Q: How Should My Dress Shirt Fit?
A: The fit of the dress shirt is very important for both comfort and style. In our experience, we've found that many gentlemen have not yet mastered the art of a great fit when it comes to the dress shirt - so we want to share a few tips to help you understand how a great fit should look and feel.
Here is a rule of thumb when it comes to a good fit for the collar: you should be able to put two fingers between your neck and the collar when the shirt is buttoned.
If you can fit more, like an entire hand, it's far too loose. If you can barely talk or have skin hanging over the edge of the collar then it's far too tight.
Picking the right collar fit is essential to a great fitting and feeling dress shirt. There are a few exceptions to the fit rule. Well, really just one. If you don't wear neckties often and therefore will not have the top button fastened that often, you can give or take a little with the collar fit - but not too much...just a little.
The length of the sleeves is vital for a good look. Sleeves of the proper length make the shirt look good when worn with a suit or blazer and when worn casually. When buttoned, the sleeves should fall right around the base of the thumb (this is about one inch below your wrist bone).
Let us acknowledge one point here - this is more of a rule of thumb. There is some room here for personal preference but not too much (unless you are making a more trendy statement).
The shirt should also have a high armhole which lends itself to a tapered sleeve that follows the shape of your arms without excess fabric. Again, there should be enough room for it to be comfortable but not so much that you look like a pirate working at Disney World.
A great fitting shirt will fit perfectly across the chest area, under the armpits and smoothly across the upper back. You should be able to move with ease. A good fit will be a little snug but it will not be too tight. If you are standing with your arms down to your side and the buttons are pulling, then your shirt is too tight.
When it comes to the waist area, the shirt should taper (not hang like a dress) from the chest area to the waist. This will create a clean look when the shirt is buttoned. If you have a little more "man cushion" in the tummy area, you will likely want to get a shirt that is a little larger fit in the stomach area so that you achieve a smooth and comfortable fit.
The shirt length should allow you tuck in the shirt with ease but also allow you to wear it untucked without looking like you have on a gown. The shirt length should not be longer than your pants zipper and should not be so short that it shows your undershirt or skin.
Our rule of thumb is that it should reach to somewhere between mid zipper and near the bottom of the zipper (when pants are worn on the waist).