A dress shirt is worn not just under a suit, but by itself also. It’s a wardrobe staple that you can wear to a lot of settings from work to date night at a restaurant. That’s why it is imperative to have dress shirts that fit well. If you’re wearing it without a jacket, an ill-fitted shirt looks like a sartorial crime. So let’s see how a men’s dress shirt should fit.
If the collar is close enough to pinch the skin underneath, it’s too tight. You won’t be able to place a finger between the neck and collar without stretching or tugging. On the other hand, a loose collar hangs on the neck with space enough to place three or more fingers. A well fitted collar should just graze your neck without constricting it or pressing against it when buttoned. You should be able to slip 2 fingers comfortably in between your neck and the collar.
The seam where the sleeve attaches to the body of a fitted dress shirt should hit close to the top of your shoulders. If the seam is creeping past where your shoulder slopes down, it’s too loose. If it lands before your shoulder slopes, it’s too tight.
Ideally, you shouldn’t be able to pinch more than 2-3” of fabric on either side of the waist. It should taper from your chest to waist, following the shape of your body and creating a clean line between the shirt and pants when tucked in. If your shirt is tight, the buttons will strain to close, which causes wrinkles to form around the buttonholes. A loose shirt will have excess fabric that will billow around your waist.
When buttoned, the properly fitted cuff should ideally end right at the base of the thumb. The sleeve should be tapered in a way that it should be slightly wider at the upper arm than the cuff. If there is excess fabric at the sleeve and it billows at the wrist, it is too loose. If you feel uncomfortable while moving your arm, the sleeve is too tight. If you can see the details of your arm, it is too tight.
There are two major types of cuffs – French and Barrel. Both should nearly fit the same. When you bend your wrist with the palms facing down, the sleeves should barely touch the top of your hand. A cuff that’s too tight can't be pulled off without unbuttoning it. On the other hand, loose cuffs are wide enough to slide loosely over a watch. There will be enough space for some fingers to go in between the cuff and your wrist.
The hem should be long enough so you can wear it both tucked and untucked. When untucked, it should reach past the back pockets of your pants or the mid-crotch area. If you’re going to wear your shirt tucked, the longer the better. When you raise your arms above your head, the tails shouldn’t pop out from your pants.
If you can check all the above mentioned parts of your shirt, then you know how a men’s dress shirt should fit.