How To Measure Yourself To Find the Perfect Dress Shirt Size

How To Measure Yourself To Find the Perfect Dress Shirt Size

The men’s dress shirt is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Far from it, it’s not even a small-medium-large situation. If a man orders a shirt without carefully considering the sizing, their entire look can be thrown off, whether the shirt ends up being too-tight, uncomfortable, and impractical to wear just about anywhere, or an oversized, billowing, unflattering parachute. But when done correctly, a men’s dress shirt is a complete game-changer. You may find that going from wearing an ill-fitting shirt to a properly-fitting one will have people complimenting you from head to toe. The well-fitting dress shirt has a way of classing up your entire look, making you feel like a whole new man.

Basics First

There are a lot of elements to take into consideration when you’re shopping for a fitted dress shirt. Most places will sell shirts based on the collar (or neck) and sleeve length. From there, the shirt is generally sized proportionally to these measurements, making sure that the full-body length is a comfortable fit. Meanwhile, if you’re getting a shirt custom-made, there are many other parts to measure, including shoulder width, waist, bicep, and wrist. When you’re measuring yourself for a tailored shirt, or getting measured for a shirt professionally, you should wear the style of pants you intend to wear with the shirt, to ensure that the length is long enough to be tucked in, or that it’s the right length to be left tucked out.

Don’t Overestimate

Many people tend to overestimate their shirt size, which is all well and good when you’re wearing a sweater or casual overshirt. But for a dress shirt, this often has the dreaded billowing effect. Instead of fitting to your body, the shirt is heavy on the excess fabric, lending an unflattering look to any body time, from the slim to the big and tall. Our big and tall dress shirts help to address this issue, and anyone with a wider middle shouldn’t seek to hide it in billowing fabric, which only draws attention to the area. A form-fitting dress shirt is always a good idea, no matter your size. Our advice: do not allow for any shrinking. Assume that the measurements you’re taking are for the shirt post-shrinkage.

Find the Right Fit

Generally, dress shirts come in three fits, and sometimes more. The traditional, or classic fit, is more relaxed, with a little more room around the arms, back, and waist. The tailored fit is cut closer to the body, and the slim fit is cut closest. These days, the slim and tailored fits are considered the most office-appropriate, though this is a matter of taste. Pair a tailored or slim fit with a skinnier tie for a fashion-forward look at the office, wedding, or event.

How To Measure Yourself

When it comes time to measure yourself, here’s how to do it. Make sure you have a plastic tape measure, and a partner if possible. If not, you can measure the parts you can’t reach yourself on a shirt that fits you well by laying it out on the bed or table.

  • Neck/collar: wrap the tape measure around your neck, in the same place where you expect your collar to land, a little below the Adam’s apple. Use the "one-finger rule," and slip one finger between your neck and the tape measure to allow for a little room between the collar and you.
  • Sleeve length: measure from the middle of your neck along the shoulder, and down to around the middle of the hand, or the meaty part on the edge. Try bending your arm at a 90-degree angle for ease and accuracy when measuring. If arms are different lengths, take the average of both.
  • Shoulder width: measure across the length of your upper back, starting at the corner where your arm meets your shoulder and ending on the opposite side.
  • Shirt length: measure from the bottom of the neck, or the bottom of the collar if you’re wearing a dress shirt, to just underneath your bottom, where the shirt should land if you plan on tucking it in. For those who are bigger around the waist, add two inches.
  • Chest: measure all the way across the fullest part of the chest, at the height of your pectoral muscles, around the back, making a circle around the entire chest.
  • Waist: measure around the fullest part of the stomach, around the height of the belly button, all the way around the back. This is different from your pant waist size. This should be a snug fit, but not squeezing or uncomfortable.
  • Bicep: wrap the measuring tape around the thickest part of your unflexed bicep, up around the armpit.
  • Wrist: wrap the measuring tape around your wrist, just above the wrist bone. Do not allow for a watch at this point.

Once you find your fit for one shirt, it may not necessarily translate to another shirt, so be sure to check the measurement guides properly. Check out the links below for more tips and tricks from Lands’ End!

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