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How to Measure For a Men’s Dress Shirt - Complete Guide

There’s no doubt that a stylish bespoke suit is the pinnacle of men’s style. 

However, a tailored suit alone won’t do much for you. It’s the most important part, but it’s nothing without the rest of your outfit—classy shoes, suiting accessories, and the right cologne, for example.

At the top of the list is a well-fitted dress shirt. Without that, you’ll be missing one of the most essential pieces of the men’s style puzzle. 

But how do you measure for a dress shirt?

Below, we’ll teach you how to measure for a dress shirt and explain how dress shirt sizing works. 

How Do Dress Shirt Sizes Work?

Dress shirt sizing may seem confusing at first—but that’s okay! Once you understand the methods used by different companies, it’s easy to get the hang of it.

There are two primary types of dress shirt sizing:

  1. Alpha sizing
  2. Numerical sizing

Alpha Sizing

Alpha sizing for dress shirts works similarly to how other men’s shirts work, such as t-shirts.

For example, S for small, M for medium, L for large, and so on. 

While this is a more simplistic way of looking at dress shirt sizes, the letters are arbitrary—a medium in one brand likely won’t be the same size as a medium in another. There isn’t a single set of sizing guidelines for brands to follow.

However, in general, most companies with off-the-rack alpha sizing fall around these parameters:


Neck Size

Sleeve Length


13”- 13 ½”



14”- 14 ½”



15” - 15 ½” 



16” - 16 ½”



17” - 17 ½” 



18” - 18 ½” 


Numerical Sizing

Numerical sizing uses a neck and sleeve measurement in the size. For example, a 15/32 would mean that the neck measures 15 inches, and the sleeve length is 32 inches. In some cases, numerical sizing may also include a chest size.

Dress shirts with numerical sizing allow you to choose a better fit, especially after taking measurements. 

Dress Shirt Fits

There’s more to a dress shirt than the size—nearly all dress shirt companies carry different kinds of fits. 

The different varieties you’ll find will depend on the company you choose. However, you can count on two primary fits:

  1. Standard fit
  2. Slim fit

Standard Fit

Standard fit dress shirts typically offer a bit more room throughout while tapering closer to the waist. They also have relaxed armholes, more room in the chest, more room in the shoulders, and fuller sleeves. If you’re a little bigger in the torso, a standard fit is probably the best choice for you.

Slim Fit

Slim fit dress shirts feature less fabric throughout and sit closer to your body. They have higher armholes, a slimmer chest profile, tapered sleeves, and a slim waist. As the name suggests, a slim fit dress shirt works best on a slimmer body. 

How to Measure For a Dress Shirt

Measuring for a dress shirt means coming up with numbers for four different areas:

  1. Neck
  2. Sleeves
  3. Chest
  4. Waist

You’ll also need a measuring tape—in this case, a tailor’s tape measure is the best choice since it’s flexible and easy to work with. 


To determine your neck measurement, use a measuring tape to measure around the base of your neck where your collar would usually sit. Round up to the nearest half inch. 

For example, if your measurement is 16 1/4 inches, you would round up to 16.5 inches.


To determine your sleeve measurement, measure from the center of the back of your neck, over your shoulder, and down to your wrist. Again, round up to the nearest half-inch. 


To measure your chest, start by standing up straight with your arms at your sides, and your chest relaxed. Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your chest, which is typically just below your armpits and across your nipple line. Ensure that the tape is snug but not too tight, and it is parallel to the floor. Round up to the nearest half-inch or centimeter. 


To measure your waist, start by standing up straight and finding the narrowest part of your waist, which is typically just above your belly button. Wrap the measuring tape around your waist, ensuring it is snug but not too tight and parallel to the floor. Take note of the measurement in inches or centimeters, and round up to the nearest half-inch or centimeter.

Pair Your Well-Fitted Dress Shirt With a Stylish Bespoke Suit

Once you have your measurements and you’ve chosen the perfect dress shirt, it’s time to pair it with the ideal bespoke suit.

Luckily, Joseph Abboud’s bespoke suit process handles all of the heavy lifting for you—we let you choose the style you want for any occasion, from weddings to the office. Our fitting appointments ensure you get a spot-on fit—just like your new, well-fitted dress shirt.

Learn more about Joseph Abboud’s bespoke suits today.

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