Athletic Fit Dress Shirts

Finding Brands Who Designed with Your Athletic Physique in Mind

I'm guessing you're here to solve a problem: you want to look great  in the office, and that means dress shirts. But the off-the-rack shirts you've tried weren't designed to fit your athletic physique. Some fit fine through the chest, but are way too baggy at the waist, leaving you with "muffin top." Others fit your trim waist, but are uncomfortably tight through the chest. You've thought about made-to-measure, but you'd rather find something more affordable and convenient.

Find Your Athletic Fit Dress Shirts in Seconds

Do you already know your height, weight, collar size, and chest measurement/jacket size? Try a free service that searches over 1,000 sizes from 17 top brands in seconds. A personalized assortment that fits the way you want, available online today. With no styling fees, no markups from brand’s website pricing, and no subscriptions. Click here.

Need video instructions to learn your collar size and chest measurement? Click here.

A Longer Discussion of Why You're Having This Problem, and How to Solve It.

Turns out men come in all shapes and sizes, but brands design for the average to drive production volumes. Most of them use the following rules:

  1. Decide which collar sizes to offer. Most dress shirt brands start with 14.5" and work their way up to 18", with some going over 20"
  2. For each collar size, make a guess of the most likely chest measurement for guys with that collar size.
  3. Add enough extra fabric at the chest for comfortable movement: For Regular Fit (comfortably roomy): +5-6”. For Trim Fit (currently the most popular): + 4-5”. For Extra-trim fit (may restrict movement a bit): + 3-4”
  4. Decide how much to taper from chest to shirtwaist, around your belly button. In the trade they call this the "drop."

If you think this is easy, here's a "heat map" of the actual chest and waist measurements of guys with 15.5" necks. (The number in each cell is an estimate of the number of guys in the US with these measurements.)

Athletic Fit Dress Shirts need to fit actual guys
Chest and Waist of guys with 15.5" collar size

Lots of variety!

The "hottest" spot on the map is 40" chest and 35" waist, so this might be a logical place to start. If a brand designed with only these guys in mind and chose a 5" drop, the shirt would be a bit too loose for guys with 33-34" waists, but they could still wear it. Unfortunately, it would be uncomfortably tight for guys with 36-39." What do most brands do? They take a "big tent" approach to include the wider guys, assuming the leaner guys will put up with baggy shirts. Here the same heat map for shirts with 15.5" collar size.

Athletic fit dress shirts and other options
Chest and Waist  of shirts with 15.5" collar size

Let's assume you're a guy with a 15.5" collar, 40" chest, and 35" waist, and you want a Trim Fit shirt. Adding the required 4-5" of ease, you're looking for a shirt with a 44-45" chest and 39-40" chest. You will have a number of good options to chose from

A Word for the Really Athletic

Some guys will have more of a challenge: they have a 15.5" collar, but have been pumping a lot of iron. They have built up to a 44" chest, and slimmed down to a 34" waist. For a Trim fit, they're looking for a shirt with 48-49" chest and 38-39" waist. On the chart they find...white space. It turns out that really athletic guys are so rare that stores can't afford do hold inventory for them. It's just too unlikely that one of them would walk through the door. They've got two options:

  1. Buy their best-fitting off-the-rack, and pay a tailor ~$20 to take in the waist.
  2. Find a made-to-measure brand like Proper Cloth and pay premium price for premium fit.

Top Athletic Fit Dress Shirt Brands

Of the brands we're analyzed, 70% design with 3.5" of drop or less: too baggy for an Athletic fit. Fortunately, a select few brands designed for guys in better shape. These brands offer multiple sleeve lengths to fit your arms, and collar sizes to the nearest 1/2" so your neck will be comfortable on days where you need to wear a tie. Here are some examples, each for shirts with 15.5" collar size.

Chest  Waist   Brand and Fit

41.0     37.0     T.M. Lewin Super Fitted

41.2     36.5     Charles Tyrwhitt Super Slim Fit

41.5     38.5     Charles Tyrwhitt Extra Slim Fit

42.5     37.5     Calvin Klein Extra-Slim Fit

43.0     39.0     Nordstrom Men's Shop Extra Trim Fit

43.5     38.5     T.M. Lewin Fitted

44.0     41.0     Charles Tyrwhitt Slim Fit

44.5     40.8     Boss Sharp Fit

45.0     40.0     Nordstrom Men's Shop Trim Fit

45.0     40.0     T.M. Lewin Slim Fit

45.5     41.0     Paul Fredrick Slim Fit

45.6     41.8     Buttoned Down Tailored Fit

46.0    42.0     Jos. A. Bank Tailored

If you want to see the chest and waist for other collar sizes, click on the brand link to see their sizing chart.

You may also want to consider brands that offer the same Small/Medium/Large + Tall sizing you'd find at Banana Republic, J. Crew, and Uniqlo but tailored for Athletic guys. The challenge: if one of their 3-8 options doesn't fit your neck and sleeve, you're out of luck. Some examples: Hugh & Crye, Mizzen & Main, Ministry of Supply, and State & Liberty

If you think searching through sizing chart pages is a job for a machine, not a busy guy who hates shopping...

Athletic Fit Dress Shirts: the easy way

If you know your basic measurements, there's a dramatically better way to go. A service that searches over 1,000 sizes from 17 top brands in seconds. A personalized assortment that fits the way you want, available online today. With no styling fees, no markups from brand’s website pricing, and no subscriptions.

If you'd like to try but need video instructions to learn your collar size and chest measurement, click here.

Want to see your best options that fit your body and your budget, in the next 60 seconds? Try a free Personalized Wardrobe Search from The Wardrobe Essentialist

Free search for Athletic Fit dress shirts designed with you in mind
Mark Hill

My name is Mark, and I’m the Founder & CEO of The Wardrobe Essentialist. I've spent my career in business and business casual offices, initially at Bain & Co in Boston and San Francisco, and then as a Business Unit General Manager at global Fortune 500 companies.

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