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How to tell if your smart shirt fits?
So you’ve got yourself a lovely fitted suit that drapes beautifully and clings in all the right places. Good news. But let’s not spoil the look with an ill-fitting shirt.
Next time you’re in a professional setting, take a look around. You’ll find that most men wear shirts that are a couple of sizes too big. In some cases, it’s because they have a large or small neck, but that size isn’t reflected in the rest of the shirt. That’s why it’s key to have your shirts tailor-made.
A badly fitting shirt makes you look awkward, spoils your professional image and suggests you don’t care what you look like.
We’re sure that you very much do care. So how should your formal shirt fit? Let’s take a look.
How long should your shirt sleeves be?
The best way to work out your ideal shirt-sleeve length is to try this exercise. Stand with your arms hanging relaxed by your sides. Leave your cuffs unbuttoned. The sleeves should reach the center of the back of your hand. The first knuckle of your thumb offers a good guideline.
(Above) Unbuttoned Sleeve
(Above) Buttoned Sleeve
You should find that your shirt material bunches a little at the end of the sleeve when it’s by your side. It’s not the precise length of your arm up to that point. That’s so that, when you extend your arm, the cuff doesn’t come up short and has a little excess to go with the arm and stretch out.
How shirt cuffs should fit
Your cuff should fit comfortably around your wrist. However, it shouldn’t slide over your hand when buttoned.
If you opt for a French double cuff, that will be bigger than a barrel single cuff. However, you shouldn’t be able to push your arm easily through either. With French cuffs, you should always check that the cuff fits smoothly through the sleeve opening of your blazer. Modern, slim-fit blazers often have narrow sleeve openings that will hook on a French cuff if it’s too big.
What about watches? The trend these days is for a large ‘statement’ timepiece. At Senszio, we can increase the cuff size for that hand to accommodate your watch.
(Above) Buttoned Sleeve with watch
Getting the perfect shirt length
Getting the right shirt length is more important than you might think. Much will depend on whether you’re having the shirt tucked-in or untucked. If you’re wearing a suit, you’ll generally want the shirt tucked-in. In which case, the shirt should reach to the bottom of your butt or slightly below. Shirt length when untucked is a matter of discretion. However, depending on your physique or the proportion between your torso and lower body, it should either reach the center/bottom of your butt or just about align with the ends of your sleeves when you’re standing up straight.
Arms (or sleeve width)
Know that feeling when you reach for something and you feel like your armpit or elbow material’s going to rip? For example, when you go to hold on to a support on the train or bus. With the perfect sleeve width, you should be able to bend your arm without feeling tension in the armpit area or the elbow.
Chest and stomach – finding the perfect shirt tightness
This is a matter of personal preference but, at Senszio, we feel this area shouldn’t be too slim. The material between the buttons can bow, which can expose the hair and skin beneath. Not a pretty sight. Check out the image to see a reasonable amount of tapering around the chest.
(Above) Chest and Stomach
When your collar’s buttoned, you should be able to get one or two fingers between the collar and your neck. You’ll want to avoid having a large gap here, while heavier men won’t want too small a collar, as the neck can puff out over the collar top. If you’re not wearing a tie, leave the collar fairly tight. This can also help the open collar stand up better.
Make sure the shoulder width (or yoke) is the right size. It should end exactly where your shoulders end and your arms begin.
Now that you understand what to look for in the perfect-fitting shirt, you’ll want to make sure the rest of your office wear is similarly smart. This article is part of a wider Senszio series on ensuring the ideal suit fit, so check out the rest of our guides below:
The best way to guarantee the perfect fit for your suit is to use a tailor who will advise and guide you in finding a custom, made-to-measure suit. Senszio’s traveling tailors host regular trunk shows across Europe and America, where you can get your measurements taken, get style advice and order your new tailored suit.
Book an appointment today.