The Good Fit Guide is a new series of posts showing you the correct way to measure yourself for certain items of clothing. That way you get that perfect fit, every time.

A well-fitted shirt is, very often, the starring role in your outfit. Yet, with all men created differently (sorry Jefferson), finding one that’s both the right cut and a good shape for your body is anything but easy. From slim-fit to long-line, office-cut to oversized, your shirt choice says more about you than almost any other garment, so you want a fit that does it justice.

Here to help you make the impression you’re after, we’ve prepared a simple guide to all the necessary measurements that go into the perfect button-down. While nothing beats actually trying one on for size, with so much shopping moving online these days you can think of this as the next best thing (short of enlisting a private tailor).

Things to Keep in Mind

The yoke (the space across the top of your back) should stretch from one shoulder to the other, without any real overhang (unless you’re deliberately seeking a slouchy, oversized look). The sleeves should allow ample arm movement, yet remain at a length where the cuff won't ride too far up the wrist when you extend your arms forward. Lastly, the collar region should support easy movement of your neck, but never allow more than two fingers' space between the shirt and your throat – a low-hanging top button will make you look like a child trying on daddy's clothes.

When making the following measurements, using a shirt that you already like the fit of will help. If you don’t have one of those, take any shirt as a reference point and then adjust the figures up or down slightly according to the fit you desire.

1. Collar

With shirt completely unbuttoned and laying spread open on a flat surface, measure from the middle of the button hole to the center of the button on the opposite side.

2. Yoke

Shirt now fully buttoned and laying flat backside facing up, measure across the top from one shoulder seam to the other.

3. Chest

Again, fully buttoned this time with frontside facing up, spread the sleeves open and measure under each sleeve from pit to pit. Then double that measurement.

4. Waist

Frontside up, locate the narrowest part of the garment found in between the pit and bottom opening and measure from outer seam to outer seam.

5. Opening

Measure from outer seam to outer seam at the bottom opening of the shirt.

6. Length

Place the tape measure on the top of one shoulder and make your way down to the bottom opening.

7. Sleeve

Again, from the top of the shoulder seam, guide your tape measure to the edge of the cuff.

Once you have these measurements recorded, we recommend you write them down somewhere for easy reference when shopping (either in a note on your phone, or in a saved document). That way, when shopping online, you can always tell, at a glance, how an item measures up to your benchmark. You'll also be prepared for any sizing format you're presented with – from the regular S, M, L to Japan's frequently obscure and impenetrable numbered system.

Written by Robert Patos for

Images by Ryan Hursh

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