How do I find dress shirts that will fit me and stay tucked in?
February 29, 2008 8:46 AM   Subscribe

How do I find dress shirts that will fit me and stay tucked in?

I'm very much a tshirt and jeans kind of guy, but I work in government and I have to wear dress shirts or sweaters and khakis or dress pants. I've been doing this for a few years now but I'm having trouble looking "good." I buy nice clothes from Banana Republic/Gap etc, but its still not working for me.

I get up and down all the time in my job, and by about noon if I'm wearing a sweater, its several inches above the line of my pants and the undershirt is showing. If I'm wearing a dress shirt, at least part of it is untucked, and the undershirt is entirely untucked and up inside the dress shirt bunched around my stomach.

From the top of wear my pants sit (above my hips) to my armpit is 14 inches. From the top of my pants to the point on the back of my neck is 20 inches. I'm 5'8", 170lbs, and wear medium shirts. I tried a few large shirts but I just end up swimming inside of them.

Do I just have a long Torso? Do I not know how to wear shirts appropriately? Do I need a tighter belt? If I have a long torso, where do I find shirts that will do what I want?
posted by jeffderek to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not especially "tall" (6') but tend to buy the "tall" dress shirts for this reason - they stay tucked in. My tastes are boring, though, I just get clearance dress shirts from LL Bean or Land's end once or twice a year. So you might try that.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:05 AM on February 29, 2008

Have you tried Gap and Banana Republic's "tall" shirts? I don't believe they're available in-stores, but they're available online in Medium.

They're 1" longer in the sleeves and 2" longer in the body length.
posted by Psionic_Tim at 9:06 AM on February 29, 2008

Oh, and take the time whenever you're in the bathroom or whatever to completely reset your arrangement, undershirt and all.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:06 AM on February 29, 2008

People who wear uniforms often add a shirt garter that keeps their shirt tucked in.

I wear a shirt and tie to work every day, and I retuck and adjust every time I go to the bathroom. If I don't do this I look very disheveled by the end of the day.

You might consider going to a dept store and actually getting fitted for a dress shirt and buying a few there.
posted by OmieWise at 9:09 AM on February 29, 2008

Whoa, that shirt garter is cuh-razy.

You can achieve the same effect by tucking your undershirt into your underwear, which separates them from your also-tucked-in dress shirt. Make sure to get long shirts (I find the XL's at most stores sufficient, Uniqlo's are my current fave) and keep your underwears up to date and springy :)
posted by crickets at 9:23 AM on February 29, 2008

(Oops -- I'm pretty tall; you probably don't need XLs.)
posted by crickets at 9:24 AM on February 29, 2008

Those shirt garters are awesome. We used to use 'em in high school JROTC to keep our socks up and our shirts down, and it kept everything tight and in place--lately I've been thinking of buying more.
posted by Cricket at 9:27 AM on February 29, 2008

Wow those shirt garters look great. How do the feel to wear? I imagine they could feel really awkward . . .

I do adjust in the bathroom regularly, I just wasn't sure that I should be doing so.

The real reason I've avoided Tall shirts to this point is that the sleeves on me are already plenty long, so I'm unwilling to order tall shirts online. I guess I'll have to find a Big&Tall store and try some.
posted by jeffderek at 9:32 AM on February 29, 2008

For undershirts, I've found Merona brand available at target to be pretty good for staying tucked in. They are a bit longer in the torso than other brands I've used, but fit similarly in most other respects, so they're not too baggy for an undershirt.

And seconding buying fitted dress shirts. For dress clothes, unless you just happen to fit a particular brand's idea of the average person, buying shirts that are sized S, M, and L is not the way to go. Inevitably, it will end up being a compromise between to large in one area, and too small in another.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 9:36 AM on February 29, 2008

shirt garters FTW! i can't believe i haven't heard of these yet. awesome!!
posted by analogue at 9:39 AM on February 29, 2008

I have this problem sometimes, and have found Charles Tyrwhitt shirts have particularly long tails that help. The fit is slightly more boxy than banana republic, but the quality is much higher, in my opinion. They have a store in NYC, but I've always just bought online. You can often find good deals in their clearance section too.
posted by hihowareyou at 9:43 AM on February 29, 2008

Also, unless you sweat profusely, I'd recommend losing the undershirt. It just gets bunched up and in the way, in my experience. If you must wear one, try getting those in tall sizes—the sleeve length shouldn't really matter.
posted by hihowareyou at 9:48 AM on February 29, 2008

I always had this problem until I started wearing Stafford shirts from JCPenny's. Now I can go all day without a re-tuck.
posted by General Malaise at 9:56 AM on February 29, 2008

I've been dressing up for a job for a few months now, and had to confront similar problems. Most dress shirts that would fit my neck and arm size looked like balloons on me, and came untucked all the time, and made me look frumpier than I would have if I'd come to work in flipflops, shorts and t-shirts.

Then I discovered the magical powers of my local tailor shop.

I found some cheap (and we're talking deep-discount, decent but really cheap) dress shirts that fit in the neck and the arms, but had enough room for me and another half of me again around the waist. I took them to the tailor, they pinned them a bit, and a couple of days later I picked them up. And they make me look good, or at least as good as I can look.

Cost? About ten to fifteen bucks per shirt, with about fifteen bucks per shirt for tailoring. Thirty dollar shirts that look really good, and give me a really professional image aren't bad.

The only other alternative I've found is stuff that's labeled as being modern fit or athletic fit; they tend to fit better off the rack.

But really, this is a question to bring to a tailor. At the least, they can tell you what's going on, and how to fix it.
posted by MrVisible at 10:48 AM on February 29, 2008

The real reason I've avoided Tall shirts to this point is that the sleeves on me are already plenty long, so I'm unwilling to order tall shirts online. I guess I'll have to find a Big&Tall store and try some.

Right, but that's because you're buying shirts that are sized S, M, L, XL, as opposed to buying fitted shirts where the sizes correspond to your sleeve length and neck size. Go to Land's End or a department store, not more fashion-oriented stores like Banana Republic or the Gap (you know those stores are actually the same company, right?). You know that section of the men's department where all the shirts are wrapped in plastic and sitting on shelves? That's where you want to be. At nicer stores, someone may be able to take your measurements for you there, otherwise check the sizing guidelines at Land's End. Get a shirt that's tall sized but fits you in the sleeves and you're golden.

Either that or start wearing pants pulled up higher like they did in the '40s. The downside of doing that is that you'd need a fedora.
posted by LionIndex at 11:04 AM on February 29, 2008

You need a tailor. Your shirts will fit and look much better with a few bucks and a good tailor. I find Gap, BR, and that mid-level mall store range to be overpriced and low quality - either buy Alfani from Macy's and save money, or get real quality from Ted Baker or Brooks Brothers, etc.
posted by kcm at 11:05 AM on February 29, 2008

Shirt garters are the sledgehammer approach to the problem. They will keep you looking very neat and put together, especially if you have a flat stomach. The down side is they are a huge pain in the ass and will tear out the hair on your legs in an odd stripe pattern.

Nthing the tailor. Might seem like a waste to tailor a cheap shirt, so go get yourself a good one and have the waist taken in. The tailor will know exactly what to do. The difference is enormous.
posted by Andrew Brinton at 11:24 AM on February 29, 2008

I recommend the picard maneuver to stop sweaters from riding up.
posted by Caper's Ghost at 1:16 PM on February 29, 2008

Yeah, fitted shirts will make all the difference. Your measurements are very close to mine (at best I have an inch on you). I've noticed that unless you buy shirts that list a sleeve and neck size, it's a crapshoot. Unless you know how the brand is cut.
Also, don't skimp on the undershirts. Buy nicer ones, or at least something other than what Walmart carries. Jockey's work well. It'll help keep your dress shirt in line.
I find that Macy's has almost constant sales on men's shirts, at least in my mall. I have good luck with their brands. Also, Express makes a pretty nice line. Catch them on a seasonal change and stock up.
I should try this tailor thing - never thought about it.
posted by dosterm at 1:32 PM on February 29, 2008

Oh, also - a medium is too small for you. They'll start out OK in the store, but if you're buying shirts with any cotton, that'll shrink down too much.
Get fitted and avoid the issue.
posted by dosterm at 1:34 PM on February 29, 2008

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