The Ultimate Business Shirt Fitting Guide
- by Clare Sheng
Imagine an important client, or your boss walking into your office unannounced. You have taken off your jacket because it’s too hot. You are in your business shirt with your sleeves rolled up because the sleeves are too long, the fabric on your collar is bubbly after being in a wash a couple of times, and the body of the shirt much too large, ballooning around the sides with one side un-tucked. Is this the professional image you want to portray?
In Brisbane, it is too hot to wear a jacket all the time, so most men take it off during the day, exposing their ill-fitting shirts. Men often think shirts are not worth the effort to have altered, as it is worn under the jacket, and seen as a cheaper garment. This is not the case.
A shirt should be one of the most important investments in your wardrobe. The fabric sits right against your skin all day, so it should look crisp yet feel soft. The fit should be tailored against your shape, the length correctly adjusted, and the hem always firmly tucked in, so you look well put together any time of the day.
There is a fine line between a well-fitted shirt, and one that is too big. Unfortunately, many gents end up crossing that line, because most men struggle to find shirts off-the-rack that fit them correctly. Most often, you’ll find the sleeves are too long so it covers the hand, or you have to roll it up. The back of the shirt always sits like a balloon and the armhole sits halfway down your body.
Make sure all your shirts are just as well-fitting as the rest of your outfit. Here are 3 key areas you must pay attention to, to ensure you look your best in your business shirts.
1. Sleeve length
In terms of length, the shirt cuff should just cover the wrist. Any longer or shorter and your shirt will appear ill fitting. While it’s tempting to make your sleeves shorter to show off a nice watch, a far more sophisticated way to dress is to have a slightly looser shirt cuff that your watch will comfortably sit underneath. Once your shirt sleeves have been shortened, it’s generally not possible to lengthen them again.
For a tailored fit, taper your sleeves gradually down the arm. Tapering sleeves to the correct width prevents bunching around the shoulder, elbow and cuff. To check the fit of your sleeves, pinch the fabric – it should be no more than three cm wider than the arm.
There are too many men who wear their shirt more than 1 size too big. The first thing to look out for when selecting a size the is the shoulder width. The seam where the sleeve joins onto the shirt, should sit right on the edge of your shoulder.
Finding the right fit on the torso is a familiar struggle for many men, especially
those who have wider shoulders and a slim body, as shirts that fit across the shoulders will come with a large fit in the torsos. If that’s you, make sure you select a SLIM fitting shirt, and have your shirts tapered down the side seams and create back darts.
For men with large midsections, a shirt with a box pleat at the back will give you the best fit. Men with slimmer figures should avoid box pleats, as the shirt will balloon too much around the waist.
Shirts with darts generally offer a better fit for a slimmer body, and these can be added in the alterations process.
Three centimetres of fabric on each side of the body is the ideal fit, though shirts can be tapered more depending on the look you are going for.
Any excess fabric around the torso can be taken in using the side seams. If you notice buttons gaping at the front of the shirt, and the shirt is pulled taunt against your skin, it is too tight.
Most business shirts come in a longer length with a curved hem. If this is the case, it is meant to be tucked in! Leaving it out makes the wearer look extremely untidy. For shirts that are to be worn out, make sure the hem is shortened and slightly straightened, so the hem sits just below the belt line. This creates a nicer line, helping the wearer look like a fashion connoisseur.
Look for a quality high weave cotton fabric, which is cool in summer and warm in winter. Investing in a good shirt means you will spend less time ironing, and the shirt will last longer than a cheaper brand.
Hopefully this guide will help you with selecting the perfect fitting shirt, and have convinced you the importance of having it tailored to ensure a finished look. If you have any questions, contact us for a styling consultation.