Office/Business Formal Shirts

I am currently job hunting and needed a business formal shirt to wear to career fairs and interviews. Thus, began my search for such long sleeve business shirts. Join me as I try on several shirts at Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Express.

I am willing to spend a few extra bucks on business shirts but my budget limit for them is still under $80.

  1. Ann Taylor’s Striped Perfect Shirt in Cornflower Blue

I like this shirt for the fine lined stripes that are colored a light blue as this does not make it too busy looking. There were no petite sizing, so I tried on the regular sizing 0. I still try on regular sizes when there are no petite sizes available to give me an idea if it would look good on me if I decide to buy the petite one online. Even though the sleeves were a bit long and frumpy, I thought the torso fit was very  flattering. I put this in the maybe shelf as it cost $79.50.

2. Ann Taylor’s Contrast Tipped Perfect Shirt

I had actually seen this shirt online prior to the visit and I thought I would give it a try since I was attracted to the design contrast. It actually is a very deep navy blue, almost black at certain angles. It looks interesting for sure, but Bubee thought this shirt was not business formal enough, so I put this back.

3. Express’s Blue Twill Long Sleeve Essential Shirt

I tried on the XS of this shirt and the fit was overall very good on me despite it not being petite. I really liked the thicker but still soft twill fabric of this shirt. However, it’s not easy to see on the model, but there are stitch lines running from top to bottom that I did not like. I also did not think this was formal enough due to the low V-neckline. This was too business casual for me.


4. Banana Republic’s Fitted Non-Iron Sateen Shirt in Blue Crystal

Last stop, in Banana Republic I tried on this in regular size 0. Again, the store carried no petites. After trying it on, I really liked the sheen it has and Bubee liked it too. The sleeves were just too long and so it was crinkling up on my arm. When BR had its online sale, I ended up buying the white and blue crystal shirts in petite 0 at 40% off.

I noticed that when my shirts came in the mail, both were sloppily folded, as if I had received a returned shirt. I tried them on and the white one fits me just right, but the sleeve length for the blue one was shorter. The lengths for everything else was exact. So I measured their sleeve lengths for both by laying them flat on my bed and placing one end of the measuring tape at the center of the back of the collar, just below the collar band and running the measuring tape down to the sleeve to the end of the cuff. The white’s sleeve measured 76.5 cm while the blue one is 71.5 cm. When I bend my arm, the length is fine for the white one, but the sleeve cuff for the blue falls about 1-2 inches below my wrist. This is a problem for me since the sleeve cuffs won’t be able to stick out of my suit jacket. BR doesn’t post the sizing dimensions for this shirt so I am left to wonder if the blue shirt had been altered by the previous owner or if it was just BR’s inconsistent sizing. But my bf disagreed, and said that I should keep it since he didn’t think the sleeves were too long at all, but just right. I ended up agreeing with him and kept it since. The white is a bit transparent so you will need to wear a cami underneath it.


On a side note, I noticed that many of the models wear the shirts with the sleeves rolled up. These stores should have them rolled up and unrolled as the rolled up look really dresses down the outfit. If you do a Google image search on female business formal wear, you will find that most of the models are of Asian ethnicity wearing non-Western brand clothings, which I found to be a bit strange.


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