The Proper Fit of a Shirt
No matter what option you chose, the fit and the style options you choose the final fit will have a huge impact on the overall look. People often talk about the “perfect fit” as if it was one objective standard, but in fact, it contains many subjective elements. So first of all, you have to determine what fit and look you like. You can choose between Classic Fit, Slim Fit, Modern/Contemporary Fit, and Skinny Fit.
The Classic Fit – Best For Comfort
The classic fit is likely what your father and grandfather wore. It is characterized by a traditional tailoring silhouette, allowing a comfortable feel with a boxier shape, with plenty of fabric in the sleeves and the body. It provides great mobility and features two vents on the back, usually located near the yoke. Back in the day, a gentleman would never wear a shirt without a jacket, and often a vest, and therefore the main priority was comfort.This is the go-to choice for those with a more classic style who favor comfort over fashion.
If you wear your shirts with jackets, this is probably the best fit for you because it is the most comfortable. It is not the best choice for slim chaps because other styles may suit you better. However, if you have a rounder stomach, this is the most comfortable and most flattering style for you.
Slim Fit – A Dress Shirt Only For Slim Men
Slim Fit – Best For Looks If You Are Slim
Throughout history, young men have often tried to differentiate their look from their parents. At the same time, it has become socially acceptable to wear a dress shirt without a jacket, and therefore the look and fit of the shirt itself has become more important.
While a slim fit shirt is less comfortable and often more constricting in your movement, it is a lot more fashionable because it eliminates excess fabric.
A slim fit shirt typically has an accentuated back with darts and a high armhole stance allowing for a shaped look that sits closer to the body, without being skin tight.
As the name implies, this shirt fit is made for slim people, therefore please do not choose it if you have some love handles or a belly because it looks really bad, if you are not in shape.
If you are in shape and young or young at heart, and you want to wear the shirt on its own and look the part, the slim fit look is for you.
The Modern/Contemporary Fit – Best of Both Worlds
The Modern Fit sits in between the classic and the slim fit, providing the best of both worlds when it comes to comfort and style. A slightly tapered silhouette with the waist sometimes in combination with small back darts create a trimmer look than the classic fit that looks good even without a jacket without sacrificing comfort. The armholes are high, the sleeves have some room but are not too wide, and the yoke extends to or just past the shoulder bone.
This is my preferred shirt fit because I do not have to limit my range of movement, but I look slimmer than in a classic shirt. Even though I wear a jacket most of the time, I could even wear the shirt without a jacket. If you are not the slimmest guy, but you don’t have a huge belly, this fit suits you best. Of course, you can also wear it as a slim chap.
IT- extra slim fit
Super Slim/Skinny Fit – Stay Clear Unless You Are Skinny
This super slim or skinny fit is mostly popular with young men who think that tighter is better. In practice, this fit is usually characterized by lots of wrinkles, and unless you have a very skinny body that justifies it, you should avoid it altogether. Skintight shirts are not a flattering alternative for anyone, and they restrict your range of movement considerably. If you are interested in classic men’s style, stay clear of this fit.
Shirt Style Details Explained
It’s important to keep in mind that style is very personal and subjective. As such, this guide is meant to help you find the style elements that are best for you while highlighting the purpose or the traditions behind it.
No matter, if you’re looking at a RTW, MTM or bespoke shirt, these guidelines apply to all of them.
Dress Shirt Front with pocket – ideally you want to skip the pocket
Shirt Front – To Have A Pocket Or Not
Aside from the shirt placket, most shirts feature a plain front without any additional elements other than chest pockets. Modern shirts sometimes feature darts or decorative stitching, but that’s not classic.
No Pockets = Formal
Some men like to have a shirt pocket; others don’t. Historically, a shirt with a pocket was always less formal, than one without, because a gentleman did not have to work and would wear a jacket as such, he would have never used his shirt pocket.
1 Pocket = Informal
On the other hand, someone engaged in physical labor used the pocket to store things while working. Today, it looks odd to have items or a pen clip to a chest pocket, as such it is more of a stylistic choice. As a rule of thumb, I never add them to formal shirts, and sometimes to more casual shirts.
2 Pockets = Very Informal
A chest pocket on both sides is very casual and usually reserved for very informal shirts such as safari, military or western shirts.
it is usual for shirts to present a bib-like contrast in the front. This so-called “tuxedo shirt” is not meant for everyday wear and should be saved for the occasion. The contrasting fabrics on the bib are usually heavier and feature a pleated or pique effect. This type of detailed front, when taken out of the original context, has also enabled designers to create bold statement pieces making use of contrasting elements of both color and pattern.
Shirt Placket – It’s Your Choice
The placket is one of the main elements of the shirt’s front, because it automatically draws attention to itself due its central position.
Also known as the “American placket” due to the strong influence and representation of American style, this is the most conventional style of all. It adds symmetry to a dress shirt, and it is basically, a separate piece of fabric attached to the shirt front. It can either by be folded or stitched, and it is a popular option for everyday business shirts, but you can also find them on traditional American Oxford Cloth Button Down shirts.
The French Placket
The French placket is a more polished alternative than the traditional placket, and therefore it is the choice for evening shirts.
It is a very simplistic style that is achieved by folding the fabric over itself inwards. This technique results in a clean shirt front without any stitching. As the name implies, it is associated with a European aesthetic and the go-to choice for a more modern debonair look. Although traditionally more formal, the French placket can be worn with classic, fashion or casual shirts today.
The 3/4 Placket
This placket is slightly longer than on a polo shirt and does not reach all the way down. As such, you have to pop it over your head, and therefore it is only seen on more relaxed shirts or popover shirts. Some men like them for a relax, casual summer look in combination with linen fabrics.
The Fly Front Placket
Originally the fly front placket was a modern take on an evening shirt placket without any shirt studs. It features an extra flap of fabric which conceals the buttons thus providing a cleaner looking shirt. At the end of the day, it is still a poor man’s alternative to an evening shirt, and even though some fashion brands have utilized this placket in regular dress shirts, you better stay clear of it, if you want a timeless shirt wardrobe.