Coming from a time in your life when you used to just purchase small, mediums, larges and so on, dress shirts can be a little intimidating. Typically men go with the motto, the bigger the better, and they would rather have a bigger shirt than a shirt that’s too small. Yes this is still true, but only in hopes of getting the bigger one tailored to be just right. Nowadays when it comes to men’s fashion and specifically dress shirts, if it’s too big and baggy you ultimately lose credibility.
You may not even really care about the current trends, and looking like the most fashionable guy out there, but whether you care about fashion or not, it’s important to look put together. Even a business man knows how your look can make a difference in whether you get the deal or not.
There is a reason salesman and saleswoman put careful thought into their appearance and their look. How you look can change your confidence, your attitude, and really help you nail that first impression.
Each men’s fashion category has different guidelines to pay attention to. How long should your pants be? Should your dress shirt be classic or trim fit? Should you suit be double breasted or single breasted? If you wear a double breasted suit in 2018, you may lose credibility and come off as outdated and not knowledgeable right off the bat.
I don’t want this to happen to any of you, which is why I’m here to provide you with the essential information to help you choose the right dress shirt and make great first impressions. Let’s take it one category at a time, in this article were going to focus on men’s dress shirts. The first characteristic of a dress shirt that you want to pay attention to is the fit of the neck.
The Neck size
The neck size will determine the length of the sleeves, the fit of the body, and so on. The reason for this, is that the collar and shoulders are the toughest areas of a shirt to alter if they don’t fit correctly. This is true when purchasing a suit or sport coat as well. You want to pay close attention the neck and fit in the shoulders, the rest can be altered to fit correctly.
If you are completely unfamiliar with this process and have no clue what your neck size is, we recommend you come into the store and chat with our sales associates. They can measure you right on the spot for neck size and sleeve length (spoiler alert, this comes next).
Neck sizes typically range from a 14” (smallest) to an 18” (largest), however the most common size is right in the middle of that, about a 16”-17”.
If you are on one end of the spectrum you may notice stores will more commonly be out of your size, or not have as many options available. Stores get the most shipment in of the most common sizes and fits.
Next factor to look at after you have the correct neck size, is to determine the length of the sleeves.
The Sleeve Length
The sleeve lengths come in 32/33” (shorter), 34/35” (regular), or 36/37”(longer) and the sleeves tend to get longer as the neck sizes get larger. Most stores won’t carry 15” (small) neck with a 36/37” (extra long) sleeve because that isn’t very proportional.
Obviously not every man is made completely proportional to fit in these shirts so the job of the brand is to get as close as they can to the right fit and the customer can get alterations from there to make subtle changes to the garment. Sleeve length is a common alteration and simple one to change if you happen to be right in between measurements, but you may just get lucky and find the right fit!
Trim vs. Classic Fit
After getting measured for your neck size and sleeve length, next step is to find the right body fit. Majority of men’s clothing companies will have at least two different body fits. The classic/traditional fit and the trim/slim fit (unfortunately, different brands use different terminology). The classic fit, is just how it sounds, very classic and traditional shirt. However, fashion brands realized that the point of a dress shirt is to look tailored and looking tailored means the clothing fits just right.
They noticed with a lot of the classic fit shirts, there was extra material in body of the shirt. If you have a belly or a larger build, the classic fit is just what you are looking for. For some of you, there may not be any extra fabric in the classic fit and that’s how you know it’s the right fit for you.
If you have a few inches of extra fabric on the sides of your shirt and in your sleeves, you should definitely try a trim fit shirt. LIke I previously mentioned, you want the shirt to look like it was made for your body type. As long as you are comfortable, there is no extra fabric, or the fabric isn’t pulling because it’s tight then you are wearing the right fit.
If you aren’t familiar with your fit between classic and trim, I recommend trying both fits. A lot of men think, there is no way they can fit in a trim dress shirt because they don’t consider themselves “trim”.
Many men simply start laughing when I suggest a trim fit, and to their surprise the trim fit looks better and fits better than the classic fit. A trim isn’t a skinny, skinny fit, it just has some tailoring through the sides of the shirt and the sleeves, to give it a stronger fit. If your shoulders are broader than your midsection, this trim fit will help you out.
Some brands like Jonathan Mezibov, carry a slim fit, which is even slimmer than the tailored fit. This fit is designed for men with a very lean profile.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that dress shirts aren’t a one size fits all kind of deal. If you have a larger neck they will take that into encounter when designing the size of the body. They make it as proportional and realistic as possible. Brands spend years perfecting the fits of their shirts, because the fit is what matters most.
The Body length
The rule of thumb for the length of the dress shirt is for it to be long enough to cover your waist line and end right around where your pant pockets are, so essentially mid-crotch area. You don’t want the shirt to cover your entire crotch and butt, or make it hard for you to get your wallet out of your pocket.
However, if you raise your arms up and your stomach is showing, this is a huge sign the shirt is too short on you and it looks like you’re wearing a shirt you bought before you hit your growth spurt, definitely not a good luck.
This is the appropriate length if you are planning on wearing your shirt tucked in or left out (which is the new look if you are able to sport more of a business casual look).
Dress Shirt Wrap Up
After paying close attention to these four fit categories when searching for a dress shirt, you will be on the road to making a great first impression at business meetings, or social events.
Nowadays, men’s fashion seems to be all about the joggers, white sneakers and athleisure trends, but it originated from precisely tailored garments. If the fit wasn’t right, the clothing wasn’t right. Although our culture has taken more of a business casual approach, it is still ideal to have a perfect fitting dress shirt to build the rest of your outfit off of.
The dress shirt is your foundation. If you don’t have a properly fitting dress shirt, it’s likely that your suit or sport coat wont lay right. Keep this in mind next time you are looking for the right dress shirt. If you learned a thing or two from this post and realize you need some new dress shirts, come visit us! We have a tailor ready to give you the perfect fit.