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Dress shirts for guy with HUGE neck

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Greetings -- I've seen quite a bit of useful info here, and thought I'd see if anyone at SF had any suggestions for my situation.

Here is my problem:

I need to wear a coat and tie most days for my work. My problem is that I have a huge neck, vastly complicating the process of finding a shirt that works. I'm not a small guy, heck, I admit I'm fat, but the neck is truly disproportionate:

19.5" neck
46 chest
40 waist

Note that a regular 19.5" shirt has something like a 56"+ waist -- "tent" is the appropriate word for how it fits me.

It actually gets even worse when I've been at lower weights -- some years ago I had a 34 inch waist but still had an 18" neck at that size (i.e., shirts still were giant tents). Shoulders are pretty broad too (but not proportionate to the neck).

So, I need a shirt in a 19.5" neck, BUT, which is basically a "super-slim fit" shape. I haven't had any luck finding such an animal, and not even much luck going custom.

A Brooks Bros. 17.5" slim-fit shirt fits my body reasonably well, but of course I can't come close to buttoning the collar. I like their shirts, but, they don't make above 18.0" and a special order "Select" Brooks 19.5 slim fit would still be quite large in the waist.

After one or two iterations, I have a Lands End Custom profile that fits reasonably well, but I'm not impressed with their workmanship or their fabrics, and their selection of fabrics has shrunk to almost nothing (I wonder if they are getting set to ax the program).

Nordstrom sometimes has 19.5 in their "tailored fit" but not in many options and their fit is still pretty large on me, and relative to Brooks it's looser in the stomach and tighter in the chest/shoulders, opposite of what I need.

There's alterations, but I've had so-so results having shirts taken in that drastically.

If I only needed a dress shirt for special occaisions, I could spend $300 each for a couple of shirts. But, I have to wear a tie every day, and can't afford a whole wardrobe of $300 shirts. $100 is more like it, and even that would be pushing it for a full closet of shirts.

If anyone has any brilliant suggestions of other brands I should try, or custom-make programs I should look into, I could really use the help.

post #2 of 17
There's at least 4 or 5 MTM shirtmakers that are discussed on this forum every day. Everyone has their own experience and opinion, but it sounds like MTM is the way to go for you.

What do you particularly dislike about the shirts after having them altered?
post #3 of 17
post #4 of 17
Have you tried Tyrwhitt? Also, can you purchase 19.5 shirts and have them taken in by your tailor?
post #5 of 17
I will second Charles Trywhitt. From what I have read it seems that some people here like the shirt, some dont. Personally I own a couple and find that for $ 50 I can get a above average quality shirt that PERSONALLY fits me very well (slim fit). They are pretty much always 2 for $ 99 and they have quite a selection in all sizes and you can have shirts altered, pockets or none
post #6 of 17
A number of folks with "custom" programs will allow customers to put a smaller "body" with a larger neck (Talbott does this, for instance, although most shirts from them would be closer to $200 per; the manufacturer of classic OCBDs - name escapes me - also does that I believe). Short of that, I'd go with MTM online / in-person (and would be happy to give recs), or, if you are in a city that WW Chan visits, I would give them a hearty rec. I had shirts made by them for a while now and find them excellent value for money.
post #7 of 17
just browse the MTM threads here and soon you will have more online options than you will know what to do with. or if you prefer the comfort of a brick-and-mortar, i have had great success with the Brooks Brothers MTM program. wait till they do one of their 5 shirts for price of 4 promos, and the cost is not bad at all...
post #8 of 17
Hemrajani Brothers ( visit more U.S. cities and more frequently than Chan and quite a few forumites like their services, especially for shirtmaking. (I have the sense that Chan, whom I use, may well be superior for tailored menswear.) I think Hemrajani has a good assortment of shirting options in the $100-$125 range. Last time I looked at Chan's shirtings (a year ago), there wasn't much if anything for less than $150.
post #9 of 17
you just gotta go asian bespoke, you will never go back.
post #10 of 17
you can't really rduce a 19.5 shirt to fit properly arm holes and yoke measurements are too large.

you have two choices.
Have shirts made for you
buy 2 shirts in the same fabric
the first in 19.5 to fit your neck
the second in the 17.5 for your body.
have a tailor remove the larger collar and place it on the smaller shirt.
If you like the look of a white collar, you can again, buy smaller size shirt and have a white collar made for the smaller shirt.

post #11 of 17
Originally Posted by Shirtmaven View Post
If you like the look of a white collar, you can again, buy smaller size shirt and have a white collar made for the smaller shirt.

Now that's a great idea. I've got an 18"+ neck and 34" waist right now, so this could come in very handy. Thank you.
post #12 of 17
Your best option is to go custom. Reducing a shirt with a 19.5 collar will take too much time, money, and probably won't be worth the fit that you end up with.

You should check out our custom dress shirts at We offer easy online ordering, free shipping, guaranteed fit, and easy returns and exchanges--all for just $89.99 (cheaper than what you will pay to buy a nice shirt and alter). You can design your own shirt or choose from our best selling shirts--and we will make to your measurements.

post #13 of 17
+1 to custom. I only wear shirts from Chan and Jantzen now, and my stats are similar to yours. 18.5 neck, 45 chest, 39 waist.
post #14 of 17
MTM would be best
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. On the MTM front, I probably do need to give that another shot -- and just accept that I have to spend more like $100/shirt than the $50/shirt I'd like and could do if I could wear OTR. Lands End actually has worked reasonably well on sizing -- the first shirt from them needed moderate tweaks but was ok, and after one more I've been dialed in OK. But their fabrics are pretty coarse, workmanship nothing great, and about all they have in patterns these days are weird plaids. I tried a shirt from last year and it was a disaster. Horrible, strange fit. Shoulders and arm holes too small, and just shaped funny (seemed like it was meant for a guy with steeply sloped shoulders), upper arm too toight, sleeve length not right, and fabric color fairly different from the on-screen appearance. I know I'm not a total idiot with measurements as I got the Lands End ok, had myself measured by my local alterations person, and then measured again for a tux rental recently with numbers that looked the same. I also did a Mens Wearhouse MTM shirt a while back, measured in store. Not as great a fit as I'd expected for in-store measurements but ok, but, it was the most wrinkle-prone thin papery fabric ever, very unpleasant (and not cheap) So I guess I've hesisated on more MTM since I've had only so-so experiences with it. I could probably do a Brooks "Select" special-order slim-fit and have it work with alterations (it would be a lot closer to correct than a 19.5 regular), but at that point it'd be like a $160 shirt so MTM would be a better deal if it works. Sounds like I should give a shot, especially if I wait until Joe is in my area in October and I get measured / view swatches in person.
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