Where can I find sweet but affordable dress shirts for a smaller sized guy?
May 3, 2011 12:14 AM   Subscribe

I don't have my measurements on hand at the moment, but I'm 5'9" and 145 pounds. I'm looking for the more casual and trendy dress shirt versus trad. Most are cut too big and blousy, or just not my size, or not my taste (plaid/paisley = ick). I went to my local mens' store and found Stone Rose shirts and was impressed by the detail and quality, but alas, no smalls. I could order online, but $100 to $150 per shirt is out of my league for now, plus the extra costs as these are supposed to be dry cleaned only. Trolling the racks of TJ Maxx and Goodwill isn't bringing much luck, much less Sears, Macy's and JC Penney in my immediate area. Where can I find some alternatives? Please no Ed Hardy.
posted by Giggilituffin to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Is there an H&M near you? I like plaid a lot and have bought a lot of plaid shirts there, but they have a lot of other solid/striped dress shirts that are generally more tailored. (I'm not male and am a bit heavier than you, but generally wear men's clothes and also have trouble finding shirts that fit me well.) Their quality can kind of be hit and miss sometimes, but most of the buttondowns I've bought there have been fine.
posted by naturalog at 12:45 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, no sure-fire solutions, but for my 5'9" boyfriend, we usually find something at Kohl's that works. Not sure what part of the country you're in, though. Also look for Target, Gap and Old Navy, Express.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:55 AM on May 3, 2011

My husband (5'11" and ~160 pounds) is a big fan of Banana Republic's non-iron slim fit dress shirts. He wears a medium so maybe you'd be a small? They are pricey if you look online, but I only ever buy them at the BR outlet stores where they are usually deeply discounted (less than $50) and available in a variety of interesting prints.
posted by sanitycheck at 1:33 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding Express Men. I buy dress shirts from their 1MX line as they're cut for a nice fitted, non-blousy look. And cop some of their skinny ties too; they go really well together.
posted by bayani at 3:05 AM on May 3, 2011

Is there a Zara near you? The fit of their men's shirts is slim and lean.
posted by lulu68 at 4:08 AM on May 3, 2011

Urban Outfitters have some great shirts at the moment.
posted by greenfelttip at 4:35 AM on May 3, 2011

Do you have a tailor? Slimming the fit of a shirt is not too big of a job for one and should be pretty inexpensive. I'm about your dimensions (a little shorter) and I've just started taking everything to the tailor because it's nearly impossible to find something off the rack that fits in the collar, sleeve, and waist all at the same time.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:08 AM on May 3, 2011

Seconding the tailor - nothing from Express, BR, or Zara will last nearly as long as a decent shirt that doesn't quite fit that's tailored to you. In fact, one of the Hong Kong travelling tailors will fit your cost and tailoring needs. I use Maxwell's and I'm happy with them - their shirts start at 4 for $189, and even the basic fabric for those is quite nice.
posted by kcm at 6:56 AM on May 3, 2011

Land's End Canvas. Or maybe Uniqlo, especially for linen.

Zara / H&M will be fecked after 1 wash, Gap after 10.
posted by col at 7:40 AM on May 3, 2011

Thirding the tailor option. I've gotten shirts tailored to mirror my custom-fit shirts at both small-town ($10) and big-city ($20-30) tailors with excellent results. I'm 5'11", 140lbs so I swim in everything off-the-rack, even when buying my "size" (Small or 14.75/33).

If you need shirts immediately, I'd suggest continue trolling the racks at TJ Maxx/Nordstrom Rack/Filene's Basement. It's hit-or-miss, but worth your time, as I've been able to pick up Hugo Boss Ultra Slim, Polo Custom Fit and similar-cut shirts for what you'd pay for a lesser-quality item at Express or whatever. Macy's is okay if you can score a good deal with one of their million sales, but skip Sears, JC Penney, H&M as you'll end up with something synthetic that will self-destruct after the first couple of washes.

Topman is now available in the States, with stores in NYC and soon in Chicago. Affordable, quality British (read: slim fit) style.

Still, to get the best bang for your buck (calculate it out in $/wear), the higher-quality, custom-made shirt is the way to go. You can start with made-to-measure from Charles Tyrwhitt and similar online sellers, then move to fully-custom at Indochino, which I can't recommend highly enough for both shirts and suits.

Don't be fooled by your dry cleaner; every shirt I own is machine washable (they say so right on the label).

Nothing will make you look better or feel more confident than well-fitting attire. Don't skimp.
posted by firstcity_thirdcoast at 2:13 PM on May 3, 2011

Seconding Banana Republic's "slim fit". I also really like Ben Sherman shirts--they are generally slimmer in cut than others and you can get good shirts for a good price when they're on sale. They only have a couple of retail outlets but they often have online sales. Good luck.
posted by tybstar at 3:16 PM on May 4, 2011

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