How to Know Your Shirt Size

Whether it is a dress shirt or more relaxed, you will need to know two pieces of information before you can find a shirt at your waist: the collar turn as well as your sleeve length.

The collar turn

The shirts are designed according to a certain neck circumference (or called “collar size”). This size corresponds to the circumference of the neck.

To measure this size on the shirt it is necessary to start from the button (beginning of the collar) until the buttonhole. If you do not like the shirts too tight do not hesitate to add a few millimeters up to 1 cm. Better generally a shirt slightly wider than a little too tight, to remove a few millimeters or 1 centimeter to the measure that you carried is therefore strongly discouraged: do not forget that the washing sometimes tends to shrink your clothes!

The neck circumference corresponds to the horizontal circumference of the neck measured just above the Adam’s apple.

To measure your neck strap you need to use a tape measure. Stand upright, looking straight in front of you and pass the ribbon around your neck just above your Adam’s apple by breathing normally. When performing this measurement, make sure that the tape measure is not too loose or too tight, that it lies flat on your neck and that the measurement is done horizontally.

If you do not have a tape measure you can use a string while proceeding in the same way. Then show the length of twine on a cm to know your neck.

Think about it ! : A shirt with the right size allows to be perfectly at ease when you turn, lower or raise your head. It must also be long enough not to get out of your pants in case you raise your arms.

The sleeve length

In addition to the neck strap size, some shirts also indicate the size (length) of the sleeves. For a fixed collar turn, a shirt may therefore have different sleeve lengths in order to better match the different morphologies.

The length of the sleeve corresponds to the length of your arm measured from the beginning of the shoulder to the thumb.

To measure your arm length you must use a tape measure. Hold your arm straight upright or vertical, and have someone help you to take the measurement from the beginning of the shoulder until ‘At the joint of the thumb.

If you do not have a tape measure you can use a string while proceeding in the same way. Refer to the corresponding twine length on a cm for your sleeve length.

Once again, you can add a few millimeter to centimeter for your own comfort (remember that when you move, the sleeve tends to retract backwards.).

Think about it ! If you wear a watch or other accessory on the wrist, your sleeve should not be too tight to encounter any discomfort. Contrary to what one might think, the sleeves should not be too wide to allow you to remove your shirt without unbuttoning your sleeves.

Table of equivalences and correspondence of shirt sizes by country

The table below shows the standard sizes of shirts according to the lawfaqs. Each chest corresponds to a code.

The different codes:

  • XS = Extra small (very small)
  • S = Small (small size)
  • M = Medium (medium size)
  • L = Large (wide)
  • XL = Extra Large (very large sizes)

You can sometimes see the XL prefixed with other Xs indicating even larger sizes.

  • At European level these sizes are usually indicated in centimeters, in other Anglo-Saxon countries these sizes are given in inches.
  • Each of these size intervals corresponds to a standard handle length. These lengths of sleeves may be different depending on the country or the marks (due to the different morphologies and types of cuts)
  • All these indications (or at least one of them) are generally indicated on the label of the shirts.