How a Dress Shirt Should Fit- The Principles of Fit
The fitting of a dress shirt is something that is often overlooked. Most people just try out whatever seems comfortable and go with that.
This is a mistake; fitment is everything, ill-fitting shirts can leave you looking less than your best. Puffed outsides and overblown collars are everywhere. There is no reason why a basic slim fit white shirt should look anything less than perfect.
The shirt is central in the body; it highlights the face and commands attention. When fitted properly, the shirt will bring your positive attributes to the fore, while drawing back the negatives simultaneously.
This guide will help you understand the basics of dress shirt fitment.
The collar should appear to sit flush with the neck without feeling tight or constricting. It is very important that the collar allows sufficient airflow into the shirt. The largest blood vessels run through the neck, restricting them from sufficient airflow will cause unnecessary perspiration. Two fingers should be able to fit between the collar and neck. This is a good rule of thumb to follow. Any more or less is a no-go. Collar shape should not be disregarded as well. Those with a round face should aim for collars with a point while those with a narrow face should aim for spread instead. Collars with a tall spread suit the long neck, while a shorter neck should aim for a shorter point collar.
Sleeves should hold the arm without exposing its details. They should not billow as well. Motion and airflow should be constricted by the sleeves, however, too much freedom may indicate looseness and an ill-fitting sleeve. The cuff of the shirt should end an inch past the wrist bone, to be sure of fitment; check that the end is where the palm meets the wrist. It should be tight enough to avoid moving past the palm, without reducing airflow. Bending the forearm will cause movement of the cuff. This is acceptable, but only up to an inch, or around the wrist bone.
The seam of the shoulder should rest next to the shoulder bone; this can be identified as the point of the shoulder furthest from the chest. The armholes of the shirt must find a medium between fitment and comfort. They should allow moderate motion, allowing free motion below shoulder height. They may cause slight restrictions in over shoulder motions but only slight. They should not cut into the underarm under motion. A good rule to follow is that you should be able to lift your arms forty-five degrees up, without pulling up more than an inch when tucked into pants.
The shirt should allow the upper body to move easily. Too tight or skin-tight shirts will prevent motion. A maximum limit of looseness is important as well. Pulling the shirt gently from the central part of the upper body should only allow a maximum of four inches of fabric to be pulled. Slim fit shirt wearers should pay heed to this as some may actually require an extra slim fit dress shirt. The motion should never cause a shirt to become pulled out of the tuck. It should not feel like stretching will dislocate the placement of the shirt.
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