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How to find a shirt that fits perfectly

So it sounds obvious to go to a store and try some on. But, unless you are visiting an expensive mens outfitters and getting a professional to measure you, many men have trouble finding a shirt that fits or they buy the size they have always bought.

A well fitting shirt makes a huge difference to how groomed you look and feel, so it is worth taking the time to learn about this properly. Your wardrobe should have a nice range of shirts that fit you well.

Nicely organised wardrobe of well fitting shirts, pressed and smelling Distinctive.

Poor fitting shirts can be caused by many problems such as too tight at the collar, or too short in the arms or too baggy around the waist and arms. The secret to solving these problems is to measure yourself properly, like a gentlemans’ outfitters would, and then find the shirt brand and cut that fits you best.

This basic guide will explain the three simple steps that will help find a dress shirt that fits you. Then we’ll give you an insider tip that might help you find the perfect fit.

Step 1 – Measure yourself

The first step is to measure yourself and you will need four body measurements: neck size, arm length, chest size, and waist size.

·       Neck in size. This measurement you can do yourself. Measure around the base of your neck with a tape measure. When you are measuring put two fingers under the tape measure. This way you can make sure the shirt collar will not be too tight.     

·       Arm Length. This measurement you can’t do yourself and you will need someone to help you. You need to stand up straight with your arms at about 45 degrees to your side. Your helper should start the tape measure at the middle of the back of the neck, run it along your shoulder and down your arm to your wrist.  

·       Chest Size. This measurement you can do yourself. Take the tape measure and measure around the widest part of your chest. 

·       Waist Size. This measurement you can do yourself. Take the tape measure and measure around your waist at the navel (belly button).

How to measure yourself for a shirt video

Step 2 – Adjust the chest and waist measurements

The second step is to adjust your body Chest Size and Waist Size measurements so you can compare those body measurements with the actual shirt garment measurements you will see on the websites. You don’t need to adjust the Neck Size and Arm Lengths.Chest Size adjustment.

Take your Chest Size body measurement and add the following depending on how you want the shirt to fit.

  • Add six inches if you want a comfortable and relaxing fit. For example, if you typically wear Classic Fit or Traditional Fit shirts and like a looser fit, add six inches to your body chest size. 
  • Add four inches if you want a tighter fit where the shirt closely follows the contours of your body. For example, if you typically wear Slim Fit or Extra Slim Fit shirts and want a tight silhouette, add four inches to your body chest size.
  • Waist Size adjustment. Take your Waist Size body measurement and add four inches to that measurement. This extra material allows you to sit down in the shirt. 

Let’s take an example to walk you through those steps. Joe takes a measuring tape and finds the following measurements.

Collar Size: 16 inches, Arm Length 35 inches, Chest Size 39 inches and Waist Size 38 inches. Joe typically wears a slim fit shirt and wants the shirt to closely fit his body, so adds four inches to the Chest Size to give 43 inches and four inches to the Waist Size to give 42 inches.

Step 3 – Find the brand that fits

The third step is to then take those four measurements and find the brand that makes shirts that fit your body shape. The different brands, including Ledbury and Uniqlo all have different cuts of shirts in different sizes. You can go through their individual websites but some don’t have great information on the actual shirt garment  measurements. Shirtdetective has the most detailed sizing data and has built a dress shirt search engine that will find you the brands that fit you best. They have a huge array of brands sizing so you will find many of your favourite stores sizes there.

Insider tip

Finally – an insider tip. Some slimmer men struggle to find shirts that are slim enough for them. If this is an issue for you to ask yourself: will I ever wear a tie with this shirt? If the answer is no then you don’t need to close to the collar and don’t need to be as exact for collar size.

Pressed shirts smelling Distinctive
businessman holding folded shirts, smelling Distinctive

Generally, for the same cut of the shirt, when the collar size is smaller by half an inch, then the chest and waist are narrower by two inches. For example, the Thomas Pink Slim Fit 16 inch collar has a 44-inch chest measurement, while the 15.5 inch has a 42-inch chest measurement. So if you normally wear a 16-inch collar with a tie, but are not going to wear a tie, you can buy and wear shirts with a 15.5-inch collar. Those shirts with the smaller collar will be narrower, so slimmer men who struggle to find slim fit shirts often buy shirts with a smaller collar size when they won’t wear a tie with the shirt. 

For the finishing touch make sure you wash with Distinctive and top off your scent by using our masculine scent – fabric and room sprays as you iron. Your whole wardrobe will smell amazing and when you forget to use scent in a morning, your office colleagues will still remark on how good you smell.

Want to know the right way to iron a shirt? READ ON…