Your Second Skin: A Modern Man’s Guide to Shirt Fit

Taylor Lautner in GQ

Nothing looks as good as a guy in a well-tailored shirt. You may not have the body of a god, but wearing a well-fitted shirt is the next best thing. Proper fitting is the most important aspect of style. You can have the luxury of buying branded and expensive shirts, but it all goes down the drain if it’s too big or too small for your comfort.

There are certain rules to be followed in a well-fitted shirt. If you want to alter a specific shirt, you can’t just go to your tailor and demand something to be done. The proper thing to do is to consult him on the right measurements. After all, he’s the professional. Nonetheless, we know for a fact that not everyone has time for that. Here are some sizing rules of thumb when purchasing a shirt.

Neck and Collar

2 Finger Rule

When it comes to the basic measurements, you should be able to insert two of your fingers in your collar when the top button is fastened. The style of the collar should be appropriate for the one who wears it and the event on which it is worn. When considering the body type, men with longer necks are advised to pick high collars while men with full necks should wear lower collars.

Fit of sleeves and cuff

Sleeve Length

The length of the sleeves is measured from the center of the back yoke to the end of the cuff. Cuffs should fit closely while leaving room for movement. Here you have the liberty to pick a slightly longer sleeve. You may not sense it, but shirts usually shrink vertically.

Proper Cuffs

When closed, cuff should end at the base of your thumb where your arm and hand meet. Always consider that at least 1 cm of the cuff ends should be visible underneath a suit sleeve.

Body and Shoulders

Proper Fit

Almost half-a-decade ago, you wouldn’t find any tapered shirt in the menswear department of your local stores. Today, we are lucky for having a wide array of choices. There are 3 options to consider when choosing a shirt in so far as body fit is concerned: the classic, the slim and the contemporary. The classic is the default measurement worn by our ancestors. It is traditional, a bit loose, and ideal on almost all sorts of body shape. The slim is a very modern fit silhouetting the body. It looks good on dudes who have a medium to athletic build. The contemporary fit is the best of both worlds. It is fitted at the waist, but not as tight as the slim fit. The safest way to go is the contemporary fit.

The fit on your shoulder is very basic. Make sure that the armhole’s seam fall at the edge of your shoulder.

Tucked-in Zone

Zack Gordon in White House Down Premiere

Zack Gordon should have at least tucked his shirt. Taken from the premiere of White House Down

Never tuck a shirt meant to be un-tucked and vice-versa. If the shirt’s length is longer than your fly, it’s meant to be tucked. Another way of knowing is by checking where the spare buttons of your shirt are stitched. If it is located at the side of your shirt (right above the hem gusset), it’s meant to be un-tucked. If it is at the bottom of your button packet, then it is meant to be tucked in.

Knowing how to pick a well-fitted shirt says a lot about a person. It means he knows what he wants and gets it. It means he knows and understands himself. We all have different body types but the clothes should fit the man and not the other way around. Otherwise, the clothes wear you instead of you wearing the clothes.

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