September 1, 2011

The Art of Fit Pt 2: Casual Shirting

One of the most important things to remember when buying clothes is that fit is everything. It doesn’t matter if you spend $5 or $500 on a shirt, if it fits poorly, you will not be making the best impression that you could.

In this post, I will cover the basics on proper fit for the casual sport shirt, so you can look your best and feel confident doing it in this style staple.

There are three basic components to fit on a casual woven shirt: shoulders, sleeves, and body. Since we are talking about sport shirts, the fit at the collar is less important since the top button is often left unbuttoned when wearing a shirt casually.

While a good tailor can adjust the sleeves and body of a shirt with relative ease, altering the shoulders amounts to major reconstruction. So, it is important to pick a shirt that fits well in the shoulders above all things.

Generally speaking, the sleeve of your shirt should hit right around the wrist bone. As I mentioned, a good tailor can shorten that length, but can rarely add any, so always err on the side of a longer sleeve. Many off-the-rack shirts tend to run long in the sleeve for this reason.

Lastly, the body should have some tailoring to it. Your body type will play a large part in determining how much tailoring, but you don’t want something that is billowy or overly boxy. You also don’t want something that is too tight—stick to a fit that follows your shape, but still floats slightly away from the body.

Shirt by Vince; Denim by PPD; Sneakers by
Paul Smith Jeans; Grey undershirt by
Emporio Armani; Sunglasses by Prada.
Being 5’11”, 175 lbs with somewhat of an athletic build, I am lucky enough to be almost universally an off-the-rack Medium. However, as every brand uses a different fit model, sometimes I wear a Small (such as in Nautica). Other times, labels will have different fits within their lines (like Marc Jacobs or Allsaints Spitalfields) and I wear a Medium, Large, or sometimes even XL. The important thing is to find a piece that fits your body, don’t get hung up on having to go up or down a size.

Shop around until you find the labels that fit you best and never be afraid to try things on.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next post in the Art of Fit series on Dress Shirts.

Stay stylish,

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