The way the fabric lays can make a big difference -Currently, wrinkle-free and no-iron fabrics are mandatory investments. In addition, dress shirts today come in a range of different sizes to cater to people with varying body shapes – from slim fit to classic cuts – once you find your size, you will look great in your dress shirt.
Several tips on how to find your perfectly fitted dress shirt are below.
At a Glance
- There are two different types of sizing scales for dress shirts: (1) numerical sizing, which is based on neck and arm length, and (2) alpha sizing (XS, S, M, L, XL).
- To correctly determine your dress shirt size, you need to take measurements of the following: (1) neck, (2) sleeve length, (3) chest, and (4) waist.
- The most common dress shirt cuts are: (1) traditional or classic fit (loose fit throughout the torso), (2) modern fit (a slightly slimmer fit than a classic fit), (3) slim fit (cut is close to the body with a tapered waist and fitted torso), (4) extra or super slim fit (ideal for slender men as they are trimmer and sleeker than slim fits).
- Dress shirts come with different collar types, including: (1) English spread collar (standard spread and size), (2) button-down collar (both sizes are fixed to the chest with buttons), (3) forward point collar (narrow spread), (4) Londoner collar (very wide spread).
- There are also different types of cuffs: (1) barrel cuffs (cylindrical shape with one or two buttons), (2) mitered cuffs ( corner of each side of the shirt cuff is cut at a 45-degree angle above the button closure), and (3) french cuffs (completely square or rounded cuff shape and requires cufflinks).
Dress shirt size chart for men
|Alpha Sizing||Neck (Inch)||Sleeve (Inch)||Chest (Inch)||Waist (Inch)|
|XS||13" - 13 1/2"||32||32" - 34"||26" - 28"|
|S||14" - 14 1/2"||33||35" - 37"||29" - 31"|
|M||15" - 15 1/2"||34||38" - 40"||32" - 34"|
|L||16" - 16 1/2"||35||41" - 43"||35" - 37"|
|XL||17" - 17 1/2"||36||44" - 46"||38" - 40"|
|XXL||18" - 18 1/2"||36.5||47" - 49"||41" - 43"|
For dress shirts you can typically find two different types of sizing scales:
- Numerical sizing (based on neck and arm length): derive the chest and waist measurements from the neck and arm lengths. The sleeve mostly defines the length of the dress shirt. Depending on the cut (i.e. slim fit) the dress shirt has a looser or tighter fit at the chest and waist. The first number of the numerical sizing on the size tag refers to the neck width, the second number to the length of the sleeve. If the label shows for example“14 30”, then this means a neck width of 14 inches and a sleeve length of 30 inches.
- Alpha sizing (XS, S, M, L, XL): while these dress shirt sizes are available in most stores, they are arbitrary. Neck and sleeve length differ significantly between brands, and guidelines do not exist. In addition, the sleeve length is less important than the chest width in this sizing scale.
How do I know my dress shirt size?
- Neck: The neck is the body part you use when determining the right size for your dress shirt. Either wrap the measuring tape around your throat while keeping a finger between it and your neck. Another method is to take a shirt that fits you well and measure from the center of the collar button to the buttonhole’s end.
- Sleeve: Measure from the center back of your neck, over your shoulder, down on the outside of your arm to your wrist. It’s best if you bend your arm slightly while measuring.
- Chest: Measure around the widest part of your chest. Hold the measuring tape just under your arms and then extend it around your shoulder blades. Hold the measuring tape level and parallel to ground.
- Waist: Measure just below your waist at the length where you normally wear your pants (approx. 1 inch below your belly button). Ideally, keep one finger between the measuring tape and your body.
What are the most common dress shirt cuts?
- Traditional or classic fit: this cut’s straight lines along the body is ideal for men with a wider chest and/or waistline. This fit is cuts more generously across the shoulders, chest, and waist. It has a loose fit throughout the torso. The classic fit tends to billow a bit when you tuck it. Sometimes the classic fit also comes with a longer shirt-tail to prevent the shirt from coming out of your suit pants, jeans, or pants after sitting down.
- Modern fit: If a dress shirt billows too much when you tuck it in, you need a slimmer fit. In this case, you might choose a modern fit shirt or even a slim fit. The modern fit falls between the classic and the slim fit.
- Slim fit: These dress shirts are cut close to the body with a tapered waist and fitted torso. They cut a clean line that contours to a man’s V-Shaped build.
- Extra or Super Slim fit: As the name already indicates, these cuts are even trimmer and sleeker than the slim fits. They are ideal for very slender men.
What collar should I wear?
- English spread collar: It is probably the most popular and well-known business collar. It comes with a standard spread and size. You can wear it with or without a tie. Make sure to unbutton the first button, when wearing it without a tie. The spread can accommodate larger and smaller tie-knots.
- Button-down collar: It has a non-reinforced collar, so it does not have so-called “collar sticks.” In order to avoid uncontrolled protruding or collapsing, both sides adhere to the chest with buttons. In Europe, it is considered a faux-pas to wear a button down collar with a tie. In the US or Asia, this is not an issue.
- Forward Point: Is the most traditional collar type. It has a pretty narrow spread. The Forward point collar has a much smaller distance between the points than other collar styles while the length of the points remains the same. It is best suited for a round face shape.
- Londoner collar: A collar with a very widespread. It looks especially good with larger tie-knots. If you want a more modern look, the Londoner collar is a perfect choice. It is best suited for oval/angled face shape.
What are the right shirt cuffs?
- Barrel cuffs: Currently they are the most commonly used cuffs. The sides of the cuff overlap and they fastene on a button. This creates a cylindrical shape, which resembles a barrel. They are appropriate most cases, but you shouldn’t wear them to white or black tie events. Barrel cuffs come mostly with one or two buttons on the cuff and one additional button further up at approximately at the the middle of the forearm.
- Mitered cuffs: A type of barrel cuff. The corner of each side of the shirt cuff has a cut at a 45-degree angle right above the button closure. The mitered cuff is a dressier form of the barrel cuff.
- French cuffs: French Cuffs have either a completely square or rounded cuff shape and require cufflinks. It is common to wear these cuffs with tuxedos, but you can also be wear them with business suits.
How to clean my tailor-made dress shirt?
Even though tailor-made clothing is usually more durable than off-the-shelf clothing, proper care can increase the life expectancy of a tailored shirt. So you should pay attention to a few things when washing and ironing your shirt, then you will enjoy it for a long time.
You can choose to dry-clean your shirt, but cleaning it yourself has advantages. They include: It is gentler, targeted stain removal is easier to do on your own, and you do not have to worry about when a dry cleaning service opens and closes.
Very important steps: Sorting correctly and following the care instructions
Before you start washing, sort your laundry by color: wash light with light and dark with dark. Only wash shirts with other shirts, so they do not get wrinkled outside of the machine after the wash cycle and are easier to iron later. Also, wash up to only seven shirts per load.
To be on the safe side, read the labels in garments before washing them because some materials are not suitable for a normal washing cycle, such as silk, and some you should not wash in the machine at all. Suits, for example, are best maintained by a dry-cleaning service.
More tips and tricks for washing your dress shirt
Before the shirts go into the drum, you should fold up the collars and close the top button. It is the best way to clean the collar and maintain its shape. Also, inspect the cuffs.
If they are soiled you can pre-treat them and the collars with a liquid or spray detergent. If your shirt has collar sticks, as is the case with Kent collar, you must remove them before washing in order to avoid losing or damaging them in the machine.
Temperature, settings and detergents
The ideal washing temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash white shirts with stubborn stains at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
An “easy-care program” is particularly suitable, as it washes with more water and spins less – so shirts don’t wrinkle a lot and you have less ironing work. If you can, reduce the number of spin cycles.
You should check the label on your detergent to make sure it is good for cleaning the shirts. Solid detergent is suitable for white shirts, fine or colored detergents for colored shirts.
After washing: Hanging and maintenance
As soon as the washing machine stops, you should remove shirts, hang them up and pull them straight. You can also put your shirts in the dryer, but make sure they are suitable for this and put the dryer at a low temperature to avoid shrinkage.
The last step in the care process is ironing.
How do you iron a dress shirt properly?
Damp shirts are particularly suitable. You can moisten dry shirts a little with the spraying function of your iron or with a spray bottle.
We recommend an ironing board or at least a smooth, heat-resistant and colorfast underlay. It is best to use a steam iron with a spray function.
Before you start, check the labels inside of the shirts. You’ll find an iron symbol with dots, and the number of dots indicates the temperature you have to set on your iron.
If you use a steam iron, you will need to fill it with water. It’s best to use distilled water to avoid calcification.
Now pick up a clean shirt and get started:
- Step 1: Ironing the collar – we recommend ironing the collar first. Put the inside of the shirt on the ironing board with the collar and shoulder sections lying flat. The rest of the garment should hang loosely. First, iron the collar side. With one hand – right-handed people take the right hand, left-handed people take the left hand – hold the iron, with the other hand, you pull the collar of your shirt flat or put a little tension on it. Move the iron from the tip of the collar to the center to smooth out wrinkles. Now iron the collar from the other side; it will point outwards later. If your shirt has collar sticks, stick them into it when you finish ironing it on both sides.
- Step 2: Ironing the cuffs – now let’s focus on the cuffs, more precisely to a simple button cuff: put the cuff in front of you so that the buttons point up and iron them flat. Then iron the inside. With a double cuff you have to do something different: fold the cuff apart lengthwise and iron it flat. Now fold the cuff so that the buttonholes lie on top of each other and press in the crease.
- Step 3: Ironing sleeves – the sleeves are the trickiest part of a shirt to iron. First put a sleeve on the back of the ironing board, spread it out and smooth it. Make sure that the bottom fabric does not wrinkle. Now iron from the middle inwards and outwards, iron the edges and crease at the end. Then we repeat the whole thing on the other side of the sleeve. When turning over, make sure that the crease remains on the top of the sleeve and does not slip. If you have a sleeve ironing board, you can use it as well: Pull the sleeve over the board and iron it evenly until the entire sleeve is smooth. A sleeve ironing board is good if you don’t like a crease on the top of your shirts, i. e. round ironed sleeves are preferable.
- Step 4: Iron shoulder yoke – The best way to iron a shoulder yoke, i. e. the shoulder section of the shirt, is by placing the inside on the narrow end of the ironing board. Start at one shoulder, push or pull the shirt until the yoke is completely smooth.
- Step 5: Iron button facing – First iron the button panel from the left. Then iron the button bar again from the right side. Make sure that you iron around the buttons.
- Step 6: Iron front and back side – Finally, iron the front and back of the shirt: similar to ironing the shoulder yoke, place inside on the ironing board. Tighten the shirt and iron the front, back, and the other side of it.
If you follow the tips above, you will find a shirt that fits properly. You will also be able to clean and maintain it.