Scene

The Golden Ratio

How to find a button-down that actually fits.

April 2014

Wall streeters aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a properly fitted shirt. A well tailored button-down polishes a man’s image—whether he’s heading to the office or to the bar. We asked Eric Powell, founder of custom-shirt maker Ratio Clothing in LoHi, for his tips on getting the ideal fit. Hint: You won’t find it in off-the-rack styles.

shirt1Tight Squeeze

A shirt should be comfortably snug to the body but leave room for movement. Aim for a slim fit around the waist; if the buttons pull when you sit down, it’s too small. 

Chest Press

Similar to a suit jacket, a shirt should hug your chest and shoulders but still allow you to easily cross your arms across your chest. (Read: No Hulk moments when you reach across the table.) The shoulder yoke—a shaped piece of fabric that begins at the shoulder seam and ends at about the shoulder blades—should hit at the apex of your shoulders (the point at which they start to turn sharply downward). 

shirt2Sleeve Sense

Avoid the puffy-shirt look that comes with baggy, blousy sleeves (thank you, Seinfeld) by aiming for a happy medium between billowy and skin-tight. Like the rest of your shirt, the sleeves shouldn’t restrict your natural movement.

Up Top

The right collar helps frame a man’s face. A good rule of thumb is that the spread width (the distance between the two points) should be the opposite of your face shape. Translation: If you have a narrow/long face, look for a wider spread; those with a wide/round face should try a narrower spread. 

Cuff Calculation

shirt3With the cuffs unbuttoned, the sleeves should fall about an inch above the V between your thumb and forefingers. That’s longer than most men are used to, but a properly fitted cuff won’t slide down your hand or show too much under a jacket. Plus, your sleeves won’t ride way up when you bend your arms.

Money Logic

The prices of custom shirts run the gamut, so look for stores that offer high-quality fabrics and fit expertise. Ratio’s average $98 to $125.

From top: Cotton Indian madras, $98; cotton selvedge chambray, $149; and single-ply medium cotton poplin gingham, $98; all Ratio Clothing, 303-477-5631, ratioclothing.com