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The Difference Between Slim Fit vs. Modern Fit Dress Shirts


Choosing the right fit for a dress shirt is crucial to one’s self-image. We’ve all heard the old adage, “look good, feel good”, but how does that translate to personal style?

As long as YOU are content with the way you look, confidence won’t be far behind. But it’s a bit harder to get into stores and try on clothes these days. So, what’s the alternative? Buy before you try and pray for the best outcome?

We’ve already discussed how to take your measurements for a great fit, so let’s dive into the different types of dress shirts that can be bought off-the-rack, what they mean, and how you can put these concepts into action and get what you want without a myriad of trials and errors.

Classic Fit

Classic fit dress shirts use a fairly standardized size chart (for the US) that runs from Small to XX-Large. There are discrepancies depending on where you shop, but the deviation is usually +/- an inch. Always check the vendor’s size chart when pursuing a new brand because a medium at Company X may be a bit different than a medium at Company Y. The key to the classic fit is a relaxed look without looking sloppy. It is meant to allow for more room in the chest and shoulders – roughly an inch – while keeping the traditional arm hole and sleeve length in play. 

Modern Fit

The modern fit dress shirt conforms a bit closer to the body than the classic. The changes are most evident in the sleeves, shoulders, chest, and waist. The sleeves and shoulders are pulled in between .5” & 1” tighter so that the fabric flows, but it does so just off the body. If you see the modern fit tag on a size medium shirt you’re interested in, expect a .5” to 1” difference from what you’re currently used to. Do the same for chest measurements. The waist can be anywhere from 1” to 2” closer.

Slim Fit

The slim fit dress shirt is far more contouring than the modern fit in that it removes even more room between the fabric and your body. Roughly .5” is taken off the circumference of the bicep and chest measurements.  An additional 2 inches come off of the waist, leaving you with a strait-laced tuck that doesn’t bunch or bag over the top of your pants. In either case – modern or slim fit – the neck, sleeve length, and shirt length should remain unchanged.

Keep in mind that these are standardized measurements, but not all bodies are created equally. Some of us are taller, others more athletically built. These are all factors you need to take into account when looking into the fit of your garments. But hopefully, armed with the knowledge imparted above, you have a better idea of what you’re getting into – and the designations being used to classify style and fit – when shopping for dress shirts online.

At Original Stitch, we offer a fully customizable collection (yes, even the collar type!) of premium quality shirts. Customers can create a shirt completely unique to them. 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.