Most men are used to wearing baggy, saggy outfits. If you’re like most men, you’ve probably been wearing clothes your entire life that are too large for you.
Don’t be surprised that very few off-the-rack dress shirts have the perfect fit. Not everyone has the exact proportions that make them compatible with “M” or “L” sizes. It’s your best bet to work with a highly skilled tailor. That way you can get shirts that fit your entire body like a glove.
But because not everybody can afford custom-made shirts, we have provided this guide for you to follow in order to buy (or make) a shirt perfect for your body.
The collar of your dress shirt has one main job – to frame your face.
You want the collar to be as close to the neck as is comfortable, which will allow ventilation without too large a gap. Typically, you should be able to fit two fingers into the shirt without it cutting into your neck. Any more fingers, and the shirt may be too loose – any fewer, and the collar is likely too tight.
The shoulder seam should meet the corner of your shoulder bone, which is essentially the point on your shoulder which is the farthest from the center of your chest. Armholes should be comfortable in motion–they should not be so tight that they cut into the underarm.
Too Tight: Wearing the shirt with your arms hanging down, you’ll get this “pinching” feeling when your elbow or shoulder moves.
Too Loose: The sleeves have so much slack that they naturally create folds of cloth all over – especially around the cuff.
Just Right: The sleeve should be slightly wider at the upper arm than the cuff – with a smooth, even taper. There’s also some looseness (about 1-2 inches of fabric) when the arms are hanging down straight. This gives you enough freedom of movement.
Too Short: This is where either the wrist bones are left exposed, or the cuffs get hidden completely underneath the sleeves of your jacket.
Too Long: The sleeves extend all the way to the heel of your hands.
Just Right: The sleeves come all the way down to the large wrist bones (at the base of the pinky/ring fingers). When you’re wearing a jacket, about 1/2 inch of shirt cuff is seen beyond the end of the jacket sleeves. The cuff should also touch (and in some postures cover) your watch whenever you wear it.
Too Short: When the shirt is untucked, it barely covers your belt line (or the waist of your trousers). When tucked in, some parts of the hem remain exposed and might pop out when your body moves or bends.
Too Long: The shirt tails are long enough to cover the crotch (or extend beyond it). When tucked in, any excess fabric has to be shoved between the legs to prevent bunching up.
Just Right: The proper dress shirt length ends a few inches below the beltline – allowing the shirt to stay tucked in when you raise your arms. When untucked, the hem falls just far enough to cover your belt.