We have all done it, paid what we thought was good money for a business shirt only to find one or two wash’s later the fabric is lifeless and the collar a flop.
The first thing to look for is 100% cotton, it is easy care and irons well. 100% cotton is also so much more comfortable to wear. Avoid polyester blends where ever possible.
The weight of the cotton should be such that the fabric will retain life after continual washing and so quality business shirts are made with fabric which is over 20 stitch per inch. 99% of the shirts you see in shops under $50.00 are 10 stitch per inch. Do not worry about heavier cotton seaming to heavy for warmer climates, cotton breaths exceptionally well, just avoid cotton polyester blends, they will make you sweet.
The collar of a shirt frames the neck. There is nothing worse than a floppy, lifeless collar. When shirts are new the collar feels and looks fine, even a VERY cheap one. However after a couple of wash’s (even one) the collar turns to custard as does the body of the shirt.
A good collar will have a collar stay, a small thin piece of plastic inserted from near the point of the collar and positioned pointing back towards the neck. They are easy to feel in the collar when browsing shirts in the store. The second point is the rigidity of the collar backing itself. Some poor quality shirts have a collar stay and some even have backing material, however without a good backing material in the collar all is lost in the longer term.
As usual extras cost money and you get what you pay for.
Here in Shanghai, the cost to build a quality shirt is 4 times that of rubbish.
markets a range of shirts by “Aquila”. These shirts are 100% cotton, 20 stitch per inch, have collar stays and a collar backing material which will see your shirt looking like new, wash after wash.