The secret formula to buying a well-fitting shirt
by Clare Sheng
A good business shirt should be one of the most important investments in your wardrobe. It sits against your sit all day long, and is usually seen throughout the day as most people will take off their jacket in the office. However, men often do not put as much attention on finding a well-fitting, good quality shirt, as it is too hard.
Here we will guide you through some simple steps to finding the right shirt.
Shirts are marketed as and styled in so many different ways, from brand to brand. In Australia we choose the shirt from your neck size, chest size, and fit style.
When choosing a shirt, looks for the size which fits the widest part of your body, whether it be the shoulders, the chest, or the tummy. You want to make sure the seams of the shoulders sit just inside of your shoulders, and that there is no pulling from under the armpits.
If you have a slim torso, try to buy shirts that are slim cut with no pleats in the back and perhaps have darting. If you have a wide girth, try to look for shirts with a pleat in the back, which could be a centre pleat or a box pleat. These pleats give you more room in the tummy area and are perfect for guys with a slightly rounded midsection. Slim guys, make sure you don’t buy shirts with the pleat as it will balloon out at the tummy area.
The sleeves should sit just below the write. Sleeve length can be shortened easily, but it can’t be made longer. If you have disproportionally long arms, it is often quite difficult to find a shirt that fits. You can either have it custom-made, or try and find a brand that makes a long cut, or go a size up and have the body altered. The last option is not ideal, as a major resize may be required.
The length of the dress shirt should not matter too much as it should be tucked in. If the shirt is curved around the edges at the hem, that means it is designed and meant to be tucked in. However, if you are wearing your shirt untucked, such as a casual shirt, you may like to have the hem shortened and reduce the curvature of the hem.
The fabric also plays an integral part in the shirt buying process. Find a quality high-weave cotton fabric will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. Men’s dress shirts are found in cotton, cotton blends, linen, broadcloth, poplin, oxford and twill. Please don’t choose a blend with more than 50% polyester, as it not only looks tacky, but is also extremely hot and uncomfortable to wear.
There are many other finishing details you can consider when buying a shirt. Collar choices include straight point, button down, and spread. The cuffs of the sleeves come in French, barrel and convertible cuffs.
In Clare Sheng’s The Suit Book, there is a detailed section from page 117 covering the most important parts of getting the right fit of your shirt. Support your local tailor by purchasing The Suit Book in store or online which RRP’s for only $29.95. It’s perfect as a guide, gift and bible for any suit wearing gentleman.