Men’s Shirts & Tops: Getting the Right Fit

3 men's shirts on hangers

It’s not always straightforward to get men’s shirts and tops that fit perfectly, but it can be made much easier if you know how! Read on for some handy tips on getting the right fit.

In theory, men’s clothing is generally a much more straightforward issue than women’s, as they’ve stuck to basics and use actual set measurements as a sizing guide.

In comparison, women’s manufacturers uses sizes such as 12, 14 and 16, but have confused the game by varying the exact measurements these sizes involve, depending on which clothing brand you’re buying.

It’s no wonder women sometimes struggle to find clothes that fit, but men should theoretically have a far easier time.

That said, it’s only easy if you know which size to buy.

When it comes to men’s shirts and tops, there are two key measurements you need to know in order to get the perfect fit – the size of your neck and your chest.

Neck measurements are important for both casual and formal shirts and you’ll generally find measurements given in inches, such as:

  • 14.5”
  • 15”
  • 15.5”
  • 16”
  • 16.5”
  • 17”
  • 17.5”
  • 18”
  • 18.5”
  • 19”

Chest measurements are also provided on packaging and are, again, primarily provided in inches:

  • 36”
  • 38”
  • 40”
  • 42”
  • 44”
  • 46”
  • 48”
  • 50”
  • 52”
  • 54”

Casual tops and some casual shirts may sometimes be sized according to more generic terms, like small, medium, large and extra large.

But even then, measurement guidelines should be provided so you can gauge an idea of what each size represents. If it’s not clear what size each item will fit, then ask a shop assistant, look in a catalogue or on the company website, as the details should be made available somewhere.

Trying things on will also help you suss out whether an item will fit you, but just because you’re a small in one shop doesn’t necessarily mean you may be a small elsewhere too.

In a similar way to women’s clothing, these generic sizing methods open up more problems, as not every shop will use the same measurements and a small in one brand may equate to a medium elsewhere.

If you don’t want the hassle of working this out, opting for set sizes can be much less stressful.

Knowing Your Measurements

As with any clothing, in order to get the right fit for shirts and tops, it’s essential you know what size you are.

The only way of knowing this – apart from a random guess – is to take your measurements.

You can easily measure yourself, or you may find that a measuring service is available in a good men’s clothing department or at a specialist outfitter.

The essential measurements for tops and shirts are your chest size and collar, although it’s also useful to know your preferred sleeve length too.

To measure your chest, put the tape measure close up under the arms and measure your chest at its fullest part.

To obtain your collar measurement, put the tape measure around the base of the neck, where the collar of a shirt would like, and make a note of the measurements.

To obtain your sleeve length, put your arms down by your sides and measure from the base of your neck, along your shoulder and down the arm.

Take the measurement at the length you prefer. As a useful rough guide, many standard shirt sleeve lengths are regarded as being about an inch past the wrist bone

. Many clothing lines use inches as their primary measurement, but should provide a conversion in centimetres as well.

Once you know what your chest, collar and sleeve measurements are, you’re ready to hit the high street and start shopping!

See Also
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