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How should formal shirt collar fit

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by ElPrincipe, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. ElPrincipe

    ElPrincipe Active Member

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    Hi guys

    Just wondering what is the right fit for a formal shirt collar. I've been wearing 15 1/2 inch shirts but recently measured my neck with a tape measure and when pulled completely taught it measures in at 14 1/2 inch. I think a shop clerk had taken the same measurement a while ago, and I had bought some 15 inch collar shirts but those particular ones felt overly tight (literally strangling), and were really uncomfortable on the neck. I wasn't sure whether that was just because those were really cheap, low quality ones (basically bought because I needed something immediately), I later went and bought some better ones from another store at 15 1/2 inch and they seem to fit comfortably.

    However I'm just worried I'm wearing a shirt collar with too much room. I've read about the '2 finger rule' and I can fit two fingers in at the front of the collar (in front of the adam's apple) without leaving any room at a stretch, and it's about the same when trying at the side of the collar/neck. So it seems to pass that test. Is it normal to wear a shirt a full inch above your neck measurement ? I did read that you usually take measurement, and go half an inch up.

    I ask because I have just ordered in some more shirts and am trying to build a better wardrobe of smart clothing, including better quality, better fitting shirts. The ones I currently have in 15 1/5 inch do seem to fit comfortably and the sleeve lengths are right, but aside from the neck I'd say they are a bit baggy with a bit too much material overall (I know a lot of shirts are like that) - not really a flattering look, I bought these mainly to wear under a suit jacket. I don't know if that is something that could be solved by going back down to a 15 inch, and hoping a better quality shirt will fit more comfortably. However I did order all these new ones in at 15 1/2 (yet to be collected), though half of them are slim fit - I was anticipating that this might give a nicer, closer fit overall (in both neck and body) and thus provide a fit close to what might be something between 15 and 15 1/2.

    Judging from size guides it seems as though 15 inch shirts are designed to fit a 38 inch chest roundabouts, and 15 1/2 a 40. I'd say my actual chest measurement is probably around a 38/39, but I do wear a suit jacket in 40 regular (regular fit and length). I had bought the jacket in the slim fit initially (40, slim) but exchanged for a more comfortable feeling regular, which does fit quite nicely (I am quite tall, 6'1" at 182lbs) - I have quite broad shoulders/back and so the slim was too tight in that area. So I guess 15 1/2 does correlate to my actual jacket size.

    I guess the best thing is waiting and seeing how the new purchases fit, but if anyone has any comments that would be very helpful! Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  2. jeff13007

    jeff13007 Well-Known Member

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    The two finger rule is for dog collars. A basic rule of thumb is it should fit a bit snug but you should be able to turn your head without the collar moving. Why don't you post some pictures and we can see if the 15 1/2 leaves too big of a gap.
     
  3. ElPrincipe

    ElPrincipe Active Member

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    I take this to mean that the 'two finger rule' provides a collar too loose? I will do. I'll see if I see have my 15 as well for comparison.
     
  4. ElPrincipe

    ElPrincipe Active Member

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    EDIT: Post with messed up image linking, ignore.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
  5. ElPrincipe

    ElPrincipe Active Member

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    I posted several images but they haven't appeared, it said the post would have to wait for moderation but that was some time ago. Here's one image, and I can post the rest later if I am able.

    I think the collar actually looks fine having photographed it, which makes me wonder whether it is normal to go a full inch above the measured size.

    Note to moderator: please suppress the other post if you haven't already, I had posted several images but I don't think they would have come out correctly (I was trying to use , this way is better.

    EDIT: I tried posting some more in a second post, but it appears that has gone for moderation too - hopefully that will go through, it is only the first one that I would like to be moderated out. I have added one more in this post.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
  6. ElPrincipe

    ElPrincipe Active Member

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  7. aravenel

    aravenel Well-Known Member

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    That looks a little loose to me. Size down half an inch.
     
  8. ElPrincipe

    ElPrincipe Active Member

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    Ah... are you sure? Not to be contrary now that people are offering opinions! I was just encouraged when I saw the pictures myself, since I thought they looked okay. There are more available to see now which have passed moderation.


    [​IMG]
    As I say the other 15 I had choked me, but that might just have been that brand (I suppose it differs). I'm picking up a bunch of shirts I ordered tomorrow, some are regular fit and some are slim but they're all 15 1/2. Could anyone comment on how slims usually fit? I guess I'll find out tomorrow but in the reviews I had read on the shop website people sometimes advised to go up a size (half an inch) for slim fit, so 15 might truly be too small.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
  9. aravenel

    aravenel Well-Known Member

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    The new photos look better. I'd say thats fine. It may be a smidge loose, but if the next size down is too tight, then that's fine.
     
  10. Johnboy

    Johnboy Well-Known Member

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    Looking at this shirt, it seems to be pulling from the inner shoulder to under the arms across the pecs on the front of the shirt, and across the deltoids on the sleeves of the shirt, so the shirt body is a little small for you. I think the collar is okay but could be a little smaller.
    So...
    If these are off the rack OTR shirts then they are okay and maybe you should go for a 16 for the body size for comfort, but if you are having them made, I would say you need a 16 body and a 15 neck. Usually when the collar feels tight, it is because you are not used to wearing it and your neck is sensitive. After a couple of weeks it will feel quite normal to you even to wear it tight, because that will be what you are used to.
    Hope this helps..

    edit: if you say it is 15 then it should actually measure 15 from button hole to middle of collar button, if the manufacturer is making the shirts 14 and calling them 15, that would not help anyone. So check them properly.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
  11. ElPrincipe

    ElPrincipe Active Member

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    Thanks for the reply guys, its obviously a rookie question, so thanks for taking time to respond. I noticed the lines too, but you think this is due to the shirt being too small in the body? I felt as though these shirts are kinda baggy, and therefore a 'slim fit' would solve the issue of there being too much material creating lines. I could always upload pictures of the new items, I am able to return if things don't fit well, though they have a sale on currently so I'd have to try and do it quickly and remake another order :p

    This is a picture with a suit jacket and tie (okay normally I don't tie a tie that long but was kinda rushing to take pictures n everything :p). Sleeve looks okay on left arm but seems to be sticking out a bit too much on right... (and I know this thread isn't about suits but I'd say in this pic my jacket looks a little generous but as I say I swapped out the slim fit for regular as the shoulders fit much more comfortably, but could probably tailor the waist in a tad - this is all just entry level really)
    .
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
  12. Ivar

    Ivar Well-Known Member

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    As has been said, the common rule of thumb is that one should be able to squeeze in two fingers between the neck and the collar band. Personally, I prefer a sligthly looser fit, allowing me to squeeze in about four fingers. It might not look "optimal," but this is one of those instances where comfort takes precedence over looks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  13. RDiaz

    RDiaz Well-Known Member

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    I'd say this is fine, it is loose enough to be comfortable but when you stand straight there is no visible gap between neck and collar.

    The diagonal drags seem to be caused by your shoulder slope and forward pitch being different from the shirt's, not chest width. Rather common with OTR shirts.

    Ivar, I'd rather wear my collars unbuttoned for comfort (even with a tie) than wear a buttoned collar where I can slip four fingers. That's going to make you look like you've lost weight and your shirts no longer fit [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  14. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Well-Known Member

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    was the shirt washed?
    remember you will lose about 1/2" of shrinkage after several washes
     
  15. Ivar

    Ivar Well-Known Member

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    Your scepticism is understandable. I'll be starting to post fit pics in a couple of weeks, so then you'll see that it actually looks quite fine. :satisfied:
     
  16. aravenel

    aravenel Well-Known Member

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    Gotta say, I'm skeptical as well. Happy to be proven wrong though.
     
  17. Ivar

    Ivar Well-Known Member

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    We shall see. :cheers:
     
  18. ElPrincipe

    ElPrincipe Active Member

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    Hey, this is a great thing to take into consideration. Having just picked up a bunch of the new shirts today (all 15 1/2, some regular and others slim fit) it seems as though the collars are a tad roomier, despite being the same brand! I have washed the other, but only a couple of times I think. This makes me wonder whether the collar will fit a bit better after a couple of washes (which might also help get out the 'warped' shape from being in packaging and thus sit on the neck better).

    I think the slim fits fit very well in the body and I don't see any problems with the lines as on the other shirt (these are also anti-wrinkle, non-iron). However the collar issue seems to persist. As for the regular fits, they are simply too baggy in the body as well as having a similarly large collar. I will take pictures of some of the slims, though I am pretty resolved on returning the regulars so I might not do so for those.

    However it makes me wonder whether it would actually be a good idea to drop to 15 in regular which might make the body fit better (getting rid of excess material and thus lines) and a closer collar fit. I was thinking of purchasing some of the slims in 15 to try on and simply return whichever does not fit as well, but I worry the body will then fit too tightly. Bearing in mind that dropping a size down will also mean half an inch off the sleeves, which might mean they don't show when wearing a suit jacket.

    Cheers guys!

    As for the 4 finger collar, it'd be interesting to see how that one fits !
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013

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