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Smaller Dress Shirts

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Saturday, May 8th, 2010 in Q&As

I’m a small guy (5’6″ and 120lbs) and as a result it’s really hard to find clothing that fits well. Finding a decent size small is trouble enough but often they’re too baggy. What are some styles/shops/brands that has dress shirts that are cut smaller?

Unfortunately, even if you were bigger, finding good dress shirts is just a big pain. The fact of the matter is, finding a good cut in dress shirts is pretty difficult period, but hopefully I can give you some ideas.

As for companies to check out — J.Crew has Small and X-Small sizes with the X-Small having only a 32-34″ chest size. Brooks Brothers also has remarkably small sizes usually determined by the size of your neck, which means that they may be more proportional (smallest I see is 14.5 32). If you have access to a local store (or don’t mind ordering online), and you don’t mind something cheaper that won’t last as long, UNIQLO, by virtue of catering to the Japanese, has remarkably small shirts — according to their Japanese sizing chart, the chest on their “small” shirts floats around 53.5cm, or about 21 inches (but be careful, it appears to wildly vary depending on the shirt itself). Still, I can personally say that, from my experience with the Japanese UNIQLO, their sizes run small and very very slim.

Honestly, most big companies — even joints like Banana Republic — will have small sizes, especially online. Most physical stores in common locations do not carry smaller sizes just because they do not sell well — you’ll unquestionably have a better shot shopping online. When you do go shopping, look for stuff with a slim cut (it will be even more tailored in the waist) and, if possible, ensure that the neck fits as tightly as possible — many shirts are constructed proportionally to the neck size.

However, like any other guy, the best thing you can actually do is find something that remotely fits and get it tailored, or, even better, get something made by hand. It’s expensive, but probably the best option you’ll ever have — pretty much no-one fits perfectly into an off-the-rack shirt. Some tailors local to you may be able to do either for you — and either way, they’ll look the best.

In any case, good luck!

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