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How to Get the Perfect Fit in Your Dress Shirts

Style Guide

How to Get the Perfect Fit in Your Dress Shirts

Hemant Varshney

The shirt, such a key wardrobe staple. But whether your rockin’ it as the main component of your outfit, or using it to create sophisticated layers, the fit of your shirt is essential in making your look work for you. Custom clothiers Astor Vance understand the importance of a great fitting shirt and can help you get the most out of your style.

If we are thinking about using a shirt to create a layered look, whether it be under a suit, cardigan or pullover, the collar will be a crucial feature as it frames the face. If the shirt is the central part of your outfit, and you are not implementing layers, a great torso fit is essential and you want something that is complementary to your physique. Either way, you need to consider the parts that make up the whole for an overall fashionable look.

The Dress Shirt:

The Collar: Starting at the top, the fit of the collar is key in the overall look of your shirt. You want the collar to fit comfortably so that it neither constricts or gaps around the neck area. Place two fingers into the collar to ascertain whether it is a good fit. An ideal fit will accommodate both fingers (and no more) without cutting into the neck. 

The collar also frames the face so you may want to think about the shape of your face and neck when looking for a shirt with a collar that will be most flattering. A pointed collar will flatter a round face whereas a spread collar will work best with a narrow one. Tall spread collars will balance a long neck while short point collars will suit shorter necks.

Shoulders: An ideal fit in the shoulders should have a shoulder seam that is the same length as the bone under it and should end where the arm meets the shoulder. Armholes should be neither too tight, so that they cut into the underarm, nor should they be too loose. To check for oversized shoulders, tuck in your shirt and lift arms at a 45-degree angle. If your shirt lifts out more than an inch or so, this is a sign that your armholes are too low.

Sleeves: The sleeve should not be too tight or loose. A sleeve that is too loose will billow while one that is too tight will bring too much attention to the definition of your arm. A good fit is also essential in the cuff of the sleeve. The cuff should end where the palm meets the wrist. It should be tight enough so there is not excessive movement of the cuff as the arm moves. Bending your arm should not result in the cuff moving more than one inch. Of course, there still must be comfort without restriction in this area.

Body: The way a shirt fits around the torso is essential in the fit of the shirt. Though skin tight shirts are sometimes fashionable, in most fits, pulling on the shirt lightly should result in a give of 3 or 4 inches of fabric.  

To Tuck or Not to Tuck: A shirt that tucks in will need to have more fabric. A dress shirt may have a shirt tail to allow for this while a more casual shirt may have a flat or curved bottom. With an untucked shirt, movement should not reveal your midriff, nor should it hang past your zipper.

Undershirts: If you are wearing an undershirt under your shirt, gray is good color choice since this will be less visible under most fabrics. Also, be aware of the shirt collar you are pairing your undershirt with. A V-neck or button up shirt should be paired with a V-neck undershirt so that it’s collar does not stick out underneath the shirt. A crew neck undershirt should be fine under a crew neck shirt or a shirt that will remain fully buttoned.

Your shirt is a crucial item in your wardrobe which is why getting the right fit is so important. The specialists at Astor Vance understand the importance of a shirt with a great fit and are aware of what it takes to make a shirt, and the person wearing it, look great. Keeping the above key elements in mind, you can’t go wrong in making a great base for your casual or professional look.