For many shirt enthusiasts and shirt makers the fitted bespoke dress shirt means as much to the design of the shirt as the actually materials of the dress shirt. If you take a closer look you will notice time and time again that shirts are either not the right width along the shoulders or are very loose around the waist of many men.
Unfortunately even if men are aware of this problem there is a general lack of fitted dress shirts in stores. To find the right mens fitted shirts there are a few options:
1. If you have an athletic build there are shirts designed to enhance the look of your stature. Fits for this type of build are usually called athletic, slim, or modern fit. These fits come with a more narrow waist, chest, and hip area.
2. Get a custom fit shirt. By getting a custom fit shirt you get a shirt that follows your specific dimensions. At some custom shops you only give your neck and shoulder measurements, however at fully customizable shirt shops all measurements are asked for or taken. Nine times out of ten the fit is better with the fully customizable shirt.
3. You’re lucky. You have a body that fits perfectly into a standard sized dress shirt, but lets be realistic its is only a small percentage that are in this category. If you do, just pass any store and get your fitted dress shirt. Be careful though sizes change from store to store.
Overview of Fits
Standard Sizes: 6 out of 10* (fit rating)
o Difficult to know which size is right
o Often baggy around the waist
o Sizing standards differ
o Buy it right away in any store
Athletic, Modern, Slim Fit Dress Shirts: 7 out of 10* (fit rating)
o Only suitable for slim or athletic bodies
o Does not fit if one part of your body is slightly larger or longer than the norm
o May not give the optimal comfort if working in front of a computer a lot
o The best option for ‘ready to wear’ dress shirts if you have a slim body
o Stylish fit
Half Bespoke Shirts: 7 out of 10* (fit rating)
o Does not solve the problem of a baggy waist area. Not suitable for the slim man.
o Does not always result in a correct shirt length
o Fits people with irregularly sized necks or long arms.
o Better fit than the athletic fit for the non slim man.
Custom Dress Shirt – tailored, made to measure, bespoke shirts: 9-10 out of 10* (fit rating)
o The fit depends on how experienced the shirt maker is
o Depends on the accuracy of taking measurements
o Depends on the tailors taste of a well fitted dress shirt
o If you use a shirt maker that seems professional the fit of your dress shirt can turn out incredible.
o These shirt makers often take more effort in delivering quality workmanship
o Every dimension of the shirt is made according to your body.
o Other than taking body measurements one can take measurements from ones best fitted dress shirt. Resulting in a copy of the old fit.
* Based on our experience with customers
Winner: The Custom Fitted Dress Shirt
Of these three types of fit we recommend getting a fully customizable dress shirt, also known as tailored, bespoke, or made to measure dress shirts. This kind of made to measure fit usually involves around 9 measurements of your upper body, but varies from tailor to tailor. If you are getting a tailor to measure you for your custom fit shirt, he will usually take care of it all and you don’t have to give it a thought.
However, if you are measuring yourself for an online tailor, a written guide will tell you exactly how to do it. We have one of these on ShirtsMyWay.com. Do notice that how and where shirt maker’s measure can vary. Below you will find the basic 9 measuring parts.
Peter Crawfurd is the cofounder of the popular custom dress shirt site ShirtsMyWay.com and author of the “Book of Dress Shirts”.