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Baggy Dress Shirts

Written by admin, Sunday, December 26th, 2010 in Q&As

I am fairly short, and I have a fairly large upper body. I have a well defined chest, shoulders, and arms, I’m not fat, and I have a fairly skinny waist. Whenever I try to buy dress shirts, since they are cut for “skinnyfat” people, they tend to bunch up and poof out in the back/front near my stomach, making me look like I have a 36 inch waist rather than a 29 inch waist. What brands/cuts of shirts would remedy this?

Also, when I try to buy pants/jeans I find that most tend to be wide at the waist and narrow in the crotch/thighs. Any advice there either?

You’re nowhere near alone with this problem — I, and many of my athletic friends, have the exact problem you’re describing. Here’s how to deal with it.

First off, what you’re experiencing is exactly what you describe — shirts are tailored to be more straight and boxy, meaning that the manufacturers essentially presume your chest and shoulders are very proportional to your waist. This applies to most skinnyfat guys, which comprise a high percentage of the male population and thus makes such cuts a safe bet. For the rest of us, you have to buy well-fitted shirts or tailor.

As for brands, there are virtually no brands that sell drastically tapered shirts like you’ll probably need. While stores like Brooks Brothers and J.Crew (which are known for their shirting in some circles) sell “slim fit” and even “extra slim fit” shirts, these usually only make the rectangle more narrow, thus making the shoulders narrow as well, and not fixing your problem. Getting undersized shirts that stretch (like undersizing a lycra/spandex shirt from Express) won’t work for you because the buttons will look strained and atrocious.

Here’s the answer: tailor your shirts. A tailor will charge about $5-15 per shirt, which is pricy, but 100% worth it. With any shirt you own that fits poorly in the waist, ask the tailor to narrow the waist as close as possible to your body where it will still be comfortable — an inch of free material will probably be the most you want to leave. If you really want to tailor the shirt down, have the tailor also slim the arms as well, which will make the arms of the shirt less baggy and huge. Depending on the tailor and the degree of fit, some form of darting may be necessary — find a good one and they’ll know what you need to do.

I know it’s kind of a bummer to not be able to buy shirts off-the-rack, but in this way you can buy pretty much anything that fits your shoulders/chest and just tailor it to fit you nicely. Good luck!

Edit: As for the pants, look for pants with a tapered fit like Levis 514s — you need a type of leg where the thigh is decidedly wider than the calves and where the thighs are made to accommodate in comparison to the waist. Look for descriptions like “tapered” or “slim straight”.

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One Response to Baggy Dress Shirts

  1. Suber says:

    And here I tried everything to try and fix the problem, from pinching the back and front to the sides to taper the shirt but still leaving the sides looking puffy. For a 44 inch shoulder width to a 33 inch waist, I guess I really do need to find a good tailor.

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