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Everything to Know about a Modern Fit Dress Shirt


When buying a dress shirt online it is imperative to know the cut you’re getting. A size medium classic fit shirt is going to wear differently than a size medium modern fit one. Knowing this is going to be the difference between looking like a well put together adult versus looking like the kid who raided your dad’s closet. That’s because the fit of your dress shirts adhere to a hierarchy. The four main types are classic fit, modern fit, slim fit, and extra slim fit. This is not arbitrary placement. Each of the four main types are cut closer to the body the further you get from classic fits. By this logic, it stands to reason that classic fit dress shirts are the most common cut and are made to be kind of a catch all despite one’s body type. Of course, there are right and wrong ways to wear a classic fit dress shirt, but we will discuss this later. Let’s start by identifying what a modern fit dress shirt is and how they are generally cut.

What Is A Modern Fit Dress Shirt?

A modern fit dress shirt sits between classic fit and slim fit cuts. They allow for the roomy comfort of a classic fit shirt in the chest and shoulders while incorporating the tapered appeal of slim fits through the arms and waist. Generally speaking, the modern fit dress shirt conforms a bit closer to the body. The sleeves and shoulders are pulled in between .5” & 1” so that the fabric flows without feeling billowy. The armholes are also a bit looser fitting. This makes for a nice chalice cup flair from the waist to the under arm that works very well for broad chested folks who aren’t into slim fit styles. If you see the modern fit tag on a size medium shirt you’re interested in, expect the waist to be anywhere from 1” to 2” closer.

How Should a Men’s Dress Shirt Fit?

The key thing to note with any type of dress shirt is the fit. Regardless of the shirt’s cut, there are 3 areas in which to focus if you want a quick and dirty rundown on tightening up your style. They are the collar, sleeves, and the waist. Here are the biggest culprits cultivating unkempt looks that you want to avoid.

  • Poorly sized collars. A collar that doesn’t fit is not only a pain in the neck, it straight up kills your style. Too tight and you run the risk of producing a double chin effect. Too loose and you end up looking like a bobble head on a pencil thin neck. Your collar should fit snug enough to insert a finger or two between the fabric and your skin while allowing for the fabric to snap back into place and make contact with the neck when your digits are removed.



  • Too much fabric around the midsection. Spare tires belong on cars, not dress shirt fits. This can absolutely be a byproduct of choosing the wrong size, but more often than not it comes down to the cut of your jib – er, shirt. Here is where classic fit shirts can be at a disadvantage. Because they are catch all cuts, they tend to flare closer to the hem. This means more fabric left to rustle itself out of a tuck and into a pool around your waist.



  • Sleeve length too long/short. This is one that we see often. So, how should a dress shirt sleeve fit? There are two things to consider here. The first, is the length. Your dress shirt sleeve should sit just below your wrist bone, tapering down steadily from the shoulder. The reason for this is that your suit jacket should stop at the wrist bone allowing the shirt’s cuff to peek out just so.

Check out our step-by-step video guide if you’d like to know how to measure for your perfect fit dress shirt.

How to Read Men’s Dress Shirt Sizes?

When looking at dress shirt size tags the first number refers to the neck size. The second number references to the sleeve length. The third is also a reference to the sleeve length. For example, a shirt marked “17½ 34/35” would mean the shirt’s neck size is 17 ½ inch and the sleeve is between 34 and 35 inches long.

That’s pretty much it. Hopefully this beginner’s guide has made sense of how to properly purchase a modern fit dress shirt online by demonstrating the difference in cut, how the shirt should fit, and how to read the tag size to apply your own measurements.


At Original Stitch, we offer a fully customizable collection (yes, even the collar type!) of premium quality shirts. Create one that is completely unique to YOU. Our high-quality yarns are hand-selected from and tailored in Japan to be extra resistant to wear and tear while maintaining a softer feel than regular button-up shirts. To get notified of new product launches and receive fashionable tips and tricks from our stylists sign up here.