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Why Is Neck Size So Important In Men’s Dress Shirts?

Men’s dress shirts come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. But, there is none more mystifying than the neck size. Why does it matter? What does “16 32/33” mean? Why can’t we just use the standard small, medium, large donation for it? Well, let’s find out.

Why it Matters

Not all alterations are considered equal when it comes to getting a garment tailored. For pants that’s the crotch and inseam, for dress shirts, it’s the neck/collar followed by the sleeves. Ready to wear dress shirts are made with the intention of being fastened all the way to the neck, so the wrong size can feel too restricting if smaller than necessary or make you look ill fitted if too big. Making sure you have that particular measurement, followed by the sleeves,  when shopping at big box stores is a surefire way to make sure your fit is off to a great start. Or you could always order custom-made. Going the custom-made route allows a perfect fit every time because it is tailored to your specific measurements. We’re talking neck, sleeves, chest, waist, the whole nine.

Reading Tag Sizes

So, what does “16 32/33” mean on a dress shirt and how can you use it to make the best decision for your purchase? Simply put, it’s the neck size – 16 inches – followed by the sleeve size – between 32 and 33 inches. A good rule of thumb here is to take your neck measurement and add a half inch to that number to get your most comfortable fit. For instance, if your neck size is 16, you’d want to go with a 16.5 32/33

Why Small, Medium, and Large Doesn’t Work

Small, medium, and large are actually used, but they can be viewed as arbitrary since every brand may consider different measurements to correspond to different sizes. So, what you’ll likely see is a neck size, sleeve size, and then a shirt size (S,M,L). These are 3 very different measurements and correlate to 3 different areas of the shirt. If you’re buying a dress shirt off the rack and can’t find a neck or sleeve size or try it on, then leave it on the rack or you’re just gambling with your money at this point. 

At Original Stitch we offer a fully customizable collection of premium quality dress shirts, blazers, and pants. Use them to create a wardrobe 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 their off-the-rack counterparts.