How to Measure Neck Size for a Dress Shirt

A well-fitted and stylish dress shirt is the primary way to set yourself apart from others in today's workplace. A dress shirt is the number one article of clothing that defines one's overall look and appearance in the workplace. The dress shirt looks on its wearer can make or break the outfit, particularly if you do not know how to measure neck size accurately, with a shirt neck line that either looks like it's going to choke you out, or is loose and sloppy.

Luckily, dress shirts come in various sizes that cater to just about anyone. Therefore, it's essential to find the right size that fits you, or else you look good regardless of what style or designer dress shirt you may have. 

To ensure the best fitting dress shirt it's essential to get your measurements perfect. Different styles and sizes can make shirt-wearing seem complicated, but we are here to help you. One of the most critical parts to measure accurately is your neck, and we've got you covered in how to do that!

Different types of dress shirts

Dress Shirt Sizing

Dress shirt sizes, believe it or not, can get a bit confusing at times. When it comes to someone's measurements, sometimes charts may mix it up and classify you as a large, but in another chart, a medium. 

What Are the Types of Sizing for Men?

There are two types of off the rack sizing categories, numerical sizing and alpha sizing. Numerical sizing for men can usually be found in formal clothing, while alpha sizing is for more casual types of clothing. These sizing scales are both different in terms of how they classify their measurements, with alpha sizing organizing clothes in XS (extra small), S (small), M (medium), L (large), XL (extra large), etc.

In comparison, numerical sizing addresses your measurements based on your neck and arm's length. When it comes to what looks better, numerical measures tend to give out a more personal and tailored fit because of their measurements. At the same time, alpha sizing gives a general better fit because its sizing classifications have more increments to get the best fit.

How Are Dress Shirts Measured?

When it comes to dress shirt measurements, one should measure their neck, sleeve, chest, and waist. While measuring your neck, sleeve, chest, and waist seem pretty straightforward, this process can get tricky and confusing. Therefore, it is ideal for measuring these parts correctly for a dress shirt. 

Tailor takes measurements of client

As mentioned earlier, one of the essential parts of these measurements is the neck. The neck circumference usually makes the dress shirt more tailored fit and up to one's liking. But how exactly do we measure one's neck size for their dress shirt? 

Measuring Your Neck Size

Getting the neck measurement is crucial in getting the ultimate fitting dress shirt. You have to get this part right as if you're off even an inch; it's the difference between being able to breathe and choking. Therefore, measuring your neck size for a dress shirt is essential. 

Man buttoning his shirt at the neckline

Additionally, ensure to do so regularly to account for any subtle change in sizing; the comfort will change drastically. But what is an excellent way to measure the neck size for a dress shirt? Luckily we have multiple ways one can use when it comes to answering this question:

Use a Measuring Tape for best Neck fit

A great way to measure the wearer's neck circumference is by utilizing a measuring tape. 

Firstly, wrap a soft measuring tape around the wearer's neck and then slide two fingers between the neck and the measuring tape. Doing this will provide the dress shirt some (literal) breathing room from when the dress shirt's collar is fully buttoned. Be sure not to pull the measuring tape too hard, as sizing will be off, and avoid squeezing it on the skin; not fun! 

Man taking neck measurement with the tape measure

It is important to note that you should add 1/2" inch on the measurement to ensure that the user's collar area would be comfortable. When using a tape measure in finding your neck size, be sure to round up the inch measurements you would see. For example, if the measurement is 15.5 inches, be sure to add an extra half inch and make it 16 inches.

Be sure to keep the measuring tape just below your Adam's Apple and stand relaxed during the whole measurement process. Do not crane your neck or put your chin down because these could alter the measurements of your neck size.

Using Another Shirt For The Neck Size Measurement

Dress shirt with thread and scissors

Another method, perhaps the most accessible and reliable, is to take your favorite shirt and measure its collar. Use this shirt and measure from the shirt's center of the collar button until the end of the buttonhole to get your neck size measurement. Be sure that the shirt you are measuring is flat to measure the neck size accurately.

Using An Alternate Material For Measuring

A soft measuring tape, also known as Tailor Tape, is the best tool for neck measurement. 


Brown and white strings

First, find an alternate flexible material, such as a string, that can bend in a way to wrap around the neck. Then, on top of the string or preferred flexible material, use an object with a known length to measure the string. For example, if you use standard American paper, the size would be 8.5 inches wide and 11 inches long. You can use this paper to measure your neck along with the string or other flexible material. 


Wooden ruler

If you aren't aware of the exact length of the material you are using is, be sure to use a flat ruler to mark increments every time you measure. Mark off every 6 or 12 inches if you use a long material during your measurement. For shorter items used in measuring the neck size, measure it one length at a time. 

Standard Object

If you do not have a ruler, be sure to use standard objects that you are sure of the size, like the paper mentioned earlier. When measuring for your neck size, be sure to measure an inch below the Adam's apple and place a finger underneath the measuring material you are using to give extra room and comfort for when you button the shirt's collar.


Man dresses up with the help of his wife

Getting your measurements for a dress shirt may sound like a simple process, but bringing this topic up to a tailor, you'll find it's not as simple as portrayed. While getting your neck size measurement can get confusing and tricky, we hope this guide can assist you in getting the measurements right.

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