How To Buy Men’s Formal Shirts

Selecting the fit and collar of a foraml shirt
When purchasing a shirt you need to consider: size first and foremost, collar style, tailoring, and material.

Size and Fit

If the first chance you get, the first thing you do is open your collar button and loosen your tie, your shirt does not fit. A topical study by Cornell University shows that 70% of men wear their shirts to tight. You should not experience discomfort when wearing a shirt and tie.

All Choked Up
There are a few simple ways of avoiding that choked-up feeling. First, put on one of your shirts and button the collar. If you cannot put your two middle fingers between the collar and your neck without touching, your collar is too small. Buy a half size larger.

To be sure, put a tape measure around your neck at the Adam’s apple. Add one half size to that measurement. Shirts are sized in half inch increments: 14, 14 ½, 15. 15 ½, etc. So if your neck measures 15 inches, purchase a size 15 ½.

Sleeves That Fit Just Right
Getting the sleeve length right is important too. Usually, shirt sleeves are sized in ranges: 32/33, 34/35, etc. Ideally the end of the cuff should come ½ inch below the break in the wrist, i.e. where it bends. About ½ inch of cuff should extend beyond the end of the suit jacket cuff. To get your sleeve length, you will need some help. Using the tape, with your arm extended out to the side, have an accomplice take the measurement from the middle of your back, over your shoulder to your wrist.

The other thing to consider is the fit of the shirt. This information is usually on the packaging. Most men’s shirts are either tapered or fitted and full cut. Men with a slim build may prefer the fitted style, while the fuller cut would be a better choice for men who are stocky or have a larger build.

Collar Style and Tailoring
Next to fit, collar style is probably the most important consideration when purchasing a shirt. The collar is the most visible part of the shirt. It frames your face and showcases your necktie. Consequentially, the shape of your face and length of your neck should play in role in the style of collar you choose. As a general rule, the large the man the larger collar he can wear and vice versa.

Pinned Collar Shirt
This is the same as the regular collar except that it is worn with a pin that goes through the collar, with collar bars that snap onto the collar, or with a bar that has a screw and ball that connect through eyelets. This style looks best on men with a medium to long neck

Spread Collar Shirt
This collar has medium spread and shorter points. It is a better choice for men with a short neck or who favour a full Windsor tie knot.

Button-down Collar Shirt
Similar to the straight point, but the ends of the collar are secured with buttons. Having no collar stays, this is a much softer and relaxed style but is still commonly worn for business wear. It can accommodate any type of knot and is the collar style to be worn with a bow tie.

Regular or Straight Point Collar Dress Shirt
This is the main stay of most men’s wardrobe and goes with just about any type of suit or sport coat. The length of the collar tends to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and with the dictates of fashion.

Tab Collar Dress Shirt
This style holds the tie in place by tabs attached to the collar and held together under the tie knot. Not all that common today.


About Larger Than Life

In 2010 I decided to leave the corporate world and embark on a new career launching Larger Than Life Menswear, specialising in clothing for the bigger man. I initially embarked on a market stall in Stafford, Staffordshire and online @ The business hit the ground running, with customers excited that they have a choice of fashionable gear that fits in both width and length. Big is certainly best.

Posted on August 20, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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