we thought it was important to showcase a true budget shirt that was halfway decent, as not everyone wants to (or can afford to) spend 40 quid on a polo shirt.

8. Dickies Portland Padded Shirt Fleece Workwear (SH5000)

Price: ££ | Sizes: UK Small – XXXXL | Material: Polyester | Colour: Many colour variants available

Dickies Portland Padded Shirt Fleece Workwear (SH5000) WARM PADDED LINED GREEN & NAVY

The Dickies Portland Padded Shirt Fleece Workwear (SH5000) has that classic checkered look that never ages. Dickies has 12 different colour variants, and they’re all made from 100% polyester. PThe long sleeves and pearlised studs are designed for warmth and comfort, ensuring you retain body heat in style.

A classic case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, Dickies proves yet again that it knows how to make clothes for the discerning worker. The warmest shirt on this list, you could probably say this shirt is halfway between a shirt and jacket, and as such we’ve included this in a list of the best work jackets, which you can take a look at here.

Workwear Shirts Buying Guide

How to find the best workwear shirts

With so many different kinds of work shirts on the market, you might have a difficult time picking one; in fact, it might be a good idea to pick up several kinds to ensure you have all your bases covered. It’s a good idea to buy shirts that are breathable, comfortable, good value, warm, and durable. While these are probably the five most important features to consider, other important factors include the different sizes and materials that are available.

Sizes

Like other items of clothing, not all sizes are created the same. A large shirt in one variety might be considered medium in another. Manufacturers tend not to be consistent across the board, so it’s important that you check measurements and read reviews to check if you’re getting the right size. If in doubt, we suggest you contact the manufacturer.

Warmth

Most shirts don’t focus on warmth, since it’s assumed a jacket will be worn over the top (should you require extra warmth). Nevertheless, if you’re after a shirt that provides a good deal of warmth in and of itself, we recommend looking at shirts of thicker material (such as the Dickies Portland Padded Shirt Fleece Workwear). It should also be noted that hi-vis shirts can sometimes include warmth and comfortability, as evidenced by the Dickies High-Visibility Hooded Sweatshirt.

Safety

Shirts can be used in a wide variety of industries, and therefore the safety features will vary with the use case. For example, a shirt at a steelworks factory would be best serve by a fame-resistant shirt, a traffic signaller would be best served with a hi-vis shirt, and a person working in construction would be best served by a shirt that is durable and capable of withstanding a moderate amount of debris without tearing.

Essential Factors to Keep in Mind

Like all clothing items, it’s a good idea to go shopping with a thought of what you’re after. This will help streamline your shopping experience and save you time. While it’s always a good idea to look out for discounts and sales, make sure you pay attention to reviews and customer feedback so that you’re aware of any potential issues.

This is particularly important when  you’re buying online, since you won’t actually get to try on the shirt before buying. Manufacturer sizing and customers reviews is all you will have to go on, so choose wisely!

The Bottom Line

Shirts come in all shapes and sizes, but it might take you a while to figure out what you’ll need. If you’re on a budget, we’ve offered loose price rankings using £ (cheap), ££ (moderate price) , and £££ (expensive) to give you a good sense of price. However, just because something is expensive, it doesn’t mean the item is bad value. Indeed, there’s an old saying that you should ponder: “buy cheap, buy twice”. This doesn’t mean that the cheap items on this list are bad; it’s just that you’re typically going to get a longer life and better results from a high-end shirt than you will from a cheap once. You really do get what you pay for, and shirts are no different.

As mentioned earlier, if you’re unsure about sizing or anything else, contact the manufacturer! We cannot stress that enough. The manufacturer will often have a FAQ sheet that you can use to answer a wide array of questions.

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