How To Measure Fit for a Men’s Dress Shirt

Choosing men's shirt

Although there are different sizes offered for men’s shirts like small, medium, and large, you will need to know your proper body measurements to properly determine the size of dress shirt that will be just right for you. This is because sizing for a men's dress shirt requires more than just putting it on and finding out if it fits. You need to know the precise measurements, such as collar, arm length, and chest size. This will make your shopping easier, so use your tape measure and have a friend help you to find out your sizes.

What you need:

  • Tape measure
  • Full-length mirror
  • Pen or pencil
  • Notepad
  • A friend to help you (optional, but would really be useful)

Stand in front of the full-length mirror and have your friend help you out to measure your sizes. Be sure that as you measure, that the tape measure should not be wound too tightly around your body parts, so that you would have enough breathing room when you wear your dress shirt.

Measuring for collar size

While wrapping the tape measure around the fullest part of your neck, place two fingers under the tape measure to imitate the space between your neck and the shirt collar. This is to ensure that the shirt collar will fit properly around your neck, which should be a bit loose to allow movement. Round up the figure you get to the nearest inch or half-inch on the tape measure, and write the measurement down as your collar size.

Measuring for sleeve length

Hold out your arm to the side and keep it relaxed as you measure it from your spine, particularly at the spot where a bone pokes out at the back of your neck, to the bend of your wrist. Write this figure down after rounding it up to the nearest inch or half-inch.

Measuring for chest size

Place the tape measure under your arms and wrap it across your back and chest. Be sure to add an additional inch to the measurement that you get to ensure that you have some space to breathe and move easily while wearing your dress shirt. 

After getting the measurements you can go ahead and buy the dress shirt that suits you. You can also test how well it fits on you by doing these simple tasks:

  • Button up the dress shirt to the neck and place two fingers inside the collar. You will know the dress shirt fits you when you can place at most two fingers inside the closed shirt collar. It’s already too large if you can place three fingers under it.
  • Try wearing a coat or jacket over the dress shirt, and see whether the collar tips and outer edges are concealed. If they are, then the collar size is right for you.
  • Check if your sleeves cover your wrists and extend to the base of your thumb, if they do, then the size is right.
  • While wearing a coat or jacket over your dress shirt, you can tell if the sleeve length is just right when about 1 to 1 ½ inches of the sleeves poke out of the jacket.

When in doubt, it’s probably a better idea to have your dress shirt tailored, instead of bought off the rack. Knowing your precise body measurements would make it easier to buy or tailor-fit a dress shirt for you.


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