The 3 Biggest Issues With Buying a Dress Shirt (And How to Fix Them)

Because there's an 85% chance it won't work off the rack.
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Because there's an 85% chance it won't work off the rack.
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There's only a 15% chance the shirt you wear to work actually fits you.

According to the online shirting company Stantt, off-the-rack button downs just aren't cut for most body types. “Walking through the city you see a bunch of guys just swimming in material,” says Kirk Keel, one of the co-founders behind the e-tailer. After looking at 2,000 body scan for market research, Keel and his colleagues concluded the most easily accessible shirts don't fit 85% of body types.

There are three big issues with the fit of a typical off-the-rack option, according to Keel:

  1. The muffin top:  “Sometimes  the shirt is just too big in the waist so when you tuck it in, it’s blousing out.” Keel says. The former Johnson & Johnson employee advises that if you can grab a fistful of fabric, even after the shirt is tucked in at the waist, you want to go for something that’s a little more tailored. If available, grab the “tailored” or “slim” version of the shirt you’ve selected.

  2. The sleeve length: “This one is pretty simple,” Keel explains. “It’s just either too long or too short.” The optimal length has the cuff hitting where your thumb joins your wrist while your arm is hanging straight down.

  3. The upper body:  “This is where guys are really swimming in their shirts; there’s just too much fabric around the chest and shoulders.” The fix here:  sizing down.

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But even with considering those three issues, it’s likely that you won’t find the exact fit. For that you can go the traditional bespoke route, or pick up a style from Stantt. The e-tailer stocks 75 different sizes that address 90 to 95 percent of men’s body types perfectly, according to the company. A few basic measurements taken with a simple tape measure(or handy iPhone headphones) will have you over half the way to a properly fitting shirt. 

If that's all it takes for people to assume we're more confident and successful, you can sign us up now.

Get more information about online bespoke services like Indochino and Mtailor in our printed September issue.