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How long should my dress shirts, sweaters be?
September 18, 2009 9:39 AM   Subscribe

How long should my dress shirts, polos, and sweaters be? I'm tall and I have a hard time determining what's too short and too long.

I'm 6'3" or 6'4" and 190 lbs. Maybe it's just my perception, but I'm having a hard time determining whether or not sweaters, dress shirts, and polos I just bought are too short or too long. I've been looking for a good guide on how long these shirts should be for a long time but I haven't found one.

Maybe it's that I have really long legs, but I can't help but always think that most of my shirts are too short. But then I order tall sizes and they end up coming PAST my hips sometimes, which I definitely think is too long regardless of how long my legs are.

Does anyone have any input on this?

Maybe I'll try to post pictures of what I'm trying on right now.
posted by decrescendo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (46 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
http://i37.tinypic.com/2drea13.jpg
Large Banana Republic sweater

http://i35.tinypic.com/f4o3ud.jpg
Large Tall Banana Republic sweater

I'm trying to pick between the two sizes but I'm not sure which is best. The L you can see the pockets of jeans but the L Tall they are covered.
posted by decrescendo at 9:53 AM on September 18, 2009


I can't really provide a hard and fast rule, but I definitely prefer the Large to the Large Tall. It looks neater and like it fits better. The Tall is too long. The hemline falling somewhere in the pocket region (ie below the waistband, but still able to see some of the curve of the pocket) is good.
Also? Long legs are HAWT. Don't artificially stumpify yourself by wearing longer shirts just because you think your legs look too long.
posted by katemonster at 10:00 AM on September 18, 2009


I think the length of the top one makes the overall outfit sharper, and the second more casual. Most importantly, though, what happens when you sit down in terms of exposure? If your back is bare or at risk of being so, the sharpness of the standing-up look is pretty much negated.
posted by carbide at 10:01 AM on September 18, 2009


Female here. I think the one showing the pockets looks neater. The one covering the pockets looks too big for you, and it makes your figure seem fairly shapeless. Your torso seems to be mostly in proportion with your legs, so even if your legs are long, I don't think you need to, uh, "de-emphasize" their length in any particular way.

Usually you only want to make your torso look longer if you're shorter or rounder, as a way of visually elongating the body, a problem you very much don't have.
posted by Diagonalize at 10:04 AM on September 18, 2009


Yep, definitely the large regular. Do you have really long legs relative to your torso? Because you're not that tall and if you have especially long legs your torso is almost certainly in the regular range -- which would mean long pants, regular shirts.
posted by brainmouse at 10:07 AM on September 18, 2009


When I sit down, the Large comes up to around my beltline.
posted by decrescendo at 10:07 AM on September 18, 2009


http://i34.tinypic.com/2v0hon5.jpg

How about this shirt?
posted by decrescendo at 10:08 AM on September 18, 2009


I think the Large sweater looks too large on you - maybe you need a Medium or Medium Tall? The shoulder seam is way down your arm and it looks awfully baggy on your chest.
posted by muddgirl at 10:11 AM on September 18, 2009


My vote is for the first (Large). Looks a lot neater and, in my opinion, would be the "right" fit.

As for the shirt. I would consider it to be a good fit. All to often I see men wearing shirts designed to be tucked in, in an untucked manner. The length ends up making the person look like they've just bought a shirt to big for them.
posted by Hates_ at 10:15 AM on September 18, 2009


Nobody can see where it comes to when you're sitting down... so that doesn't really matter. And the shirt is a little too long.
posted by brainmouse at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2009


I'd also like to point out... your pants are also way too long... it looks like you're not a long in pants either.
posted by brainmouse at 10:19 AM on September 18, 2009


I think the Large sweater looks too large on you - maybe you need a Medium or Medium Tall? The shoulder seam is way down your arm and it looks awfully baggy on your chest.

Medium would probably be really short on me. And I bet the hemline of a medium tall would end up being a belt around my waistline.
posted by decrescendo at 10:19 AM on September 18, 2009


I'd also like to point out... your pants are also way too long... it looks like you're not a long in pants either.

Agreed. They sometimes come under my shoes when I'm walking. They are a 36/34. I'm in the process of fixing this problem.
posted by decrescendo at 10:20 AM on September 18, 2009


I also get the impression this polo shirt is too short, but what do I know. I always feel like my shirts are too short.

http://i33.tinypic.com/11l23w8.jpg
posted by decrescendo at 10:21 AM on September 18, 2009


No, I definitely don't think the polo is too short. I think it could probably actually be an inch or two shorter and still look good. The overall proportions of the outfit aren't great (for ideal proportions the shorts should either be shorter or long pants, though obviously current fashion militates for the length of shorts you have on) but the shirt is really not the problem.
posted by katemonster at 10:31 AM on September 18, 2009


Yep, the polo shirt is definitely not too short.
posted by brainmouse at 10:34 AM on September 18, 2009


No, I definitely don't think the polo is too short. I think it could probably actually be an inch or two shorter and still look good. The overall proportions of the outfit aren't great (for ideal proportions the shorts should either be shorter or long pants, though obviously current fashion militates for the length of shorts you have on) but the shirt is really not the problem.

Yeah I'm not totally content with that pair of shorts but I've had them for years so it's the best I have. You think they should be shorter?
posted by decrescendo at 10:37 AM on September 18, 2009


In order to look good and be currently fashionable, they should probably be hitting the tops of your knees. If they're covering any of your knees, they're too long.
posted by brainmouse at 10:39 AM on September 18, 2009


I think the large looks better than the tall of the first two.

My husband is your height and wears tall sizes, but his length is in his torso. I'm 5'8" and have long legs and wear my jeans at the same inseam as or longer than he does. Depending on how his weight, which packs on in the belly, is doing, there's some tolerance for different shirt lengths, but he always needs talls. You look like you might vary by brand. (If you ever show belly sitting down, I don't care if it's too long otherwise, the shirt is too short.)

I see you're already talking about hemming, so I'll assume you know you can get woven dress shirts hemmed too if you need to.
posted by immlass at 10:39 AM on September 18, 2009


I see you're already talking about hemming, so I'll assume you know you can get woven dress shirts hemmed too if you need to.

What exactly do you mean? I can get the bottoms of these shirts tailored so they aren't as long?
posted by decrescendo at 10:40 AM on September 18, 2009


http://i34.tinypic.com/29m26ti.jpg

Another one. Since this is sort of "over-wear" is this length OK? Goes past my pockets.
posted by decrescendo at 10:41 AM on September 18, 2009


That is exactly what she means.
posted by brainmouse at 10:41 AM on September 18, 2009


I think the polo shirt and the large sweater are the better lengths of the tops. In terms of sleeve length, my rule of thumb is that a full sleeve should cover my wristbone with my hands at my sides. I'm a woman, but I like a tailored look, personally, so I think my preferences may cross over to basic menswear.

Maybe you think the polo shirt is too short because it makes you look broader through the torso? That's the effect of the horizontal stripes. Part of the fun (sometimes) of clothes is figuring out what you want to emphasize and de-emphasize about your body. It looks like you're well-proportioned, so, do you want to emphasize long and lean (the look in the sweater with jeans) or do you want to look broader (horizontal patterns help there, along with lighter colors).

On the fleece, I think it's too long, and it's pulling across your hips and creating an unflattering horizontal line.
posted by EvaDestruction at 10:43 AM on September 18, 2009


For the most recent one -- is it ok? Yeah, probably. Would it look a bit better a bit shorter? Yeah, probably.
posted by brainmouse at 10:44 AM on September 18, 2009


On the fleece, I think it's too long, and it's pulling across your hips and creating an unflattering horizontal line.

For the most recent one -- is it ok? Yeah, probably. Would it look a bit better a bit shorter? Yeah, probably.

This sweater might echo that same sentiment:

http://i35.tinypic.com/6fxt12.jpg

posted by decrescendo at 10:47 AM on September 18, 2009


Really, in general, should any top come even with or past my hip bones?
posted by decrescendo at 10:48 AM on September 18, 2009


Even with -- yes. Past -- no.
posted by brainmouse at 10:51 AM on September 18, 2009


In order to look good and be currently fashionable, they should probably be hitting the tops of your knees. If they're covering any of your knees, they're too long.

I agree. I think they'd look better around 4-6 inches shorter -- looking at the picture, imagining them cutting off about 2 inches from the bottom of the cargo pockets. Showing the knee gives more shape and avoids the Cotton Hill "blowed my shins off" look.
posted by katemonster at 10:54 AM on September 18, 2009


This sweater might echo that same sentiment:

Yeah. The number of people who can pull off a banded-hem sweater is far smaller than the production of said items would seem to indicate. Although it might be better on you if it was shorter. Do you see how it's making you look sort of lumpy around the hips and lower belly? That's something to avoid. (Although - some of that effect could be that your jeans are maybe a bit on the large side, as well. And judging from where the shoulder seams are hitting you, the sweater is just a little big overall.)
posted by EvaDestruction at 10:57 AM on September 18, 2009


I have your exact dimensions (ignoring possible differences in local proportions) and BR's Large/Tall was an great find for me mostly because now I could shop online. They're what I buy now. I had never considered if they were too long until recently, but I think they're pretty good overall. In any case, a word of warning, don't get plain t-shirts/undershirts/longsleeves in L/T because they'll be more likely to peek through your other ones.
posted by gensubuser at 10:57 AM on September 18, 2009


Yeah. The number of people who can pull off a banded-hem sweater is far smaller than the production of said items would seem to indicate. Although it might be better on you if it was shorter. Do you see how it's making you look sort of lumpy around the hips and lower belly? That's something to avoid. (Although - some of that effect could be that your jeans are maybe a bit on the large side, as well. And judging from where the shoulder seams are hitting you, the sweater is just a little big overall.)

Yeah that is the only banded-hem sweater I bought. I can see your point. I'm not really too much of a fan of that style either to be honest. Just wanted to see how it fit me for future reference.
posted by decrescendo at 11:01 AM on September 18, 2009


To reiterate what a couple people have said about the shoulder seams:

The shoulder seams should start on top of your shoulder. That is, they should come down vertically. If they start on the side of your shoulder and go into your armpit at an angle, whatever you are wearing is too big for you.
posted by brainmouse at 11:03 AM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


The shoulder seams should start on top of your shoulder. That is, they should come down vertically. If they start on the side of your shoulder and go into your armpit at an angle, whatever you are wearing is too big for you.

I was seriously just typing a question pertaining to that. Thank you so much. I've always wondered about that.
posted by decrescendo at 11:05 AM on September 18, 2009


So, in general, when I'm wearing jeans, t-shirts and polos shouldn't come past my pockets? I shouldn't have to dig under my t-shirt or polo to get to my pockets, right?
posted by decrescendo at 11:06 AM on September 18, 2009


when I'm wearing jeans, t-shirts and polos shouldn't come past my pockets?

That sounds like a pretty good rule of thumb. On my body, when I'm trying on clothes that don't have front pockets to go by, I find that the best tops hit right about where the points of my hipbones are (or, in the back, where my butt starts to curve out). This allows easy access to pockets.
posted by EvaDestruction at 11:13 AM on September 18, 2009


From your dimensions and picture you are built mostly like me.

brainmouse touches on something huge that I had to learn - just because I am athletic doesn't mean that I wear athletic fit. Oddly enough, 9 times out of 10 athletic fit wears on me wrong, and I look lost in it (for the reason brainmouse described). Oddly enough, I wear the regular or standard fit with greater success.

Oh and, I'm a L-T or XL-T all the way - I have never found a properly cut L or a XL that fits in the arms or torso - even in short sleve shirts that don't tuck in. I either look lost in the shirt (XL) or/and its untucked after 2 minutes of wear (both XL and L).
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:15 AM on September 18, 2009


Anyone have a rule of thumb for wearing un-tucked dress shirts? How long is acceptable?

A lot of them seem REALLY long in order to stay tucked, but they seem really sloppy that long un-tucked.
posted by decrescendo at 11:33 AM on September 18, 2009


Everything looks the same. Which is to say, everything looks perfectly OK.
posted by Zambrano at 11:39 AM on September 18, 2009


a rule of thumb for wearing un-tucked dress shirts?

That's a tricky one. For women, at least, there are shorter dress shirts with straight hems that are meant to be worn untucked, but I don't know whether there are similar menswear offerings. In my experience, only my guy friends who are rail thin can get away with untucked dress shirts without looking sloppy, since the extra volume around the hips makes them look a little more substantial.
posted by EvaDestruction at 11:56 AM on September 18, 2009


I'm 6'3" and prefer a regular large; the tall/long sizes usually are too much so.

Here is the rule of thumb I follow for untucked dress shirts, from GQ's Style Guy:
Q: I enjoy wearing button-down shirts untucked. Sometimes, however, I feel that this casual style may look a little too sloppy. What’s the general rule about how long a shirt can be before it needs to be tucked in?

A: The rule is: Tuck in your goddamn shirt, barn boy! But seriously, folks, I know that the hip thing has been to go around with your shirt out, or maybe half tucked, like you slept in your clothes and haven’t had coffee yet. But this “hip” look has been hip so long, how much longer can it possibly be hip? The rule I live by is, if a button-down shirt has a finished, squared-off bottom, it’s okay to wear it untucked in casual scenes. If it’s cut curvy—long in front and back, short on the sides—then tuck the mother in. You’ll feel better when you look at pictures of yourself ten years from now.
posted by jalexc at 12:05 PM on September 18, 2009


That's a tricky one. For women, at least, there are shorter dress shirts with straight hems that are meant to be worn untucked, but I don't know whether there are similar menswear offerings.

Yes, there are straight-hem, shorter-length button-up shirts for guys. Sometimes they are called "camp shirts" or "sport shirts" or what have you. My spouse practically lives in them. He buys them from Dillard's department store but I have seen the same brands in Macy's and Nordstroms. He hasn't had much success at JC Penny.
posted by muddgirl at 12:17 PM on September 18, 2009


Ugh, on searching, "Camp shirts" aren't what I'm talking about. Talk about tacky. The brands he buys are usually Roundtree and Yorke or Daniel Cremieux. It's pretty obvious by the lower hem whether they should be tucked in or not.
posted by muddgirl at 12:20 PM on September 18, 2009


I wear these shirts from Express untucked:

http://www.express.com/catalog/thumbnail.jsp?parentCategoryId=1&categoryId=49&subCategoryId=50&index=0&viewall=1


They don't seem to be too long.
posted by decrescendo at 12:26 PM on September 18, 2009


Yeah, looks like they've got the right sort of hem to look decent untucked. Notice how the model wearing it untucked looks longer in the torso than the others? If you're self-conscious about the length of your legs, this mitigates against that. However, I'm with katemonster in thinking long legs are hot, so I'm still going to be a fan of tucking dress shirts in, personally.

One thing that might help in making the button-down shirt you tried on look neater untucked is wearing pants that are slimmer through the hips and thigh. Notice the fit of the pants on the model on the Express site? There's no bagging around the thigh like what you're getting with the jeans you're wearing in your photo.
posted by EvaDestruction at 12:56 PM on September 18, 2009


Medium would probably be really short on me.

It is my experience that there is very little difference in length between medium and large shirts and sweaters. The difference is in the chest and shoulders. I'd strongly suggest you consider trying on a medium, since as others have noted those larges, while reasonable in length, appear to be too large for you in the shoulders and chest.

It seems as though any (if not most) men think they are a larger size than they actually are (as opposed to women who often tend in the opposite direction).
posted by dersins at 1:06 PM on September 18, 2009


If you are wearing a shirt untucked (polo or sweater), it should fall slightly slightly below the top of your hipbone (more like the Banana Republic Large)

If you are wearing a shirt tucked in (dress shirt) you hould be able to reach up as if grabbing something from a kitchen cabinet with no hems coming out of your pants.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:52 PM on September 18, 2009


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