How Long Should the Shirt Length be?

Selecting the optimal shirt length

Selecting the optimal shirt length depends primarily on if you plan to wear the shirt tucked in or untucked.  Other factors such as how high you wear your pants, the size of the belly, and the required number of buttons on the front should also be considered.

How long should should a tucked in shirt be?

A tucked-in shirt should come to the bottom of the butt or slightly below. Generally speaking, the longer a shirt, the more securely it will tuck into the pants, and the straighter it will stay aligned at the front.

A tucked-in shirt length hitting at the bottom of the butt—a good length.

How long should an untucked shirt be?

If you plan to wear your shirt primarily casually untucked, you will likely want a slightly shorter shirt length.  But take care not to go too short!  This is a very common mistake.  A good rule of thumb is that an untucked shirt should come to the center/bottom of the butt.  Another good rule of thumb is that the front bottom shirt tail should just barely align with the ends of your sleeves when you stand up straight.  However, everyone is shaped differently so these rules don’t always work out.  When in doubt, measure the shirt length of a shirt that has an untucked length you like.

Untucked shirt length hitting at about the center of the butt.

How the shirt length measurement works

The shirt length is measured from the center of the back of the collar to the bottom of the back shirttail.  Adjusting this measurement will raise or lower the entire bottom of the shirt.  Note that the sides of the shirt curve up 2” from the center bottom of the shirt, so decreasing the length of the shirt will also raise the sides of the shirt the same amount.

Converting from dress shirt to casual shirt

Many guys opt to make the shirts they wear untucked a bit shorter than shirts they always tuck in.  In our experience, an untucked shirt’s shirt length should be around 1.5 – 2.5” shorter than an always-tucked shirt.

If you have a large belly

Men with significant stomachs will want to opt for more shirt length since the shirt needs to go over the belly and still tuck into the front of the pants.

Number of buttons on shirt front

The length of the shirt will affect the number of buttons depends on the front according to the following logic:

-Shirt length = 26 to 27 inch shirt length has 6 buttons

-Shirt length = 27.25 to 30 inch shirt length has 7 buttons

-Shirt length = 30.25 to 33.5 inch shirt length has 8 buttons

-Shirt length = 33.75 to 37 inch shirt length has 9 buttons

-Shirt length = 37.25 to 39 inch shirt length has 10 buttons

The number of buttons on the front of the shirt will include the collar button and will also take into account your Top Button Placement preference to ensure optimal button spacing.

The buttons on the front placket of a dress shirt.