How It Should Fit: The Chest of a Men's Shirt
Topper’s take on the sometimes tricky issue of a shirt that fits properly in the chest is as simple as it is helpful: “Don’t beat your chest over this. Recognize your true proportions and celebrate them in fine fashion that fits. Don’t put a barrel in a thimble. And remember that your chest is not the only measurement that will need to be taken into account to transform an ordinary shirt into an experience.” Quite.
Topper is entirely correct. When shopping for shirts that fit just right, there are a lot of details that many men typically overlook: cuffs, arm opening sizes and nuanced differences in collar styles, for example, don’t receive a lot of attention - even though they can dramatically alter how the shirt looks when it’s put on. The fit of a shirt in the chest, however, is one of the few measurements that men often do pay attention to. So much so, in fact, that it’s common for customers to believe that a shirt’s fit starts and ends with the chest measurement.
Yet, despite this general awareness, we still see gentlemen who sport the classic signs of a poorly fitting shirt in the chest. If you notice any of the problems described below looking back at you in the mirror, don’t stress. Relax and know that Westport Big & Tall carefully tailors exclusive shirts and chooses all your favorite brands to make sure you avoid the following sad scenarios:
Help Me Topper: Whether my collar is open or closed, the second button is pulling in all directions – stressed and quite visibly holding it all together. The material around it creates a spider web of fabric, bunching around the center of the chest.
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: Look at what you’re doing to the second button on your shirt and vow to give it some relief! (Before the strain inevitably proves irresistible.)
If you’re trying for a more athletic fit, that’s usually better achieved further down the shirt, through the torso and waist. You might look for a different brand with a sportier fit, instead of buying sizes down.
Help Me Topper: Excess shirt material is bunching up at the belt, spilling out and making the belt line look like it’s pinching my entire look in the middle zone.
Topper’s Diagnosis: The chest dimensions are a shade too long, causing a ‘frock effect’ of extra fabric on either side of the torso to collect.
Topper’s Top Tip: Don’t buy bigger shirts just for their length; make sure they truly fit in the chest. (Helpful hint: we often see tall men who are shopping in regular size departments and buying regular extended sizes (such as XL, XXL,XXXL) make this mistake. What they should be doing is looking for a true fitting size along the lines of LT, XLT, 2XLT, 3XLT, 4XLT instead.
Help Me Topper: My shirt ‘sticks’ around the belly and below the pectorals, despite a good fit in the upper chest and near the waistline.
Topper’s Diagnosis: Your shirt likely has a classical, athletic cut that is meant to be extra slim in the middle, but it’s been put on a modern American man who, respectfully, may not possess quite the physique of a catalog model.
Topper’s Top Tip: If you intend to achieve the ‘slim’ or ‘athletic’ look, it can be achieved in sizes that fit rather than letting your shirt be glued to your abdomen. If you’re going for a more conventional contour, be aware of the character of the brands you look at when you shop. Some will trend more to the classic look while others will embrace a more modern cut. As always, the choice is yours. But it pays to know what you’re looking for and what you’re looking at. That way, your final choice will be informed.