Whether traveling abroad, working in the office, or running errands around town, you should have a go-to button-up. Depending on your style, it may be more casual than formal. Moreover, it should be part of a capsule wardrobe that you can mix and match. And in any capsule wardrobe, you should have at least one Merino wool dress shirt!
Although, as you may know, Merino wool clothing can be tricky to buy. There are many options, and finding the perfect piece to fit your style is challenging.
That’s where we come in.
With years of experience in the clothing and wool industries, we’ll break down the top Merino wool button-ups and dress shirts for men. Hopefully, we can be the guide that finally helps you find your perfect dress shirt.
- Best Overall: Wool & Prince 130 Button-Down
- Runner-Up: Western Rise Limitless Merino Button-Down
- Best Short Sleeve: Smartwool Merino Sport
- Best Casual Dress Shirt: Woolly LS Button-Up
- Best “White” Wool Dress Shirt: Wolk Tristan Merino
- Best Merino Wool Flannel: Duckworth Sawtooth Shirt
- Best Everyday Button-Up: Pendleton Board Shirt
- Best For Winter: Woolx Shirt Jac
- Best For Travel: Unbound Merino Button-Up
Disclosure: Merino Wool Gear DOES NOT sponsor products to maintain our genuineness and authenticity. However, as an affiliate member, we may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
What Is The Best Fabric For Button-Up Shirts?
The first step in finding your perfect dress shirt is determining which fabric works best for you. For example, cotton is super soft but may not be very durable. On the other hand, materials like twill and flannel are a bit heavier but not as comfortable.
So, what is the best fabric for dress shirts? Merino wool, of course!
We may have a slight bias toward Merino wool, but there’s evidence to back up its superiority. It’s super comfortable and comparable to the softest cotton fibers. It regulates your body temperature in both hot and cold conditions. Moreover, Merino wool doesn’t wrinkle and doesn’t stink! So, that means less washing, more wearing, and a longer overall lifespan.
Merino Wool Dress Shirt Buying Considerations
All wool dress shirts are not equal. To better understand how each shirt may work for you, there are a few metrics and features to keep in mind: Merino wool composition, fabric weight, style & fit, and true price.
Click on each section to learn more about these buying considerations and our suggestions based on personal experience.
Merino Wool Composition
The higher the Merino wool composition, typically, the softer the fabric. Moreover, 100% Merino wool dress shirts tend to wrinkle and stink less.
However, pure Merino wool shirts are less durable than their synthetic-blended counterparts. They are more prone to snags and tears, especially if not laundered properly. Although, this durability has much to do with the fabric weight.
Our Suggestion: Look for higher Merino wool percentages for low-impact use like officewear or formalwear. Co-blended shirts are typically more durable, so they work better for travel and recreation.
Many of you may view wool as a winter fabric. However, its temperature regulation properties mean you can wear wool all year round. It keeps you warm in the winter and cools in the summer! Still, you don’t want to be wearing a thick flannel in July!
That’s where understanding fabric weight comes in. Thicker shirts (>250 gsm) are better in the winter, whereas lighter shirts (150-200 gsm) work in the summer. And some brands even offer ultralight Merino wool button-downs at 130 gsm, which is thinner than two pieces of paper!
Our Suggestion: Heavier fabrics are more durable and great for fall and winter (like your typical flannel). Anything lightweight is better for everyday wear, especially if you plan on layering a jacket on top.
Style & Fit
One of the most underlooked factors is the style & fit of your Merino wool button-up. You want a shirt that feels good and makes you look good.
Lucky for you, we’ve broken down these Merino wool shirts into superlatives like best overall, best casual dress shirt, best short sleeve dress shirt, etc. This way, you can better gauge the style of the shirt. You should also pay attention to the button style, sleeve length, collar design, and torso length to figure out which shirt works best for you.
As for the fit, we break it down into various categories like slim, tailored, regular, loose, etc. These fit classifications come from personal experience, product descriptions, and user reviews. We like to think by defining the fit, that you can better understand the garment.
Our Suggestion: If you find a shirt you like, imagine yourself in it. Ask yourself questions like “where would I wear it?” and “what color would look best on me?” If you think you won’t be able to answer these questions truthfully, ask a friend, “how do you think this shirt will look on me?“
Believe it or not, Merino wool can be expensive. Although, the number on the price tag isn’t everything. Since Merino wool is sustainable and can last longer than other materials, the price typically reflects the usage.
When comparing various Merino wool shirts, we use a scale of 1-5 dollar signs, the higher being more expensive. We use this because prices change based on sales and availability, so normalizing each is challenging.
Our Suggestion: Try not to let price be a deal breaker. If you see a product you like, but it’s too pricey, keep an eye on it. Sales and discounts usually become available around the holiday season. Or, if you can’t wait that long, reach out to us, and we’ll provide you with cheaper options that will suit all your Merino wool needs!
Editor’s Choice: Best Merino Wool Dress Shirt
100% Merino | 130 gsm (170 & 210 gsm also avail.) | Classic fit | 14 colors/patterns | Price: $$$$
Pros: Professional style | Versatile wear | Ultralight fabric
Cons: Sizing inconsistencies | Rather expensive
In the world of Merino wool dress shirts, Wool & Prince is the king. They create stylish, long-lasting wool clothing and have an excellent reputation in the industry. It’s almost like they mastered Merino wool! And one example of their clothing expertise is their classic 130 Button-Down Shirt.
The first feature we love about this shirt is the classic fit. It’s not too slimming or baggy, making it great for various outfits. You can wear it with a tie, jacket, or a standalone piece. I like to roll up the sleeves for a more casual look. Moreover, the 100% Merino wool and 130 gsm fabric weight make it seem like you’re not wearing a shirt!
Although, not everything can be perfect. This shirt runs on the expensive end of the wool dress shirt spectrum. Still, we genuinely feel that the quality exceeds the price point. Also, some users have reported that the sizing runs slightly large for this button-up. If your Wool & Prince shirt is too big, you may want to return it and order a slim-fit version.
Finally, the thing we love most about this shirt is the variety of color options and styles. Striped, checkered, flannel, and all the classic dress shirt colors are available. You can even get this shirt in various fabric weights! So, Wool & Prince has a button-down option to match your style.
Runner-Up: Best Merino Wool Button-Down
53% Merino/47% Polyester | 175 gsm | Tailored fit | 3 colors | Price: $$$
Pros: Versatile design | All-season comfort | 4-way stretch
Cons: Difficult buttons | Shorter torso length*
Western Rise is known for their innovation in the clothing industry. Their mission is to create versatile, timeless apparel so you can own less and live more. And the Limitless Merino Button-Down shirt is the essence of their mission.
The Limitless button-down is wrinkle-resistant and packable, as it was designed for the rigors of the travel world. And since Merino wool is odor-proof, you can wear it multiple times without washing or ironing. Moreover, the synthetic-blended Merino tends to last longer.
As for the style, we’d say it’s more business casual than professional. However, I may throw a suit jacket over it for a date or a meeting. Although, it does have a shorter torso than other Merino wool button-ups. Also, some users have reported that the buttons can sometimes be difficult to fasten.
Right now, Western Rise offers the Limitless Merino Button-Down in three colors: light blue, smoke (light gray), and charcoal (dark gray). While we usually like to see a wider variety, the limited color options stick to Western Rise’s promise of simplicity.
So, if you’re looking for a casual yet stylish Merino wool dress shirt, check out the Limitless Merino Button-Down today! You’ll be one step closer to a simpler, adventure-filled life!
Best Short Sleeve Wool Button-Up
56% Merino wool / 44% Polyester | 150 gsm | Regular fit | 4 colors | Price: $
Pros: Non-restrictive fabric | Everyday design | Affordable
Cons: False front pocket | Sizing discrepancies
While you may think of Smartwool as a sock company, they also make tons of other great Merino wool gear. Most of it is for outdoor activities like hiking, but they offer a few modern, casual pieces. One of them is our best short sleeve wool button-up.
This Smartwool short-sleeve button-down comes with tons of performance features. The lightweight material is 150 gsm, which is perfect for keeping you cool. Moreover, the wool-synthetic blend improves overall durability. It’s almost just a performance tee with buttons.
Okay, it’s a bit more fashionable than other Smartwool performance tees. You could appropriately wear it in 90% of situations. It just has a timeless style. However, one design gripe we have is the false pocket. It’s not a deal breaker, but just something to note.
In short, Smartwool took their award-winning material and turned it into a stylish, affordable button-down. So, if you’re searching for a comfy, high-performing short-sleeve button-down, your search may finally be complete.
Best Casual Dress Shirt For Men
100% Merino wool | 190 gsm | Modern fit | 6 colors | Price: $$
Pros: Business casual design | Supersoft fabric | Excellent thermoregulation
Cons: Button style | Long-term durability concerns
The Woolly Long Sleeve Button-Up is about as casual as it gets. The sleeves are cuffless, and the straight-bottomed hem can easily be worn untucked. Moreover, the fabric is t-shirt material, aiding in better performance. As I said, it’s as casual as it gets.
Woolly designs their clothing for “merino wool performance wear.” Just like us, they want you to look good and feel good. And with their lightweight, 18.5-micron, 100% Merino wool construction, it’s hard not to feel good. And as tests of other Woolly clothing shows, they have some of the most comfortable performance wear in the industry.
While we like most of the design choices for this Merino wool button-up, there is one that we must mention: the buttons. The button and thread colors pop out too much, especially with the darker fabric shades. It’s not a significant issue but a design choice to consider if you want to buy.
Still, Woolly products are incredibly reliable and, best of all, affordable! Compared to other brands on this list, they are one of the most inexpensive options but still maintain high quality. So, look no further if you need a comfy, casual dress shirt for working from home, running errands, or traveling worldwide. Woolly has you covered.
Best White Wool Dress Shirt For Men
100% European Merino wool | 160 gsm | Slim or relaxed fit | Other colors available | Price: $$$$
Pros: Expert features & design | Professional hem | Stylish drape
Cons: Must launder with care | Limited versatility
White wool dress shirts are hard to come by. That’s because no sheep has purely white wool. Moreover, white dyes and bleaches may degrade the wool fibers during cleaning. So, it’s an incredible feat that this Wolk Tristan Merino shirt has such bright white Merino wool fabric.
But it’s no coincidence.
Wolk takes the utmost pride in its exclusive white Merino wool fabric. They give their Italian mill complete control of harvesting, carding, sorting, cleaning, spinning, and weaving. Ultimately, you get a high-quality, hand-picked, comfortable, 17.5-micron fabric for this Tristan Merino shirt.
While we love the style & design of this white Merino wool dress shirt, there are some concerns to note. Since the fabric is ultralight (135 gsm), it’s slightly transparent. Not too much, but it may look better with a jacket overtop. Moreover, since the white wool is so fine, you will have to launder this shirt with great care. So, follow Wolk’s care instructions to improve garment life.
So, if you’re looking for a white wool dress shirt, the Tristan Merino is your best option. And, if you like the style but want a different color, they also have six other colors and patterns available. Head over to Wolk to check out their fantastic selection today!
Best Merino Wool Flannel Shirt For Men
100% USA Merino | 370 gsm | Loose fit | 4 colors/patterns | Price: $$$$$
Pros: Best-in-class durability | Excellent warmth | Water-repellent material
Cons: Fit is slightly boxy | Expensive
Are you looking for a rugged, durable Merino wool flannel shirt? Well, you might be in luck. Crafted with 100% USA Merino wool, the Duckworth Sawtooth shirt is one of the warmest and most comfortable Merino wool flannels you can buy!
The thing we love most about the Sawtooth shirt is the brilliant combination of comfort and durability. The 370-gsm fabric is heavier, making it more durable and suitable for outdoor use. Traditional wool fabrics of this weight are typically itchy, but not Merino wool. Duckworth uses extra-fine wool sourced from Montana Merino sheep, so you end up with a locally-sourced, itch-free shirt.
Along with the top-of-the-line material, this shirt has a classic design. Most Merino wool flannel shirts say they’re timeless, but the Sawtooth is the truth! Duckworth even considers it an heirloom piece (with proper care). Moreover, we like the loose fit as it allows room for a base layer in chillier conditions. However, because you can wear it as a mid-layer, it may look boxy on some body types.
To sum up, I can’t think of a better Merino wool flannel than the Duckworth Sawtooth Shirt. And yes, it’s on the pricier end of the Merino wool spectrum. But as I mentioned before, it’s timeless. It’s one of those shirts you can pass on to your kids, but first, give yourself some time to enjoy it!
Best Everyday Merino Wool Button-Up
100% Virgin wool | ~220 gsm (midweight) | Loose fit | 25+ colors/patterns | Price: $$$$$
Pros: Best-in-class durability | Excellent warmth | Water-repellent material
Cons: Sizing & Fit Discrepancies| Fabric wear without proper care
A classic shirt from a pioneering brand, the Pendleton Plaid Board Shirt is one of our favorite wool button-ups. Using 100% USA-sourced virgin wool, it was initially designed for surfers in the 1960s. Even more than half a century later, it’s still Pendleton’s top-selling shirt.
Besides the timeless style and supersoft wool, the Pendleton Board Shirt offers the most extensive color/pattern selection on this list. They offer nearly 28 plaid variations and color combinations. Pendleton even adds 5-10 new styles each year! This constant improvement, even on a classic piece, is why we love Pendleton gear.
Although this may look like a simple flannel, several design choices make it different. The double pockets do not have a button to close. Also, there is no neck button as the collar wears flat. Finally, unlike other flannels, this board shirt is thin (midweight). Therefore, if you don’t care for it correctly, the fabric – typically on the elbows – wears out. These aren’t significant issues per se but just unique design features that could factor into your decision.
In short, you can’t go wrong with the timeless style and comfort of this Pendleton Board Shirt. Remember, if you can’t find a pattern or color option to fit your needs, keep your eyes out for consistent new releases.
Best Merino Wool Button-Up For Winter
80% Merino / 20% polyamide | 350 gsm | Classic fit | Only in black | Price: $$$$
Pros: Top warmth-to-weight ratio | Layers over or under | Functional & fashionable
Cons: Limited selection & availability | Dry clean only
You may have to wear a midlayer in the winter, depending on how cold it is. You want this extra layer to be warm yet light, especially if you’re constantly taking your jacket off indoors. Moreover, this midlayer should be versatile so that you can wear it as an outerlayer in above-freezing temperatures. As you may have already guessed, a Merino wool button-up that fits these conditions is the Woolx Wilder Shirt Jac.
Sporting a classic lumberjack style, the Wilder Shirt Jac is a fantastic utility piece. At 350 gsm, the material is thick enough to keep you warm as a light jacket and thin enough to layer under a winter coat. Moreover, the style is appropriate for most outdoor and social situations. Just snap up those buttons and go!
Still, the factor we love the most about this Merino wool shirt jac (and all of Woolx’s products) is the high-quality material. Woolx uses 80% Merino wool in the fabric, creating a comfortable next-to-skin feel. In addition, the fabric is boucle knit, which allows for more water repellent properties. Although, due to the knit structure, Woolx states that “this garment is dry clean only.”
In summary, the Woolx Wilder Shirt Jac has an excellent warmth-to-weight rating and enhanced performance features. If you’re interested, size and colors are scarce as of late, so you may want to grab one sooner than later.
Best for Merino Wool Button-Down For Travel
100% Merino wool | 185 gsm | Tailored/Modern fit | 3 colors | Price: $$$$
Pros: Luxurious fabric feel | Timeless design | Packable & wrinkle resistant
Cons: Limited color selection | Sleeves may be long for some people
If you’ve read our reviews before, you’ll know that Unbound Merino is one of our favorite Merino wool travel brands. They design apparel to move with you when you’re on the go. There are no brand logos or flashy features, only soft, timeless performance wear. And just like many of their products, this Unbound Merino Button-Up shirt is a must-have in your carry-on.
The ultrasoft, 16.5-micron fabric will keep you comfy on the most treacherous layovers. Moreover, the four-way stretch permits a full range of motion, perfect for when you have to sprint to your boarding gate. Plus, since it’s odor-resistant, you can wear it multiple times. That means less luggage, less hassle, less laundry, and more freedom to explore the world.
The style itself is classic; there are no frills. It’s just a classy, plain button-down. While we love the simplicity, we would love to see Unbound Merino offer more color options. Also, some users have reported that the sleeve length is long, so if you’re short (like me), follow the sizing charts.
With the comfort of a performance tee and the classic, tailored design of other dress shirts, you will not find a better travel button-up than this one from Unbound Merino. It’s packable, wrinkle-resistant, supersoft odor-proof, quick-drying, and so much more! You’re never going to avoid the rigors of travel, but at least now you can do it in comfort and style.
Final Note About Merino Wool Dress Shirts & Button-Ups
There you have it; our favorite men’s Merino wool button-ups, button-downs, and dress shirts. From the timeless style of Wool & Prince to the comfy versatility from Unbound Merino, all these shirts make you look – and feel – good.
If you’re still debating which shirt works for you, remember the four buying considerations: wool composition, fabric weight, style & fit, and true price. Each property plays an essential role in selecting your Merino wool dress shirt. Return to the top of this article to learn more about each!
And, if you didn’t find a Merino wool dress shirt you like, let us know! We aim to help you find the best Merino wool gear that suits you, so we’re always willing to help.
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