Fitting room: Classic shirts

J. Crew Collection Embellished Shirt in Wide Stripe, limited sizes available.

Whether you are shopping online or getting a garment tailored, there are three measurements that are particularly useful for ensuring proper fit of a classic shirt.

1) Shoulder width

The across shoulder measurement of the garment should be roughly the same (perhaps +/- 1/2 in) as the distance across your shoulders. This is the most important measurement, as an improper fit here may mean constricted arm movement or alteration costs that exceed other typical shirt alterations (e.g., sleeve shortening) that are needed to avoid looking frumpy due to improper fit.

2) Sleeve length

This is the second most important measurement. Another way to measure sleeve length is from the center of the neck to the end of the cuff, and a third way is from the shoulder seam to cuff. I have found measuring from the armpit to the end of the cuff easiest to do and more accurate. However, garment measurements from an online retailer may have been measured any of these ways. You may have to ask how the measurement was taken, as this information is not always provided. From the armpit, the measurement should equal the distance from your armpit to where you want the sleeve to end.

3) Total length

This is measured along the centerline of the back of the shirt, from the seam that joins the collar to the body of the shirt down to the hem. This should be equal to the desired length of the garment. You can measure a shirt that already fits well to get an idea of what the optimal length is for you.

One thing that sets J. Crew apart from other brands is that they will provide measurements of their garments via Live Chat or phone upon request. This is particularly handy if you are torn between two items or between two sizes (like 000 and 00P).

Where do you go for the perfect shirt?

Thank you for reading.

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