How do I determine what size shirt I need?

Measuring the size of your shirt is a relatively quick, easy and useful job. It is, after all, very important that your clothing fits well. It doesn’t only look nicer, but a too short or too long sleeve is also uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. Moreover, a too loose shirt leaves you with too much fabric, and a shirt that’s too short easily comes out of your pants or trousers. Do you want to know how to find your perfect size? Then read on!

Looking for a size chart of a certain brand? Then click here.

Wearing the right size is very important. But how do you know exactly what your size is for shirts? ‘By measuring your size exactly’ is the obvious answer. In this article we explain exactly how to do that, and how you can then read those centimeters in size charts.

“The question is: how do you measure the size of your shirt?

What do I need to measure my right size?

To measure the right size you of course need measuring tape. They cost a little and are easily available both online and offline.

  • Measure as much as possible on bare skin and do not tighten the measuring tape too much.
  • Preferably measure in the afternoon. In the morning you are thinner and you do not want the shirt to be too tight later in the day.
  • Keep pen and paper handy so that you can write down what sizes you have.

How do you measure the collar size?

Measuring the collar size is essential for buying a shirt. This is simply because most brands regard indicate their shirt size on the basis of the collar size. The collar size is sometimes referred to as neck size.

To measure the collar size, place the measuring tape around the base of your neck where the collar is supposed to be. This is usually around the height of your Adam’s apple. Do not tighten the measuring tape too much and make sure that you can still swallow. Write down the number of centimeters that you have measured. Usually between 1 and 2 centimeters are added to the collar size.

A second option for measuring the collar size is to take a shirt that fits you well. You then place the measuring tape along the collar of this shirt and measure from the center of the button on the collar to the end of the buttonhole on the other side (via the collar of course).

Now that you know what collar size you have, you have the basic information for buying a shirt.

Deviating from the collar size is not common, but can be considered in a number of cases:

  • You never button the top buttons (like with a tie). A board size smaller is then advisable.
  • You like it when your shirt is very spacious. In that case you buy a larger size or you simply opt for a more spacious fit.

Measuring other measurements

Back in the days you actually had all the information you needed with only the board size. But since there are many different fits like slim fit, super slim fit, modern fit, classic fit and/or regular fit, it is smart to also measure the rest before you purchase a shirt.

Simply measure all sizes, certainly not too tightly, and write them down carefully. The fits already take into account how you like your shirt. So for a spacious fit you don’t have to measure extra large, and for a super slim you don’t have to measure extra tight.

Tip 1: Measuring waist size

You measure this size where your waistline is the smallest. Measure while standing and don’t tighten the measuring tape too much. Also do not suck in your belly, as you do not want to do that all day long while wearing the shirt.

Tip 2: Measuring breast size

Measure your chest size under your armpits at the widest part. Of course you still want to be able to move, so certainly do not measure too tightly. Also don’t broaden your breast, as you don’t do that in daily life either.

How do you meet your arm length?

It is also necessary to measure your arms well, especially to check if you can handle the normal sleeve length of a shirt, or whether you should look for shirts with extra long sleeves, which are now widely available. Most brands maintain a standard sleeve length of 64 or 65 centimeters. Extra long sleeves often come in two options: 69 and 72 centimeters. You can always find this in the size chart. Extra long sleeves are often referred to as ‘sleeve length 7’.

To determine your arm length, measure from your shoulder until just over your wrist bone.  If you regularly wear a blazer or jacket, you should take this into account, as your shirt should still be 1 to 2 centimeters longer than your jacket.

Some brands use arm length plus the length from your neck to your shoulder as the sleeve length. In this case, first measure from the highest vertebra of your back until to the tip of your shoulder. The last vertebra of your back means where your back stops and your neck starts. Then you add your arm length.

Here you can clearly see from which to which points you need to measure so you can find the correct size of your shirt.

Read size chart

Now take the size chart. You can find the size tables of all shirts here. The first step is to search for your board size. Then check whether the other sizes are also correct. No size may be too small.

For example, if your belly size is considerably larger than the number of centimeters that the shirt has according to the size chart, choose a size larger or a wider fit. Otherwise the buttons will be very tight or you will not be able to close them. And that would be a shame.

Don’t buy your shirt online? In good shirts shops, they have fitting shirts. You can then, without having to unfold all shirts, easily try on a fitting shirt so you can find the best size.

Translate collar sizes to confection sizes

The sizes of shirts are not always shown in collar sizes, but sometimes in confection sizes (S, M, L, etc.). So then how do you know if you are buying the right shirt? That is simple:

  • Collar sizes 37 and 38 correspond to S
  • Collar sizes 39 and 40 correspond to M
  • Collar sizes 41 and 42 correspond to L
  • Collar sizes 43 and 44 correspond to XL
  • Collar sizes 45 and 46 correspond to XXL
  • Collar sizes 47 and 48 correspond to 3XL

Shirt size and board size table:

Shirt size Collar size Sleeve length
Small (S) 37 en 38 62-64cm
Medium (M) 39 en 40 64-66cm
Large (L) 41 en 42 64-66cm
Extra Large (XL) 43 en 44 66-68cm
Extra Extra Large (XXL) 45 en 46 66-68cm

In doubt? Please contact us

Are you unsure whether you will buy the right size? Please contact us. As the online shirt specialist of the Netherlands and Belgium, we believe it is very important that all our customers are satisfied and receive the right size shirt at home. Our personal service ensures that we are ready to find the right shirt for you.


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