Shirts are a very important piece to your wardrobe: Not only are they an essential piece to your suiting, but when the occasion calls for it, they hold their own, that is, if you’re wearing the right fit and fabric for the occasion. Many men don’t realize the power of the right fitting and sartorially solid shirt and because it’s worn mostly under the suit, not as much care, consideration, or tailoring go into this staple.
Consider your shirt as a bulletproof vest, as GQ so elegantly states, adding that, “It’s the first thing you put on and your last line of defense. When you button it up in the morning, you should feel confident, in control, even invincible.” You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get the perfect fitting shirt either. These are five important things to look for when buying this timeless item of clothing.
1. Know your measurements and body type
Many men buy their shirts in small, medium, or large, and it’s no wonder that they tend to not fit that well. Men’s bodies come in all different shapes and sizes so don’t be surprised if standard sizes don’t fit you that well, it’s not your fault. That being said, it’s good to walk into a store and have a general sense of your body type, and also know your measurements, such as your neck size and arm length, and even chest and waist size.
Generally speaking, the right dress shirt will be nicely fitted to your body with little excess material. The goal of the fit is to see clean lines that are appealing to the eye and flattering to the body, with no excess fabric that billows or bunches up to make you look like you’re wearing a parachute. Alternatively, you don’t want the shirt so tight that you can’t move and your buttons look like they’re about to pop open any minute. Your shirt should fit comfortably between these two extremes. If you’re sporting a larger figure, do not look for shirts that are oversized in the torso area because if they billow, they can make your midsection appear even heavier.
In terms of specific fit, know that the shoulder seams should hug your shoulders and stop just at the end of your shoulder. Also, make sure your sleeves aren’t too long or too short; the sleeve should extend comfortably to your wrist. Another trick of proper fit is to unbutton the cuffs, and if they reach too far past your wrists, the sleeves are too long.