How to Measure a Dress Shirt

You can measure a dress shirt to find its size and length by laying it on a flat surface and using a measuring tape. You can also measure your body to figure out which sizes work best for you. It's easy to take these measurements and well worth your time.
Deb Mukherjee

Deb Mukherjee

Last updated on September 18, 2022

You can measure a dress shirt to find its size and length by laying it on a flat surface and using a measuring tape. You can also measure your body to figure out which sizes work best for you. It’s easy to take these measurements and well worth your time.

When buying dress shirts online, it is important to take accurate measurements to ensure a better fit.

You can measure a dress shirt to find its size and length by laying it on a flat surface and using a measuring tape. You can also measure your body to figure out which sizes work best for you. It’s easy to take these measurements and well worth your time.

For dress shirts, measuring the neck, arm, chest, and waist are critical. Below is a simple guide on how to take the measurements properly.

Steps to Measure a Dress Shirt

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For a perfect-fitting dress shirt, you need to measure different parts of the shirt individually. Here are the steps to measure the 7 parts of a dress shirt.

Step 1: Measure the shirt collar

The first step is to measure the collar. This is done from the inside band of the collar. To begin:

  • First, unbutton the shirt and spread it out, facing up. 
  • Then use the measuring tape to measure from the center of the button where the button stitching comes through, to the far end of the inside buttonhole.

Step 2: Measure sleeve length

Unbutton the shirt and spread it out, facing down. Measure from the center of the back of the collar where is just below the collar band, along the shoulder, and down the sleeve to the end of the cuff.

Step 3: Measure shirt length

Spread the shirt out, facing down. Measure from the highest point (below the collar) to the very bottom of the dress shirt.

Step 4: Shirt shoulder measurement

Button up the shirt and spread it out, facing down. Measure from the point where the yoke meets the sleeve, to the same point on the other side. It’s the length from one shoulder to another.

Step 5: Measure the chest/bust

Button up the shirt and spread it out, facing up. Measure from the bottom of the armpit of the shirt to the bottom of the other armpit.

Step 6: Measure the waist

Button up the shirt and measure the waistline from one side to another. We’ve also talked about measuring the waist in detail in another article.

Step 7: Sleeve cuff measurement

Spread the cuff out flat and measure from the center of the button to the far end of the buttonhole.

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‍Steps to Measure Your Body

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  • Measure your neck around: Place the measuring tape around the neck where the collar would normally sit. Stand relaxed and do not crane your neck out or squeeze your chin down. Place the tape lightly on the skin. Do not squeeze it. Hold one finger under the tape to ensure some room so the collar of the dress shirt will not be to snug.
  • Measure the sleeve length: Have a partner help you measure the sleeve length. Measure from the nape of the neck to the wrist. Make sure that the tape measure lays flat across the shoulder.
  • Measure your shoulder width: Have a partner help you measure the shoulder length. Stand up straight with your shoulders relaxed. Find the shoulder points where shoulder meets the arm. Measure the length between the shoulder points. The measuring tape will not be horizontally straight during the measurement. It must bend along the curve with your shoulders.
  • Measure your chest: Stand up straight with your arms hang down in a relaxed, natural pose. Measure around the fullest part of your chest. Tight up under the armpits and over the shoulder blades.
  • Measure the torso length: Measure from the base of the back of your neck, down your back to the point where you would want the shirt to be. This point is usually the bottom of the buttocks. Go slightly longer if you plan to tuck the shirt in or slightly shorter if you plan to wear the shirt un-tucked.
  • Measure your wrist around: Measure your wrist around the wrist bone. Hold the tape tight but do not squeeze your wrist. Round up to the nearest ¼ inch. Add 2 inches to this measurement when determining your cuff circumference.
  • Measure your waist: Stand up straight in a relaxed, normal position. Run the tape around the widest part of the belly, not the narrowest part we usually think of as waist measurement.

Tips for Taking Measurements

  • For dress shirt measuring, take all measurements lying flat on a clean floor or table.
  • Measure twice to ensure the most accurate measurement.
  • Record measurement to the nearest ¼ inch. Remember that lying flat measurements are generally doubled (e.g., a lying flat waist of 13.5″can be understood as a 27″waist) so a ¼ inch could make a difference.
  • Always choose the larger size if your measurements come between two sizes, especially when you’re ordering online.
  • Each country has its own sizing standards. No worries, you can choose the size based on your measurements and find the corresponding sizes on different size charts.

What do dress shirt sizing numbers (alpha sizing) mean?

While it’s much easier to comprehend the alphabetical sizes — small, medium, and large — it’s not the same case with sizing numbers or alpha sizes. 

Here’s how shirt sizing numbers work — For a shirt with alpha size “17 / 35-36”, the first number, 17, refers to the neck size while the 35-36 refers to the sleeve length. 

Take a look at the below sizing chart to understand how the alphabetical sizes correspond to the alpha sizing.

Dress shirt sizing chart for men

SIZENECKSLEEVECHESTWAIST
S14-14½′32-33′34-36′28-30′
M15-15½′33-34′38-40′32-34′
L16-16½′34-35′42-44′36-38′
XL17-17½′35-36′46-48′40-42′
2XL18-18½′36-37′50-52′44-46′
3XL19-19½′37-38′54-56′48-50′
4XL20½-21′38-38½′58-60′53-55′
5XL22-22½′38½-39″62-64′58-60′

Dress shirt sizing chart for women

US SIZEBUSTWAISTHIPS
XS (0-2)32-33″26½-27″34½-35½″
S (4-6)34-35″27½-28½″36½-37½″
M (8-10)36-37″29½-30½″38½-39½″
L (12-14)38½-40″32-33½″41-42½″
XL (16-18)42-43½″34-36″44-46″
XXL (20-22)45-46½″38-40″48-50″
1X (16W-18W)43-45″36-38″46-48″
2X (20w-22w)47-49″40-42″50-52″

Shirt sizing FAQs

What are the standard dress shirt sizes for men?

The standard dress shirt sizes for men are: small, medium, large, and extra-large. The sizes correspond to the following chest sizes: small (34-36 inches), medium (38-40 inches), large (42-44 inches), and extra-large (46-48 inches). 

What are the standard dress shirt sizes for women?

The standard dress shirt sizes for women are: small, medium, large, and extra-large. The sizes correspond to the following chest sizes: small (30-32 inches), medium (34-36 inches), large (38-40 inches), and extra-large (42-44 inches). 

What is the inseam on a shirt?

The inseam on a shirt is the distance from the bottom of the shirt to the crotch.  

How to measure the shirt bust?

To measure the shirt bust, wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of the bust and record the measurement. 

How do I know what size I am?

To determine your dress shirt size, you will need to know your chest size and your sleeve length. To find your chest size, wrap a measuring tape around the fullest part of your chest and record the measurement. To find your sleeve length, measure from the center of the back of your neck to your wrist. Once you have both measurements, refer to a size chart to find your corresponding shirt size.

Look your best in your perfect-fitting dress shirts

A well-fitting dress shirt can make you look and feel your best. It can also boost your confidence and make you feel more stylish. To find your perfect-fitting dress shirt, take your measurements and refer to a size chart. 

If you’re selling dress shirts, it’s important to have accurate measurements to provide to your customers. If customers are returning your products due to sizing issues, we recommend Kiwi Sizing’s AI size recommender for your size charts. It automatically recommends the most suitable size for your customers — reducing returns, decreasing costs, and creating a positive ecommerce experience for your customers. 


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