Be a Better Man

The 5-Step-Guide to Properly and Comfortably Wear a Dress Shirt

Posted on December 01 2017

Before buying a dress shirt, it is necessary to understand the fit of each part of the shirt to ensure comfort and fit. By following this guide,  you will be able to purchase men's dress shirts with great information, to look good, stay comfortable and in style.
This is a 5-step-guide to ensure you are wearing your dress shirts in a proper and professional manner while staying stylish and comfortable. Enjoy. 
  1. Shoulder Fit

When looking at how a dress shirt should properly fit, you can initially look at the shoulder fit of a dress shirt. The shoulder fit of a dress shirt should not be too tight or too loose. With this being said, the seam of the shirt where the sleeve meets the body (refer to arrows in illustration above) should align directly where your shoulder ends, and where your arm starts. You can also refer to this product where the model is properly fitted to their dress shirt.

An automatic detail of whether your dress shirt is too tight along the shoulder would be when the fabric starts bunching up. When looking at the middle photo above you can see when there is tension in the fabric and when you can feel the shirt being tight along your back and shoulder blades, this is an undeniable fact that your dress shirt is too tight around your shoulders.

To know if your shirt is too loose around the shoulders, the main indicator would be where the seam falls. If the seam of the shirt's shoulder falls anywhere bellow where the individuals shoulder meets their arm, then you know it is too big or too loose. 


2. Collar Fit

When wearing a dress shirt, the way the collar fits seriously effects the final look of the style, so these are very important details to live by. The best looking and most comfortable way to know if a collar fits well would be the two-finger rule. Like shown on the left picture of the animation above, you want to be able to have a little bit of room between your neck and your shirt, to allow breathability and comfort.

If you purchase a shirt with a collar too tight, it will be very apparent. The individual wearing the shirt will not look comfortable, and this will directly reflect that persons final aesthetic and will mess up the entire final look of the outfit. Also, forget about wearing a tie when your shirt is already too tight to begin with. You will end up fainting at the party or loosening your tie before you even enter the function.

Lastly when looking at collar fit, you don't want it to be too loose either. If you are able to see the inside of the shirt, and almost see the brand's inside tag, you know your shirt is way too loose. Don't make these mistakes if you want to look professional while staying stylish and comfortable, like this.


3. Sleeve Length

To know the proper length of your sleeve when purchasing men's dress shirts you need to stay relaxed. Everyone thinks the best way of checking if your sleeves are too short would be by raising ones hands to the sky and seeing if the shirt's sleeves are still lenghty enough. The problem with this is that, we never as humans go about our day like this. Sometimes while driving our arms will be at a 90 degree angle, but that is pretty well the only time of day we will have such tension in our arms.

With that being said, when you are trying a shirt on remember to stay calm and relaxed as if you were just hanging-out, talking to your co-workers about that last business meeting.

When it comes to length you want something that falls right at your hand, not too high, and not too loose that your hand is being hidden. You want the cuff of your sleeve to snug your wrist and stop right where your hand beings


4. Sleeve Fit

This one is pretty comparable to shoulder fit (#1). Throughout this article, we are always looking for the middle ground. Not too tight and not too loose. A main indicator that your shirt is too tight when looking at sleeve fit would have to do with fabric tension. When you put on a shirt and you flex your arms, does it feel like your shirt is going to explode like The Hulk? If the answer is yes, then your shirt is obviously too tight for you. Refer to this product by Au Noir to give you a proper representation of what a sleeve should fit like. 

When your shirt is starting to have too much weight and the fabric is trying to overlap onto your cuff, that is when you know your dress shirt is too loose. You also want the shirt to drape and fit your body and in this case, to give your arms some definition.

5. Torso Fit

Okay, so we now know that if the fabric is bunching up, creasing or your having a hard time breathing in your shirt, it is definitely too small.

What we are going to concentrate on here when buying a dress shirt would be the fit under the arms and along the sides of your torso. A properly fitted shirt, that will ensure style and comfort will hug the waist, while not suffocating the person wearing the shirt. You want the dress shirt to hug under the arms and flow down the sides of your body like showed in the right image of the animation above. A shirt that is too loose will look more boxy, will flow over the waist, almost hiding ones belt, even though that wasn't the intended look.

What to gain from this article? Moderation is key. Don't try to wear a size down because you are thinking about what size shirt you wore last year, or 5 years before. Looking comfortable in your clothes is one of the most important factors when thinking of style and professionalism when wearing dress shirts. Also, don't try to be too comfortable. Even though you might love your dress shirt that is very comfortable because it is loose fitting and breathable, this might not mean that is drapes your body and fits well.

Shop Au Noir on our website to see dress shirts that are cut to fit your torso properly. These shirts have a european cut which will make abiding to this 5-step-guide just that much easier.

Message us directly on our website or though e-mail if you need any guidance, or style advice.

Please refer to our size chart to guide you into finding the dress shirt that is perfect for you.

We care about your style, so let us help you. 


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