Finding the right fit of a shirt is far from a trivial task, indeed many men wear a looser or tighter size than their body build. A perfect fit definetly affects the comfort and changes the appearance and the look of whom wears it. Here are some practical tips that can help you to avoid any possible mistake when buying a shirt.
There is no question that the collar is the most important part of a shirt: we can deduce from it our right size, it represents personality and style, and it’s the only visible part of a shirt when we wear a jacket. The collar of the right size should lay about your neck without constricting it, it has to be as close to the neck as is comfortable. Typically, you should be able to fit one finger inside of your buttoned collar.
The shape of the collar is also important as it frames the face, and it considerably changes your aspect: straight-pointed collars flatter a round face whereas spread short collars fit a narrow face as they tend to slim it.
As far as concerning the collar size, according to classic standards, it should be 1,5 cm visible out of the jacket, to avoid that the knotted tie will appear out of the nape.
Sleeves should be slightly looser in the upper part of the arm with respect to the part near the wrist, and fit you without forming wrinkles. Sleeves should not be so tight that you can see the details of your arm, but neither should they billow. They shoul allow airflow and motion when you bend the arm, but not excessively.
When the sleeve is too narrow, the fabric will excessively tighten the arm when bending the arm, otherwise when the sleeve is too loose the line of the arm has an irregular shape, and it forms wrinkles at the elbow level and over the cuffs.
When the sleeve has the right fit, the cuff covers the wrist and meets the point where the palm begins, at about 2 cm beyond your wrist bone. The cuff should be sufficiently long as to mantain its position when you bend the arm, not only when it is extended along the body, otherwise it disappears under the jacket.
Furthermore, the cuff has to be tight enough that it does not move past your palm, that’s the case when the sleeve is too long, but it should be loose enough that there is no restriction and air moves freely. If you wear a watch, this should be covered by the cuff and not be visible. When the cuffs end on the watch they form wrinkles and fabric bunching, and it’s never elegant.
The shoulder seam should meet the corner of your shoulder bone, which is essentially the point on your shoulder which is the farthest from the center of your chest. If it’s too tight the seams tend to stay close to your neck, otherwise, if it’s too large, they tend to stay beyond your shoulders.
Armholes should be comfortable in motion, they should not be so tight that they cut into the underarm. An easy way to check the right armholes size is to tuck your shirt into your pants, if lifting your arms 45 degrees lifts your shirt out of your pants more than 2-3 cm, your armholes are likely too low.
The lenght of a shirts really depends on the model: as it concerns classic tucked shirts, the lenght should be sufficient such that normal motion will not untuck the shirt, around 10-15 cm beyond your behind, and the shirt should have shirt-tails. As it concerns untucked shirts, the shirt should be long enough that normal motion does not reveal your skin or undershirt. Untucked shirts should not be longer than the bottom of your pant zipper and generally have flat or curved bottoms.
A well fitted shirt enhance and emphasize the body shape, highlightening its qualities yet not revealing every detail. Athletic or rather thin men are complimented by a more trim fit shirt, while larger men are usually complimented by a looser, classic cut. The right size should not give any more than 5-8 cm of fabric when you pull the shirt lightly away from your chest or your stomach (with light pulling, the fabric should not be taut against the skin). The right size should fit properly and should not form wrinkles, if the shirt is too loose the excess fabric will buch up over the waist. As far as concerning broader slim shirts, they should have a close-fitting that wraps your body but not create wrinkles around the buttonholes.
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