Darting shirts - worthwhile?
December 1, 2010 3:55 AM   Subscribe

If I take all my dress shirts to a tailor and get darts put in will they look better?

I've got the usual problem that thin to average guys have with button down shirts in that they're fine at the shoulders but too loose at the waist and muffin out if I tuck them in. I've been reading online about how putting darts in the back of shirts will slim the waistline and fix all my problems, and have been contemplating going to the tailor who hems all my pants with all my button down shirts to get this done.

Is this a good idea or a potentially expensive waste of time?
posted by Silentgoldfish to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, it should help. Why don't you try one and see if you like it before taking all of them?

If it doesn't have the desired effect, then look for slim-fit shirts in the first place, though how slim that means varies by brand. For instance, J. Crew dress shirts are fairly tailored already, and the slim is truly that. Brooks Brothers, on the other hand, cuts for the, ahem, generously-sized man, and even the slim fit is huge on me (they also have an extra slim fit that I haven't yet tried).
posted by The Michael The at 4:04 AM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

I was actually going to recommend J. Crew dress shirts. SO is a really skinny guy, 6'3", 130 lbs., and his shirts from J. Crew fit him better than any others. They have a good selection of patterns, too.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 4:45 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you look at men's "slim fit" shirts, they often have curved seams at the back or darts, so it should work to have your existing shirts altered. Find a good tailor/seamstress though.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:10 AM on December 1, 2010

This is the secret to looking like you spent a lot of money on yourself and it's really not that expensive. Find 100% cotton dress shirts (my husband is a fan of outlet stores) and then go get them tailored and you will look like a million bucks. No lie.
posted by mckenney at 5:41 AM on December 1, 2010 [5 favorites]

Agree with everyone on this, totally worthwhile. Note that the sleeves shouldn't be much too wide to begin with because you end up with a slim shirt and puffy sleeves (those don't get taken in).
posted by Dragonness at 6:14 AM on December 1, 2010

For upscale wear, Hugo Boss shirts are cut very slim, even the ones that aren't advertised that way.
posted by gabrielsamoza at 6:15 AM on December 1, 2010

If you take them to the tailor, be careful about specifying "darts". Instead, just state that you would like them to be tailored to fit you better, and let the tailor decide exactly how to accomplish that. It might be darts, it might be adjusting the side seams, it might be both. That's the tailor's job.
posted by CathyG at 6:55 AM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Totally agree with CathyG. Your tailor is a professional and knows what he's doing. If he didn't, you'd be hemming your own pants. Go ask him.
posted by Carlotta Bananas at 7:17 AM on December 1, 2010

My tailor slims down the arms, too. It's totally worth it.
posted by Clambone at 7:28 AM on December 1, 2010

I do this on my husband's shirts, who is very tall and very thin. If they're reasonably close to fitting, you can take in the side seams, which is easy enough for an amateur sewer to manage (there's a how-to video here), but if they're far from fitting you'll pull the pocket off center and make them look weird.

I send his really expensive shirts to the tailor, though. I'm cool with inexpensive shirts but the very nice ones I prefer the tailor do since I'm afraid I'll mess it up. It's not expensive to have done since it doesn't require disassembling the shirt or anything.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:30 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm going to go against the tide here and say, no, do not have darts put in your shirts. Have them tailored, by all means, but darts make it obvious the shirt has been tailored. A good tailor should make it fit without being obviously altered. Also, women's shirts frequently have darts so I think it ends up looking sort of like you are wearing a women's shirt.

My husband had his shirt for the wedding tailored and the tailor put darts in and it looks horrible when he takes off his jacket. FWIW, he weighs around 115 so pretty much all shirts are too wide at the waist.

When we had another wedding to go to, we had a shirt tailored and the tailor adjusted the side seams instead of putting darts in, and it looks great!!

If you need super slim cut, the best place we've found is H&M although of course you will sacrifice in quality. IMHO, though, perfect fit in a cheap shirt looks better than an ill-fitting expensive one.
posted by lvanshima at 7:35 AM on December 1, 2010

Aside: approximately how much does this sort of alteration usually cost?
posted by a11an at 7:52 AM on December 1, 2010

I've had very good success with having the side seams taken in, but I am broad shouldered (so the adjusted area isn't really around the pocket). It was $10 (here in NC; prices are about double in places in SF, NYC, Miami).
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:06 AM on December 1, 2010

I've bought many shirts for slim guys, and have yet to find any that actually fit. Go to the tailor*, don't talk about darts, and you'll look great. I pay $12 each to get all my button-downs tailored.

*Many tailors (like those at your local cleaner) who hem pants don't do shirts, or will only do sleeves.
posted by coolguymichael at 9:11 AM on December 1, 2010

In my experience, men's fitted shirts do come with darts more often than not.

Also, the slimmest shirts on the US market that I've found - in the affordable category - are from United Colors of Benetton. Not amazing quality, but nice fashionable styles and worth the price if you get them on sale.
posted by Dragonness at 9:48 AM on December 2, 2010

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