How to measure for men’s dress shirts

Whether you’re measuring a bra or something else, there’s a certain way to do it. You want all clothing articles to match you how they’re supposed to. 

Here’s a guide to help you out so you can look dapper. You want to look right no matter if you’re going to a wedding or into the office. If you scroll down, you’ll see just how to get the measurements flowing so you can be on your way. 


Measuring for a men’s dress shirt includes measuring the sleeve, neck, and chest. It’s not hard once you get the hang of it! We’ve also included a chart & guide for you to find the size you need.

Besides that, we’ve also included some of the following topics:

  • Brands to consider
  • Places to go shopping
  • Different styles
blue dress shirt

Table of Contents

What size dress shirt should I wear

It depends on your measurement and the type of fit that you want.

How to measure for a men’s dress shirt

The easiest is to find out your measurements for a men’s dress shirt is by following the guide below.

Time needed: 5 minutes.

How to measure for a men’s dress shirt

  1. Sleeve length.

    The tailor’s tape should start behind your neck. It should be at the center of the back. The tape will then be extended over the top of your should. Run it down the length of your arm and stop where your hand starts to widen. It’s where you will want the shirt to sit. 

    Alternatively, you can go from the center back of your spine to the top of the arm. Then be sure you’re keeping track of where you measured and start a new point where the old one ended. 
    Now measure from the top of your arm to the wrist bone. If you want your shirt to be a little longer, you can go down further. It’s the place where the shirt cuff will end up sitting. 

    You don’t want to be stretching your arm as you’re doing it. However, you also shouldn’t be entirely bending it. A slight bend is great as it gives you a length that is more aligned with people’s natural posture. 

    If you used the second method, now add the two numbers together. When you’re getting a tailor-fit shirt, the tailor will ensure you get the width of your shoulder along with the length of your arm. People have different size shoulders, and this accounts for the difference. sleeve length measurement

  2. Measure your neck.

    Put on a shirt if you have one so you can see where the collar sits. The base of the neck where the collar sits is where you will want to know the circumference. 

    You can use a tighter fit with the tailor’s tape or add an inch to your measurement. Alternatively, you can include two fingers between your neck and the tailor’s tape. You’ll want enough space that you’ll know you can breathe. neck being measured

  3. How to measure the chest width size for a shirt

    Before you start, you will want to stand upright in front of a mirror. It ensures you have air entering your lungs as you naturally would when you’re out and about. Being in front of the mirror allows you to place the tailor’s tape correctly. 

    Start the tailor’s tape around the armpit and put it around your chest. Adjust its positioning, so it sits at the fullest part across your chest. It should still be parallel to the ground. 

    Take a breath in to see how the tightness feels. Make sure it’s not too loose or too tight. You don’t want to feel constricted either. It’s crucial that it’s a fit you’d be comfortable with even if you had to wear it the entire night. chest being measured

  4. Measure the waist.

    It’s time to measure your waistline. Stand up straight without sucking in the stomach or pushing it out. Measure roughly around where your belly button is. waist being measured for a dress shirt

  5. Check out the brand’s size chart.

    When looking at a product listing, scroll down to the bottom. It’s usually where they keep the shirt size charts. If you’re on a company’s respective website rather than Amazon, they may have a page dedicated to the purpose.dress shirt size chart

  6. Make your purchase.

    Now it’s time to do it. You know which one will fit you, and it’s about committing. You’ll soon be looking phenomenal in your newly purchased garment!

    Don’t worry if you don’t have the size that matches all your measurements, as there’s still a bit of leniency to go off of. Each size will have a bit of ease built-in, and it could be that you’re in between two models. I know I can generally wear both a medium and a large, for instance. shirt being added to cart

Fit chart

pink dress shirt

This dress shirt chart for men is roughly something you can go off of. However, it’s better to make sure it matches the manufacturer’s suggestions. 

Sleeve (Inch)Neck (Inch)Waist (Inch)Chest (Inch)Alpha Sizing
3213″ – 13 1/2″26″ – 28″32″ – 34″XS
3314″ – 14 1/2″29″ – 31″35″ – 37″S
3415″ – 15 1/2″32″ – 34″38″ – 40″M
3516″ – 16 1/2″35″ – 37″41″ – 43″L
3617″ – 17 1/2″38″ – 40″44″ – 46″XL
36.518″ – 18 1/2″41″ – 43″47″ – 49″XXL

Before we go any further, we’d like to point out a couple of options to look into once you’ve got the measurements. They’re highly regarded manufacturers that know what they’re doing and can get you looking good. 

Buttoned down store

These guys know what they’re doing at a price we can approve of. With their classic fits, they’re not pushing the envelope more than it needs to. If you prefer a tighter-looking fit, you can tuck it in. You’re now good to go!

They’ve got a range of good-looking colors, from the traditional French blue to the more personality-rich pink. The shirts are made of cotton, which ensures that they breathe nicely. At the same time, they’re non-iron, so you won’t have to worry about wrinkles. 

They provide the right amount of stretch, so you don’t feel you’re wearing a plastic bag. With their superior cotton, you’re getting a shirt you can enjoy for a long time.

Check out the Buttoned Down store.


The Button Down store also has a selection of options that include patterns. A solid color may not be how you fly. You may more so be a person who likes living life on the edge. 

I’ve got several of these, especially the red and navy checked print. See for yourself whether it’s a design you like.

Flash Apparel

Flash Apparel is the last place we’d like to point out. They’ve got some juicy designs constructed for the advanced man who doesn’t mind getting flashy. 

There are designs there that I would not want to be seen dead in. However, they’ve also got a bunch of nice designs I like. 

Alright, let’s get down to business so you can figure out how to measure properly. It’s not rocket science. However, you’ll want to accurately get the measurements so you won’t have to return a bunch of merchandise. 

The neck, arm, chest, and waist measurements will be needed to get the shirt that fits you right. 

It’s important to note that each company will have a slightly different fit, and their ratios may be slightly different. Each company will have a chart showing how your measurements correspond to their sizes.

Some companies will offer alpha-sizing shirts, with others using numerical measurements. Alpha includes you either being a medium, large, or something else. Numerical will usually specify the neck and sleeve length. 

To make it easier to know which size you are, companies will have a fit formula that they use across all their models. You should be an XL in all their shirt models when you know your neck and arm length. That is, if XL is the one you’ve found out will fit you based on your measuring. 

Tailor’s tape

You obviously can’t use a ruler to figure out the circumference of your neck. It just won’t be easy to do. A soft measuring tape is by far the easiest as it will wrap around and can give you an accurate reading. 

If you don’t have one already, here’s a basic one you can get. It’s nothing fancy, but it will get the job done. You can then put it in the drawer next time, and it will also work for your various house projects. For instance, maybe you’ll be installing a deck railing. It could come in handy then. 

It’s best to ask a friend to do it for you as it can be hard to accurately handle the tape measure, especially for a sleeve length. A tailor or dry cleaner can also do it. It will ensure the result you get is accurate. 

Tailor’s tape is not strictly required, but it’s preferred. An alternative is with a piece of string. Take the measurements using a string and then lay it flat down on a table. You will want to keep track of where the measurement was taken. 

Using a string that isn’t too stretchy when you do it is important. It could easily give you inaccurate results.

Pros and cons

Trendy designsGood FitVariety of Colors Patterns
Flash apparel✔️✔️
Button down store✔️✔️✔️✔️

Types of fits

They rely on the sleeve length and neck size. However, they also come in different types of fits:

  • Traditional
  • Fitted
  • Slim
  • Extra slim

The type of fit will affect how closely it sits around the waist and how it tugs your chest. A slim fit has more of a European feel to it where everything is a bit tighter. 

However, these fits are not universal. The easiest way to figure out which fit you’re after is to check out different listings and see what looks more like you. 

However, different brands may vary in how neatly they tuck in the shirts at the waist.

The classic fit

The classic fit may seem a better option if you’re on a bit heavier. It won’t be tucked in, and you will have an airier feel than a regular fit would have. For people that are lean, both the classic fit and the regular fit may look baggy. 

Muscular men

If you spend a lot of time at the gym, you’re probably more muscular than the average person. The right fit will depend on your neck size and the sleeves’ length. Muscular, lean men usually do not like the classic or regular fit. 

To be able to get the necessary neck size, you may have to go up a couple of sizes. If you choose a slim fit instead, the waistline is tucked in nicely, and you’ll get a shirt that fits you well.

Everyone is created differently. It’s just important you find a piece of clothing you are happy with. 

Where can you go shopping?

There are lots of places where you can find a new dress shirt. If you’re like most, you probably have an Amazon Prime subscription already. 

We’re huge fans of the selection that they have. You can find the right look for a wedding or for your first day at the office. The good thing is also how easy they are to return. 

If you’ve got a big day coming up two days from now, you may not want to drive to an outlet mall. Your schedule may already be so busy that it’s just not feasible to do.

We’ve included a couple of our favorite stores at the top of this article. Besides dress shirts, you can find polo or collared ones. There are also a bunch of traditional white work and flannel shirts. Maybe plaid is your thing, or you’d rather rock the Hawaiian look on the beach.

There’s absolutely everything you can desire, and you don’t even have to leave the couch to find your next outfit. 

Factors to consider

tape measure around neck


Different types of shirt fittings are available like traditional, slim, extra slim, etc. Each one has a different kind of measurement. Look carefully and then select the best one for yourself.

Size chart

The size chart has been classified into a different numbers. Each number denotes a different set of body measurements. It varies from country to country. Make sure that the one you are looking at is according to US standards.


The fabric plays a very important role in any clothing article. Some fabrics tend to lose after you wear them for a while whereas some shrink after washing. Choose the fabric of your shirt keeping in mind how it will perform in the future.

dress shirt

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