The sizing system for men's shirts isn't the same for every style. While classic options like small, medium and large are used for regular T-shirts, there's a completely different size chart applied for men's dress shirts. While it does require a few extra steps to figure out the right size, men's dress shirt sizing is designed to give you the most flattering and comfortable fit possible. If you're trying to determine your dress shirt size, use this guide to walk you through each step of the process.
What You Need
In order to find the right size for a men's dress shirt, you need a cloth tape measure and somewhere to jot down your measurements. If you don't have a cloth measuring tape, you can use a piece of string and lay it flat against a ruler. While it's possible to take the measurements yourself, you can also ask a friend or family member to help or visit a tailor to make sure you have the correct measurements marked down.
Here are the measurements you'll need to determine:
- Neck circumference
- Sleeve length
- Shoulder width
- Chest circumference
In the following sections, we'll explain how to properly take each of these measurements. Keep in mind that you may need to round up the size to the nearest whole or half inch if necessary. (For example, a 17 ¼ inch neck circumference would be rounded up to 17 ½ inches.)
Gently wrap the cloth measuring tape around your neck at the point where a collar would normally sit (usually just under your Adam's apple). Keep your neck relaxed and avoid tucking your chin down or looking upwards. The tape should be resting lightly against your skin. Add one half-inch to the length to avoid a collar that feels too snug or restricting.
Place the end of the measuring tape at the center of the back of your neck. Then, run the tape down over the shoulder and along the arm until it meets the end of your wrist where the hand starts to widen. Your arm should be loosely hanging at your side while measuring rather than stretching it out rigidly. If you're in need of short sleeve shirts, measure to just above the elbow instead.
Place the measuring tape on the outside edge of one shoulder. Measure over the curve of the shoulders to the outside edge of the other shoulder to determine the total width. Make sure you stand with normal, relaxed posture while measuring.
Loop the measuring tape around the full part of your chest. This will likely make the tape sit right up under your armpits and run across your shoulder blades. To get the correct measurement, make sure the tape rests lightly on your skin while in a relaxed position with your arms hanging down at your sides.
Once you have these measurements, you can start shopping for men's dress shirts. Be sure to pay close attention to the following fit options to get the style you prefer. When selecting men's formalwear, you might want a trim fit shirt that's tapered to fit closer to the body. As for choosing dress shirts for work, you may prefer a standard fit shirt that's not quite as snug. There are other options to consider that will suit your work environment better, such as no-iron dress shirts.
Whichever option you choose, you can use this guide to make sure your dress shirts always fit just right. You'll feel more comfortable with a proper fit and your shirts will look professional and sleek.