How It Should Fit: The Arms of a Men's Shirt


Arm Yourself With The Right Fit!

Topper says: “On any men’s shirt, a few inches around the arm makes a big difference. Yet, few men consider how it affects their appearance. In fact, thinking about fashion in the nineties, the arm hole may have defined the look of a decade. Distinctive? Certainly. Durable? Every man has his own view of what makes good taste.”

Topper may be a little sniffy about the arm hole dimensions of 20 years ago (can it really be that long already!) but it’s true that more modest standards have become fashionable. Topper would argue that many men buying big and tall shirts are stuck in the past.

We wouldn’t like to comment. But we can say objectively that some gentlemen are unnecessarily sacrificing a larger fit for more length in a shirt. Others can’t find their true, right size and end up with enlarged shirts to achieve what they perceive as a roomier look.

There are a few things that can go wrong with arm hole size. But “The Bat Wing” is one of the most common problems for men who are big, tall or both.

“The Bat Wing”

Help Me Topper: Holding out an arm, an excess of fabric spreads between the abdomen and the arm around the armpit. When my arms are down, the seam in the armpit hangs far below the arm.

Topper’s Diagnosis: The measurement at the top of the chest is a tad too small, or your superhero alter-ego is trying to escape. (Unfortunately, we know from experience a tight fit in the chest is the more likely of the two.)

Topper’s Top Tips: This is definitely one of those failings that can’t be rearranged or fixed on the offending garment, so it’s best to move on. (Helpful hint: Westport Big & Tall will always make sure you can find your true size, and the fashionable brands and designers we feature will keep you up to date - whatever decade we happen to be in - and looking great.)

“The Cold Shoulder”

Help Me Topper: Fabric just past the shoulder seam clings to the arm, making the shoulder very noticeable and uncomfortable.

Topper’s Diagnosis: This less common problem is caused by narrow arm holes that restrict movement.

Topper’s Top Tip: Radical action is called for here. Do whatever you do when you get rid of a shirt: sell it, donate it or throw it away (but only if all else fails). Unfortunately, there’s no practical way to repair it. (Helpful hint: instead, find your real size with just a few measurements, with our big and tall size chart and shop assured that you’ll find what fits at Westport Big & Tall.)

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