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How To Measure a Dress Shirt


You know that feeling when you throw on a shirt that fits just right? Unbeatable. But shopping online makes it challenging to know what size to pick—especially when every clothing item uses different sizing measurements. 

In this guide, we explain how to measure a dress shirt. Let’s dive in.

Finding your dress shirt size

You can measure a dress shirt by finding the lengths of your shirt collar, chest, sleeves, and waist.

Measuring your collar 

To measure your collar, start by unbuttoning the shirt. Spread it out flat and pop the collar (the only time we permit you to pop a collar). Pull the collar straight and measure it from one side to the other.

Measuring your shirt’s chest

Spread a buttoned shirt out on a hard surface facing up. Smooth out any wrinkles to get the most accurate measurement (or buy one of our wrinkle-free dress shirts). Measure from the bottom of one armpit to the other. There you have it.

Measuring your shirt’s waist

Lay a buttoned dress shirt face up on a flat surface again. Locate the narrowest part of the shirt’s torso. This is typically at the halfway point between the bottom of the shirt and the armpits. From there, measure the width of your shirt from one end to another.

Measuring your sleeve length

Find the center of the collar band. Pulling the sleeve away from the body of the shirt, measure from the center of the collar band to the end of the wrist cuff.

How to measure your body for dress shirts

If you don’t have a dress shirt that fits, you can find out your size by measuring your body parts.

This process becomes easier with the help of another person. Your options: visit the tailor (preferred), ask your partner or friend (bribe required), or post on Craigslist (why? For the adventure).

Measuring your neck

To find your neck measurement, start by facing forward in a relaxed, upright position. Place the tape measure (lightly) where the collar will sit then measure the circumference of your neck. For added comfort, hold a finger under the tape measure.

Measuring your body’s chest

Stand tall and relaxed. Run the measuring tape along the fullest part of your chest, under the armpits, and over the shoulder blades. Hang your arms loose to get the most accurate measurement.

Measuring your body’s waist

Measure around the smallest part of your waist at belly button level (typically where you bend from side to side). You want the measuring tape close to your skin but not so tight that it digs in when you breathe.

You should also avoid taking this measurement right after a big meal.

Measuring your arms

Finding out the length of your arms will require a partner. 

Let your arms hang loose. Ask your tailor/partner/Craigslist pal to start their measurement at the center base of the back of your neck. The tape measure should run over the top of your shoulder to the center of the thick part of your palm. 

Give your designated measuring buddy a high five.

Choosing your fit

Once you know your sizing measurements, you can decide on your preferred fit. 

We offer two different styles, Trim Fit and Classic Fit. Our Trim fit shirts are made to be fitted for a more custom made, tailored feel. Our Classic fit is a more relaxed cut and gives 4" of additional room in the body and arms. All Mizzen+Main shirts have four-way stretch and back darts for a more tailored look.

How a dress shirt should look and feel

Keep these tips in mind when trying on a new dress shirt for the first time.

Collar: your collar should fit close to your neck (who woulda thought!). You want just enough room to put one to two fingers between your collar and your neck when your shirt is buttoned.

Chest: choose a shirt that fits snug around the chest without pulling noticeable lines across the fabric. Like a shirt with a relaxed style? Add an extra inch to your chest measurement.

Sleeves: the sleeve of your dress shirt should narrow at your wrists without a bunch of extra fabric. It should drape with a little looseness around the arm, but not so much that there are folds in the fabric. A well-fit sleeve will highlight your biceps, not hide them behind more fabric.

Find your shirt 

Check out our size guide for more information about our dress shirts or use our shirt finder to find your new favorite dress shirt.