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Men’s Shirt-Fitting Guide

October 7, 2019 3:52 pm


mens shirt fitting guide

A badly fitting shirt can wreck an otherwise stylish outfit. Don’t fall into the many pitfalls of not having your shirt properly fitted. If you’re not sure how a dress shirt should fit, then here are some helpful tips. First, let’s look at how a badly fitting shirt can wreck your style:

A poorly fitted shirt simply looks awkward, making you and others feel uncomfortable. It can have a negative impact on your professional image by giving off the impression that you don’t look after your appearance or simply don’t care.

Most off-the-rack shirts won’t be a perfect fit as not everyone falls neatly into the ‘S’, ‘M’ or ‘L’ category. However, here are some basic guidelines to be aware of when trying on shirts:

Collar Fit

A collar’s job is to frame your face and getting this wrong can leave you with an unbalanced look. If it’s pinching the skin or you can’t place a finger between your neck and the collar, it’s too tight. If the gap is wide enough to fit in any more than one finger, it’s too big. The perfect fit should touch skin all around the neck but without pressure and you should be able to fit 2 fingers between your neck and the collar.

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Shoulder Fit

If the shoulder points are above your shoulder and more towards your neck, the shirt is too tight. Alternatively, if the points fall down to your upper arm or there’s ballooning when you tuck it in, it’s too big. A fit that’s just right will see the points sitting right where your shoulder meets the plane of your outer upper arm and the armhole is big enough that your arm moves freely without tugging at the shoulder seam.

Sleeve Fit

If you feel pinching around the elbow or the shirt sleeves restrict your movement in any way, it’s too tight. If you experience folds over material over the cuff, it’s too loose. To get the fit just right, the shirt should be slightly wider at the top than at the cuff, there’s a little flexible of fabric when your arms are straight down so you can move freely and comfortably.

Sleeve Length

Should you notice that your jacket sleeve comes down further than your shirt cuff or your wrist bones are permanently exposed, the sleeve is too short. Conversely, if the sleeve reaches the heel of your hand, your watch is always covered or there’s bunching of material where the cuff starts, your sleeve is too long. The perfect fit should see approximately ½ inch of cuff below your jacket sleeve. Another guide is that a cuff should touch your watch and, in some postures, cover it over but not permanently.

Torso Fit

When a shirt is too small, the buttons will strain on closing causing unsightly wrinkling of the material. Pressure might also be felt on the shoulder seams. Too big and the material will billow about your waist and chest. A fit that’s just right will be easy to button up with the placket lying gently and flatly on the middle of your ribcage with no billowing at all.


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