Loose Shirt vs Tight Shirt: Choosing the Right Fit

An essential piece of wardrobe for any man is a shirt. We can safely assume that 99.999% of men all over the planet --- young or old, rich or poor, single or married ---- wear a shirt. But is your shirt too loose, or possibly too tight, and how do you even know the right fit?

man wearing loose dress shirt

But just like with any other thing, not all shirts are created equal. Some are loose, others are tight. Which is your thing?

This is no loose talk, but we’re not tight-lipped about the matter either.

Comfort vs Style

With cars, there’s always a constant tussle between engineers and designers. A compromise always has to be reached when designing cars so as not to affect the car’s performance. On the flipside, the car’s engineering has to be done in such a way that it doesn’t significantly encroach on the design.

Why are we talking about cars all of a sudden? Because there is a similar principle when it comes to shirt designs, and that’s the aspect of comfort versus style. We all wish we could have both. However, there are shirts that look great but don’t fit comfortably, and there are those that feel really comfortable but are not exactly our style.

Loose or Tight?

Another way of putting it is, how should a shirt fit? It can be similar to a question such as, How do you like your coffee? Strong or mild? Black or with cream? When it comes right down to it, it really is a subjective matter.

Assorted Dress Shirts

If it’s too loose, you’d look sloppy. If it’s too tight, you won’t be very comfortable (and may find it hard to breathe).

Casual Shirt vs Dress Shirt

If it’s a t-shirt or a casual shirt, there’s more freedom in choosing the type of size to wear. However, if it’s a dress shirt, the fit should literally be to a T. An ill-fitting shirt, whether it’s too loose or too tight, ruins your look and gives off the impression that you don’t know how to take good care of yourself.

How do you know it’s the right fit? Let’s break it down from collar to cuff.

  • Collar - The main job of the collar is to frame your face. If your shirt collar is not well-fitted, your overall look can also be impacted. You know it’s too tight if it’s too close to your skin and you can’t move your neck freely. On the other hand, you know it’s too loose if you can squeeze in about 4 of your fingers in the gap between it and your neck.

 blue stripped collar dress shirt

  • Shoulder - If the shoulder points are shifted more towards your neck, that’s too tight. If the points slump off your shoulders, then that’s a tad loose. You know it’s the right fit if the shoulder points sit right on the edge of your shoulders.

dress shirt shoulder closeup

  • Torso - This one’s easy. If your buttons look like they’re about to pop off, then the torso’s too tight. On the other hand, you know it’s too loose if you have excess fabric sort of ballooning around your chest or waist. What’s the right fit? If you can easily button up your shirt and you can tuck it in with no billowing around your waist. If not, there's always darts!
  • Sleeve - Another easy one. If your arm movement is limited, especially when you bend your arms, you know you’re literally in a tight spot. If there’s too much slack, creating lots of folds and wrinkles, that’s a very loose sleeve.

tailor performing sleeve measurement

  • Bottom Hem - You know the bottom hem’s length is too short if it almost doesn’t cover your belt line if your shirt’s untucked. If the shirt’s tails cover your crotch area or beyond it, then that’s a long bottom hem.
  • Cuff - If the cuff is pressed too close to your skin and there’s no wiggle room for your wrists, that’s a cuff too tight. If you can squeeze in your fingers even if you’re wearing a watch, that’s too loose.

hand holding sleeve's cuff

When all’s said and done, you still decide what you want to wear. But if you want to have a perfect balance between comfort and style with your dress shirt, have it custom-made.

You can let Simple Tailor do the hard work for you so you don’t have to worry about your shirt being too tight or too loose.

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