A Brief Guide
to Better Fitting
If you’re on a mission to find fitted shirts, you’ve come to the right place. A lot of guys (along with their moms and girlfriends) don’t actually know how a dress shirt should fit. We could go on about how Hugh & Crye shirts are the best, but we’d rather introduce you to the elements of a great fitting shirt. That way you can decide for yourself.
Elements of Great Fit
The seam where the sleeve attaches to the body of a fitted dress shirt should hit close to the top of your shoulders. Mass brands tend to cut their shirts too large (to fit more people, of course), and so you’ll often see the seam sliding down onto the arm.
Collar size is measured in inches from buttonhole to button when laid flat. The range is often between 14” and 18” (think “pencil neck” and “linebacker,” respectively). You should be able to button the collar easily with room for two fingers to fit—any more and it’s too loose, any less and it’s too tight. Note that the collar size can be a bit smaller/larger than your true size if you rarely wear ties or button the top button of your shirts. In other words, don’t sweat the collar size if you’re not going to be using the top button.
The best dress shirts fit comfortably around the chest, under the armpits, and across the upper back, giving you a full range of motion. A fitted shirt will feel snug, but not too tight. Your chest should ‘fill out’ the shirt in a way where your body is discernible under the fabric. Note: If the buttons pull when you're standing still with your arms down, it's too tight.
The armhole of a dress shirt—its shape and size—dictates how a shirt will fit in the chest, shoulder, and armpit. Most shirt brands with Small-Medium-Large sizing cut their armholes big, to fit a wide range of body types. If you’re noticing fabric hanging under arm, that’s not good. Your armhole should be contoured in a way that creates a tapered feel under your arm, yet leaves a full range of motion.
Men’s dress shirts should taper from the chest to the waist, following the contours of the body and creating a clean line (i.e., no excess fabric) between the shirt and pants when tucked in. A great fitted shirt often has back darts, which allows the shirt to taper at the waist.
Fitted shirts have a high armhole, allowing for a tapered sleeve that follows the shape of your arms without excess fabric. When buttoned, the cuff should fall right at the base of the thumb (there’s room for some personal preference here). Just like your chest, your arms should fill out the sleeves of your shirt in a way that doesn’t leave excess fabric. Excess fabric in the sleeves will often fold and billow giving an unflattering look.
The shirt hem should be long enough for you to comfortably wear the shirt tucked or untucked. Two ways to look for this: First, when your shirt is untucked and buttoned, the tail should fall just past the back pockets of your pants. Note we say “pants,” and not jeans, as most guys wear their jeans a little low on the waist. Second way to know whether you have the right length is to tuck in the shirt. When tucked in, raise your arms above your head and see if the tails pop out from your pants. If so, your shirt could be a little too short.
Now that you have a good idea of what fitted shirts should look like, check out our fit page to find the size that works best for you. It doesn't matter if you're short, tall, skinny, or broad, a fitted shirt is much more flattering than the alternative (see: Archetypes of Ill-Fitting Dress Shirts). Sometimes it takes a little while for guys to get used to wearing fitted clothes, but stick with it! When people start complimenting you—and they will—you'll know you've found the best dress shirts for you.
To learn more about our various fits, jump directly to skinny fit, slim fit, athletic fit, or broad fit. You can also check out the Hugh & Crye tumblr, where we show guys of various sizes wearing our shirts.