Importance of Shoulders
For anyone who has ever tried on a dress shirt, the shoulders are what make or break a shirt, sometimes literally break the shirt. Dress shirt manufacturers understand that men come in all shapes and sizes, but tend to market their shirts toward larger shouldered individuals. Where this is a great idea from a marketing and distribution standpoint, it does create some confusion as to where the shoulders should be positioned. The seam of the shirt should hit right at, or at least very close to your natural shoulder where your arm begins to move down. If the seam goes beyond this point definitely size down.
Finding the right fit for a collar is this one simple rule. You definitely do not want the collar too tight and you also don’t want it too loose making your entire outfit look sloppy. Button the top button and if you can fit a finger easily into the space between your neck and the collar fabric you’re golden. If you can fit two fingers size down.
The correct sizing of a shirt ensures that the shirt feels slightly snug for optimal appearance, but not so tight that it makes moving your arms and bending over a challenge. Your chest should fill out the shirt without causing the shirt to look too confining are causing the buttons to pull when your arms hang naturally.
Bulkier men can have a difficult time finding the right fit as standard sizing for armholes. Like neck sizes, general dress shirt manufacturers tend to make armholes larger to fit a range of sizes. The right fit for the armholes is that the arms are able to move easily without the fabric cutting into your skin. You also do not want excess fabric hanging from your arms giving your shirt an unkempt appearance.
Waist and Body
Men’s dress shirts are made to taper with the natural shape of the body to create clean, professional looking lines. There should be no visible excess fabric when the shirt is tucked into pants. Some top quality shirts will have back darts which allow the shirt to naturally taper at the waist. You want a nice fitted look without any billowing or creases in the body of the shirt.
Sleeve & Sleeve Length
Sleeves should follow the shape of your arm without visible excess fabric billowing out. Your arms should fill out the sleeves well without them being too tight fitting and pulling on the fabric.
To check the proper length hang your arm by your side and bend your wrist upward the sleeve should just touch the top of your hand.
Length – Tucked and Untucked
There are two schools of thought in regard to your shirt length. If you prefer a more casual appearance, an untucked shirt should fall mid to lower crotch for a clean appearance. For a tucked in look, the tail of the shirt should just cover your butt. To check, simply raise your hands above your head with your shirt tucked in, and if the shirt becomes untucked in any area, it is likely too short.
Your appearance matters and those that can wear a dress shirt the right way always look more put together than someone that simply puts on the first shirt they find. When shopping, keep these tips in mind and never leave the store without first trying the shirt on. In fact, follow my pull three rule and try on three. As always, it is better to have a dress shirt that is slightly too large rather than too small as a tailor can always takeaway fabric, but cannot add.