The perfect fitting shirt is a simple concept but, alas, some men get it very, very wrong. There are those with so much superfluous material they should just quit their day jobs and head towards any ship with a broken sail. Conversely, others find that the simple act of raising a morning coffee to the lips brings on a sweat. Both of these scenarios can be happily avoided. A good shirt should accentuate the positives of your body, not the negatives. It should outline the basics and keep the secrets hidden. All this from a humble shirt, you cry? It is possible, and here are a couple of shirting how-tos.
KNOW YOUR MEASUREMENTS
Sure, you may know if a small, medium or large fits best but do you know your arm length? If not, head to a tailor now - right now - and get measured up. For the best fitting shirt you'll ever wear, you need to know your exact size including neck girth, and shoulder and arm length.
Once you know your neck girth, you'll be able to work out how much room to give yourself. Follow the one-finger rule. Stick a finger in between your collar and your neck. If you can fit more than one finger in there the shirt is too big. If your finger gets caught you'll eventually cut off the blood supply to your brain. The style of collar is just as important as the size. The Italians love their wide spread, over-the-top collar to show off their big, bouncy tie knots however the semi-spread is the one collar you need to remember. It is directly translated as 'taste'.
THE PIRATE LOOK
It may have worked for Jerry Seinfeld (more for laughs than fashion cred), however the puffy sleeve look is not something you should ever try. If the sleeves are so long and wide that they balloon around the elbow, you'll end up looking like Captain Jack Sparrow (but infinitely less cooler than Johnny Depp). A shirt sleeve should start at the shoulder bone and finish not more than 2.5cm over the wrist unbuttoned. You should have enough room to move around, and drink the aforementioned coffee, without too much of a pull - and no hint of perspiration.
AVID THE BILLOW
Many men think that the more room around the waist the better. The reason being that this will hide any overeating at lunch and/or that secret doughnut fetish. But it's actually the opposite. A shirt should never come away from the torso more than 2-4cm, and if it does you're edging towards the muffin top look. Which will never, ever come into fashion. A slim-fit shirt shaves off kilos and will bring in the compliments without you having to step foot in the gym. You also may want to avoid the muumuu look. This is usually spotted on men who un-tuck during after-work drinks only to reveal a tablecloth worth of material from their suit pants. Make sure the length of your shirt is no longer than your pant zipper.
THE LITTLE EXTRAS
So now you're hopefully in possession of a perfect fitting shirt that garners more compliments than your expensive aftershave, but you still have to wear it well:
Avoid yellow sweat stains by investing in a good bleaching gel
Get collar stays - these ensure that the collar lies flat against the collarbone and remains in the correct position
Learn how to iron like your mother
A perfect shirt will gain you loads of confidence and office cred and is something that should be at the top of all men's to-buy lists. The benefits will outweigh the price tag every time.