How to Measure a Dress Shirt

Measuring a dress shirt that fits you well is an excellent way to get started creating your first custom dress shirt size.  The following explanations and videos will clearly explain how to measure a dress shirt.  Before you get started though, consider the following two links:

  1. If you want to follow these instructions and enter your dress shirt measurements into your Proper Cloth account while you go, you can do that here.
  2. If you prefer to have us measure your dress shirt for you and save a size on your profile, click here for directions on how to mail us a dress shirt to be measured.

Proper Cloth Accounts for Shrinkage Automatically

If you’re creating a size by measuring a shirt according to the instructions below, do not worry about adjusting for shrinkage. Proper Cloth will account for shrinkage automatically when producing your custom dress shirt. Every custom shirt fabric offered is tested for its specific shrinkage properties based on our recommended method of laundering: cold water wash and air drying.

While we do our best to sew each garment precisely to its specification every time, hand sewing and different fabric types naturally result in small variations. Click here for more information about our sewing tolerances for custom shirts.

Collar Around

Unbutton the shirt and spread it out on its back. Place one end of the measuring tape at the center of the button where the button stitching comes through to the inside of the collar band. Pull the collar tight so that any curve to the collar band becomes straight. Measure straight across the collar band to the far edge of the button hole. Round to the nearest .25 inch. Do not add extra to account for shrinkage, we will do that for you.*

*Shrinkage Allowance:

By default, we add a standard 0.625” to the Collar Around dimension for shrinkage.

Learn more about how to measure a dress shirt collar, ‘extra’ shrinkage adjustments, and construction accuracy here.

Sleeve Length

With the shirt front and cuffs buttoned, lay the shirt down and spread it out on its front. Pull the sleeve away from the shirt body. Do not stretch the sleeve, but be sure it is fully extended and laying flat.
Place one end of the measuring tape at the center of the back of the collar, just below the collar band. Run the measuring tape from the center back below the collar to the edge of the yoke seam. Next, hold the tape down at the yoke seam and pivot slightly to align the measuring tape down the length of the sleeve to the end of the cuff. Do not add extra to account for shrinkage. We will do that for you.*

*Shrinkage Allowance:

By default, we add a standard 0.5” to the Sleeve Length dimension for shrinkage.

Learn more about how to measure a dress shirt’s sleeve length, ‘extra’ shrinkage adjustments, and construction accuracy here.

Shoulder/Yoke Width

Button up the shirt and spread the shirt out on its front. Measure from the point where the yoke meets the sleeve, straight across, to the same point on the other side. When taking this measurement, pull the two ends of the yoke tight but don’t stretch it.

Learn more about how to measure a shirt’s yoke width, ‘extra’ shrinkage adjustments, and construction accuracy here.

Chest Width

Spread the shirt out on its back. Be careful to fully spread out any wrinkles or folds that might hide underneath. If the shirt has rear pleats, this will be especially important. Put one end of the measuring tape at the bottom of the armpit of the shirt and measure straight across to the bottom of the other armpit.

Shrinkage Allowance:

By default, we add a standard 0.5” to the Chest Width dimension.

Learn more about how to measure a shirt’s chest width, ‘extra’ shrinkage adjustments, and construction accuracy here.

Midsection Width

Spread the shirt out on its back such that there are no wrinkles or folds underneath. Find the narrowest part of the shirt’s body. This is probably about halfway between the armpits and the bottom of the shirt. Measure the width of the shirt at this point. This is not necessarily where the side seams are.

Shrinkage Allowance:

By default, we add a standard 0.5” to the Midsection Width dimension.

Learn more about how to measure a shirt’s midsection width, ‘extra’ shrinkage adjustments, and construction accuracy here.

Sleeve Width

Lay the shirt on its back. Spread the shirt sleeve out flat such that the seam along the bottom of the sleeve is where the sleeve is folded. Place one end of the measuring tape on the bottom edge of the sleeve, an inch from the armpit. Measure up to the top of the sleeve such that the measuring tape is perpendicular to the top folded edge of the sleeve. Do not stretch the sleeve but be sure it is spread out flat.

Learn more about how to measure a shirt’s sleeve width, ‘extra’ shrinkage adjustments, and construction accuracy here.

Cuff Around

Spread the cuff out flat and measure from the center of the button to the outside edge of the button hole.

Learn more about how to measure a dress shirt’s cuff, ‘extra’ shrinkage adjustments, and construction accuracy here.

Shirt Back Length

With the shirt spread out on its front, measure from the base of the back of the collar straight down to the center of the very bottom of the dress shirt. Do not stretch the shirt, but be sure it is lying flat and fully extended.
*Note: The number of buttons depends on the shirt length and the top button placement. Keeping the top button placement standard, a 26 to 27 inch shirt length has 6 buttons, 27.5 to 30 inch shirt length has 7 buttons, 30.5 to 33.5 inch shirt length has 8 buttons, 34 to 37 inch shirt length has 9 buttons, and and 37.5 to 38 inch shirt length has 10 buttons.

Learn more about how to measure a shirt’s back length, ‘extra’ shrinkage adjustments, and construction accuracy here.