A Hume

A Hume
How to Choose the Right Shirt

How to Choose the Right Shirt

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Most men will start the day by putting on a shirt, yet it’s claimed that the majority of them are wearing shirts that are one, or two sizes too big. Just imagine how much better they’d look if they knew how to choose the right shirt.

 

Choosing the right shirt relies on knowing how to determine the quality and fit.

 

Right Shirt 3

 

 

Here we run you through the key features to help you find the right shirt for you.

 

 

Quality

 

Material

 

The goal

Any shirt, be it a dress, work or casual shirt should look good, drape well, wash well and be comfortable. Achieving this goal relies on quality fabric.

 

What to look for

Check the label, whether you choose cotton, linen, moleskin or a luxurious cotton/wool mix be sure that the shirt is 100% natural fibres. Your skin will breathe more easily, the shirt will feel better against your skin and it will last much longer.

 

Signs to look out for

Steer clear of synthetic mixes. Whatever they promise in terms of easy-iron, easy-dry, or low cost the poly-mix shirt will have been chemically treated, i.e. dipped in formaldehyde. Unless you’re seeking to preserve your collection of Victorian surgical curiosities we do not recommend the use of formaldehyde. It will be sweaty, have a shiny shirt sheen and could cause skin irritation.

 

What to do

Only buy shirts made from natural fibres.

 

 

Buttons

 

The goal

Secure fastenings that match the shirt and open and close easily.

 

What to look for

Check the quality of the buttons. Are the buttons sturdy enough to cope with the repeated fingers and thumbs haste of early morning pre-work fumbling? Try pulling gently on the buttons to check the stitching is secure. Also check to see if the shirt is sold with additional buttons.

 

Signs to look out for

Thin buttons are likely to snap off. Loose threads and buttons that yield when pulled suggest it won’t be long till they fall off. Buttonholes that are too tight or too big will irritate.

 

What to do

Move on to another brand.

 

 

Tailoring detail

 

The goal

A good shirt will be well constructed and the patterns on the front and back panels will be aligned correctly.

 

What to look for

Check the seams. Patterns on the front and back panels should be aligned at the seams. The seams should be strong and tight. Check the collar points, it’s hard to hide shoddy tailoring here. A high quality shirt should always have collar stays to maintain the collar shape and prevent the collar points curling. The collar stays should be removed for washing and ironing. If you iron a shirt with the stays in, the collar will develop shiny marks at the points.

 

Signs to look out for

Poorly matched patterns. Seams that give even slightly when pulled taught. Even and tight stitching at the collar points.

 

What to do

If you find signs of poor tailoring move on to another brand. Cheap tailoring looks cheap and costs more in the long run as shirts don’t last.

 

Fit

 

Collar

 

The goal

A collar that fits evenly around the neck without pinching.

 

What to look for

There should be room to slip a finger easily between the neck and the collar.

Signs that the fit is wrong

If the collar is pressing against the neck and a finger doesn’t fit easily inside the collar without increasing the feeling of constriction then it’s too tight. If the collar gapes and doesn’t touch the neck at all then it’s too big.

 

What to do

Try the collar size up, or down. Measure your collar size and get to know which brands fit best for you.

 

 

Shoulder Fit and Sleeve

 

The goal

A fit that allows for free arm movement. Fabric that sits evenly across the top of the shoulder and tapers evenly from shoulder to cuff.

 

What to look for

The shoulder seam should sit just on the shoulder points. The arm hole should be large enough that there is no constriction and not so large that the undersleeve sags. A consistent line from shoulder to cuff with enough give to allow for elbow movement.

 

Signs that the fit is wrong

If the shoulder seam sits above the shoulder points, or the sleeve twists, movement will be restricted and uncomfortable. This is a sign that the shirt is too small. If the shoulder seam slouches over the shoulder points, or the sleeve bags and sags the shirt is too big.

 

What to do

Size up or down according to the problem.

 

Chest

 

The goal

A shirt that buttons easily. The fabric should drape evenly, following the silhouette of the body.

 

The button fastenings should sit flat and the fabric should drape evenly, following the silhouette of the body.

 

What to look for

The front panels and button fastenings should sit flat against the chest without pulling or puckering. Check that the fabric doesn’t billow at the lower back when tucked in.

 

Signs that the fit is wrong

If the shirt ripples at the buttons, or gapes between fastenings this is a sign that the cut is wrong or the shirt is too small. If there is excess fabric billowing around the torso this is a sign that the cut is wrong or the shirt is too big.

 

What to do

Size up or down and try different brands until you find a cut that suits you.

 

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