Airthreads Guide to Dress Shirt Fit

Wondering how to tell if your dress shirt fits you well?

Here are some guidelines for how to judge the fit of a dress shirt.

  1. Collar: The collar should fit comfortably around your neck without feeling too tight or too loose. You should be able to insert two fingers between your neck and the collar when it is fully buttoned.

  2. Shoulder seams: The shoulder seams should align with the outer edge of your shoulders. They should neither hang over the edge nor pull back onto your arms.

  3. Sleeve length: The sleeves should reach the base of your wrist bone when your arms are relaxed by your sides. You should be able to bend your arms without the sleeves pulling back excessively. (Learn how to measure Dress Shirt Sleeve Length)

  4. Cuff fit: The cuffs should wrap around your wrist comfortably with enough room for a watch or other accessories. They should be snug but not overly tight.

  5. Chest: The shirt should fit well across your chest without feeling too tight or causing any pulling or creasing in the fabric. You should be able to move your arms freely without any strain on the buttons.

  6. Torso: The shirt should have a tapered fit around your torso without excessive fabric bunching around the waist. It should follow the natural contours of your body without being too tight or too loose.

  7. Length: The length of the shirt should be long enough to tuck into your trousers without becoming untucked when you move. It should cover your waistband and provide a neat appearance when tucked in. With untucked style shirts, you typically want the length to end at the middle of your butt ;). But of course that’s a more casual look and open to your personal preference.

  8. Overall comfort: A well-fitting dress shirt should allow for comfortable movement without feeling restrictive. You should be able to raise your arms, bend, and sit without any discomfort or pulling in the fabric.

It's important to note that these guidelines apply when you want to appear professional or meet the standards of what most people judge to be a good fit. For casual occasions, many of these rules are meant to be broken e.g. you are unlikely to wear a tie with a casual shirt and the collar size probably isn’t as critical. Similarly, how slim or loose you like your shirt to feel is truly a personal preference.

Ultimately, the most important thing that matters is how you feel when you wear your shirt (you should always feel great!), and your personal preference.