Wednesday, August 6, 2008

the perfect fit is just an arm's reach away

There are many fashion blunders and tragedies. For men, I think there's nothing worse than wearing ill-fitting clothing. Today we'll focus on shirt sleeves. If you've never had the excitement and luxury of having shirts custom made for you, I highly recommend it. But for the majority who buy shirts off-the-rack, it's incredibly important to know your proper size.

Measure your neck. Wrap the measuring tape around your neck. Start at the Adam's Apple so you don't forget where you started. Make sure there's no slack, but that the tape is not too tight either. This measurement will be your actual neck size. Add half an inch to the actual size to get your proper shirt neck size.

Measure your arms. Before you can measure, I recommend you assume the following position. While standing up (and with a shirt on), place your arm as though you were standing with your hand casually in your pocket (your arm should be slightly bent). Now, begin measuring at the back of the middle of the neck, follow this point to the edge of your shoulder where the stitching on the shirt is. Remember this number. Now continue measuring from the stitching (where you stopped measuring the neck-to-shoulder portion) all the way down to the wrist bone. Be sure to follow the natural curvature of the arm. Be sure not to measure too high or too low on the wrist. Add both numbers (the length of the neck-to-shoulder portion, and the length of the shoulder-to-wrist portion). As a general rule, I add an inch to this number.

Now, when you wear a shirt that fits well, about 1/2 an inch of shirt cuff should be visible when you wear a jacket. This is optimal for "standard" cuffs. If you've got French cuffs with links, or are wearing a barrel cuff, you will want to show a little more cuff.

Follow these easy steps, and you'll never be mistaken for the guy from the mail room, an intern wearing his dad's clothes, or a schmuck from down the street. And remember, it's always a good idea to dress like your boss. Or your boss's boss. If nothing else, you'll look the part. And the perfect fit is just an arm's reach away.

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