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The Ideal Dress Shirt Fit For Men

Man buttoning up dress shirt to get the perfect fit

Between 2010 and 2015, the average annual sales for menswear — including men’s business attire — grew by 17.4%. That might indicate that men are dressing better these days. But while men may be buying more clothes, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily buying clothes that fit them properly. You can buy all the high end dress shirts in the world, but if they aren’t tailored to fit your frame, you’ll likely be wasting your money.

So how should dress shirts for men fit? While some particulars may depend on your body type and height, there are elements to fit that are fairly universal. We’ll go over what you need to know in today’s post.

Classic Vs. Slim Vs. Contemporary

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when looking at men’s business attire due to the sheer variety that’s available. There are countless styles, fabrics, and details to consider. With the finest men’s dress shirts, you’ll probably want to start with fit first. As a general rule, you’ll want the body of your shirt to be snug (but not overly tight) with a bit of tapering. There are some fit outliers here, but you’ll likely need to choose between three main options: classic, slim, or contemporary.

Classic Fit

Classic fit dress shirts for men are the most traditional (and arguably the most comfortable) option. It has a boxier shape to it with more fabric throughout the main body and the sleeves. This provides a greater range of motion, which allows the wearer to not feel constricted. It’s a style that’s best suited (pardon the pun) for those who would rather be comfortable than fashionable or for those who have a heftier build with a rounder midsection.

Slim Fit

A slim fit dress shirt really is best for those who are slim in build, as it has considerably less fabric than the classic version and fits tighter to the body. With its accentuated back darts and more fashion-forward aesthetic, this type of shirt looks great even without a suit jacket.

Contemporary Fit

Finally, the contemporary fit shirt features the best of both worlds. It offers both comfort and style with its trim silhouette and just the right amount of room to move. This middle-of-the-road fit looks great as part of a full suit or on its own, making it one of the most versatile options for men of many different builds.

Collars, Cuffs, Sleeves, and Shoulders

The styles described above are a good place to start in ensuring proper fit, but they certainly aren’t the only considerations here. After you’ve made that decision, you’ll want to look at a few important components: namely, the collar, cuffs, sleeves, and shoulders.


Let’s look at your shirt collar. There are many kinds of collar styles out there with different spreads; those options are entirely up to you. The most important part is the fit and how a collar style compliments your facial structure. You should be able to fit two fingers between your collar and your neck — no more, no less. A collar that’s too tight will be horribly uncomfortable, while a collar that’s too loose will look sloppy and sad.  The collar style should accentuate the positives for your neck and face.


Your shirt cuffs may seem inconsequential, but they really do make a big impact. With men’s designer clothes or even anything you buy at a department store, your cuffs should not be cinched at your wrist or fall past it. The size of your cuffs matter, too. If your shirt cuffs are too big, your tailor can likely make the adjustment for you.

Sleeves and Shoulders

Remember: your sleeves should stop right at the break of your wrist. Sleeves that are too long or too short look equally awful. Keep in mind that the shoulders of your shirt could be too blame for an ill-fitting sleeve. A drop shoulder tends to look unprofessional and isn’t all that simple to fix. Purchasing custom men’s business attire (including your dress shirts) will likely be much easier than trying to alter a shirt’s shoulders, neck size, cuff width and many other variables.


We’ll leave you with this point: when buying men’s business attire, you’ll get better fit results if you opt for custom tailoring. With so many features to keep track of, your tailor will be your go-to resource for ensuring the fit of your shirts is up to snuff.

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