The skinny on shirts for the skinny, please.
September 20, 2007 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Where might one find inexpensive, stylish button-down shirts if one happened to be a very skinny guy?

I am 6" 1' and weigh about 155 pounds, give or take -- I wear size medium American Apparel tee shirts. Most button-down shirts I can buy off the rack are tailored for a huskier sort of guy than I happen to be.

I'm looking for shirts that can do double-duty -- semi-dressy work shirts when tucked in and worn with a belt, casual when untucked and worn with jeans or shorts. Recommendations? Shirts I can order online are preferred.
posted by killdevil to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
The Gap does some slim fit shirts, but cheap and slim in my experience is not easy to find in the US (you need to go upmarket, Paul Smith and Etro make wonderful slim shirts -- maybe you can check out an outlet?)

You should have a 15.5/34, maybe you can ask friends who visit Europe to bring back a couple shirts (European fit is in my expreience tighter)
posted by matteo at 11:21 AM on September 20, 2007

I'm 6' and 140 lb, so I'm even less husky than you.

Not all work, but I've had success with H&M, and some with Express, though they're pricier. I haven't been to Zara, but I've heard they're also a good starting point; I've got a gifted long-sleeve shirt from them that fits very well.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:23 AM on September 20, 2007

(oh, and one keyword to look for: "Fitted.")
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:23 AM on September 20, 2007

When I was a long-distance runner, I used to buy button-down shirts from Lands' End. Their "trim fit" cut was perfect. Now that I'm no longer running and have put on a bit of weight, they're too tight for me.
posted by brianogilvie at 11:29 AM on September 20, 2007

I'm 5'11 ~140-145. For casual wear I usually get medium, or if it's not long enough I just wear a large. I just checked the tags of my dressy shirts...the two I have are Gap and Polo RL, and they're both small. You would most likely need a medium, though it could be a big loose. You might have some luck shopping thrift stores, which is what I do. You can find some oddly sized stuff there, and you can get some amazing deals. I've gotten brand new Nautica button up shirts for ~$5
posted by Autarky at 11:31 AM on September 20, 2007

Armani Exchange is one of the few places that accomodates men with our builds. They even have size XS available for most items! And the shirts have a good taper so you don't have to pay to have everything altered.
posted by MaxK at 11:36 AM on September 20, 2007

Wow, you and I are about exactly the same size.

The experience I've had has been:
1. Yes, you are looking for "fitted" or "slim fit," which usually is found somewhere on the tag. I've yet to find a specific brand that runs skinnier than any other.
2. I've found slim fit shirts at Old Navy (which makes sense given all the gap suggestions). This doesn't meet the "cheap" requirement, but Banana Republic also sometimes has slim fit shirts.
3. On preview: Brianogilvie is right, Lands' End does do this. I have no experience with their trim fit stuff, but the regular cut shirt i'm wearing right now - a pinpoint oxford, 15.5 - 34 - doesn't look like a dress on me, although it's not exactly tight, and I can confirm that it looks good with a suit.
posted by dismas at 11:47 AM on September 20, 2007

Macy's store-brands (?) (Alfani and Club Room) both have "fitted" lines that are pretty wonderful, as far as dressy vs. going-out goes. They're pretty cheap, too, when they are on sale. They look as nice as a mid-level designer, so definitely a good value if not the best material ever.

Paul Smith is seconded for slim-fit / fitted "going out" clothing.

I'm about 5'10" @160lbs, mostly V-shaped. 15/32.
posted by kcm at 11:52 AM on September 20, 2007

Express for Men's worked very well for me. If you go every now and again, you'll find what you want at sale prices around 50% off.
posted by J-Train at 11:57 AM on September 20, 2007

Calvin Klein and Kenneth Cole slim-fit shirts come in very nice colors that transition from day-to-night nicely. My boyfriend gets them regularly at Ross/Marshalls/TJ Maxx for about $15-20 apiece. They appear to be online as well, but not quite as cheap.

I also second Express for Men when they're having a sale.
posted by gatorae at 12:12 PM on September 20, 2007

If you can find a tailor, or even just a better alterationist, you should be able to have any shirt re-cut to your specifications for about $15.
posted by YoungAmerican at 12:38 PM on September 20, 2007

Penguin shirts and Ben Sherman shirts. Button down. Slim fitting. Long waisted. Worked for my 6'4" 155lbs ex-boyfriend.
posted by greta simone at 1:44 PM on September 20, 2007

I share your plight, but I ask you this:
how long are your arms/ wide are your shoulders?
I say this because many of the options people post in these "I'm skinny and want to dress well" threads (one comes up once every couple of months) never really work for me, because all of the options only have sleeve lengths that go to about the middle of my forearm. It's infuriating. That being said, the two solutions I have are this spanish brand Zara,which carries sleeve lengths more my speed, and the "find a nice shirt at the thrift store that is the right length in the arms, buy for $5, go have it recut by a tailor for $20 or so" route.
(i'm 6'2", 175ish pounds, 15/35-36, broad shoulders, long arms .)

PS: this makes t-shirt shopping suck too.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:45 PM on September 20, 2007

I'm 6'1" and about 160lbs. I worked at a Macy's for a few months and always found Kenneth Cole and Calvin Klein fitted shirts on sale. I found about ten of them for roughly seven dollars each.

Check the sale racks, especially during season transitions.
posted by gummi at 2:20 PM on September 20, 2007

I'm 5'9" and 135lbs, and I find that H&M's slim-cut shirts fit me really well. For other brands and stores, it's mostly a crapshoot. I have small shirts from places like Banana Republic or Marshall Field's that fit like a garbage bag.
posted by gyc at 3:30 PM on September 20, 2007

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