How a Man's Shirt Should Fit

Most guys will have a range of shirt makes and fits in their wardrobe bought for a variety of reasons. More than likely, these shirts will fit you well in some areas and not in others.

Chess London shirts have been designed for athletic men, but how should a shirt fit?


Perhaps the easiest starting point when looking at your fit is the shoulders. The seam where the arm sleeve joins the main body of the shirt should be at the top of your shoulders. If the seam is edging down your shoulder, your shirt is cut too big - fairly common with mass brands catering for the average man. If the seam is edging towards your neck, it’s cut too small and you probably own it because it fits well in other areas, which is irrelevant because if it’s not at the top, the shirt doesn't fit.


Along with the cuffs, this is one area with a little flexibility depending on if you like to button the top button or not. The general rule is that you should be able to button the collar and slip two fingers between the collar and your neck. If you don’t button, this is less important.


A well fitting shirt will show your athletic contours and feel snug, but not tight. Snug around the chest, under armpits and across the upper back allowing a full range of movement is the aim. If the buttons are pulling when you're standing still with your arms by your side, it’s too small and you look like you're trying too hard.

Body and Waist

To create an athletic torso ‘V-Shape’, the shirt should taper from the chest to waist following your body’s contours and tuck into your trousers without excess folds of fabric. Often manufacturers achieve this with back darts, particularly on slim fit shirts but this isn't necessary. Slim athletic fit shirts can be cut from the cloth to give the v-shape, the darts being just a design feature.


Whether you want to wear your shirt tucked in or out will dictate what length you’re looking for. If you’re tucking in, it shouldn’t show your hips when you sit or feel like you’re tucking in metres of fabric. If you’re wearing it untucked and it looks like a dress, it’s too long. Our shirts are cut to fall to about the same height as your pockets so you can wear them either way comfortably.


The armhole at the body of the shirt should allow for the sleeve to follow the shape of your arm without excess fabric. Mass market shirts are often cut low to make up for the shirt not fitting properly in other areas. This loses the shape of your arm in the sleeve. So, just like the body, aim for snug.


The cuff should fall at the base of your thumb, give or take 1/2 an inch for your preference. You want to avoid wrist showing and if you can’t see your knuckles, it’s too long. If you're wearing a watch, the cuff should end to cut across the centre of the watch face.

Check the opening which should not be restrictive, but if you have slim wrists, don't have them gaping like a pirate.

How a shirt should fit

Remember, every man looks better in a well fitting shirt, so if you've traditionally gone tight on the chest or small on the shoulders to try and look big a change could take time to get used to, but get ready for some compliments on the change. Our shirts have all been designed to fit an athletic man's physique. See some of the athletes who have worn our athletic slim fit menswear.

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