The Art of Tailoring How to Customize a Dress Shirt

The Art of Tailoring: How to Customize a Dress Shirt for the Perfect Fit


Ready-to-wear dress shirts are a convenient option for many men, but they are not always a perfect fit. The difference between a good fit and a great fit comes down to the details, which is why tailoring is an essential part of creating a great wardrobe. In this article, we will discuss how to customize a dress shirt for the perfect fit so you can look and feel your best.

Why Tailoring is Important

A well-tailored dress shirt can make a world of difference in your appearance, confidence, and comfort. It can accentuate your best features, hide your flaws, and enhance your personal style. Here are some reasons why tailoring is important:

– Fit: A dress shirt that fits you perfectly will flatter your body shape, highlight your strengths, and minimize your weaknesses. A good fit can make you look slimmer, taller, and more proportional.

– Comfort: A dress shirt that is too tight, too loose, or too long can be uncomfortable, restrict your movement, or bunch up under your jacket. A well-tailored shirt should feel comfortable and natural, like a second skin.

– Durability: A dress shirt that is poorly made, cheaply constructed, or improperly altered can wear out faster, lose its shape, or fray at the seams. A well-tailored shirt should last longer, look better, and maintain its quality.

– Confidence: A dress shirt that fits you well and looks great can boost your self-esteem, project a professional image, and attract positive attention. A well-tailored shirt can make you feel more confident, stylish, and successful.

How to Customize a Dress Shirt

Tailoring a dress shirt is not rocket science, but it requires some basic knowledge, skills, and tools. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Measure your body: Before you start customizing your dress shirt, you need to know your body measurements, such as neck, chest, waist, sleeve, and shoulder. You can either take the measurements yourself or ask a tailor to do it for you.

2. Choose the right size: Once you have your measurements, you should choose a dress shirt that fits your neck and chest measurements, and then adjust the rest of the shirt accordingly. Do not buy a shirt that is too small or too big, as it will be harder to alter it properly.

3. Check the fit: Before you start altering your dress shirt, you should try it on and see how it fits. Look for any areas that are too tight, too loose, too long, or too short. Pay attention to the collar, the shoulders, the sleeves, the chest, the waist, and the length.

4. Pin the alterations: Once you have identified the areas that need to be altered, you can use safety pins or straight pins to mark the changes. Pin the sides, the sleeves, the shoulders, and the hemline to the desired length and width.

5. Sew the alterations: After you have pinned the alterations, you can either sew them yourself if you have sewing skills or take them to a tailor if you don’t. You can use a sewing machine or a needle and thread to make the changes. Be careful not to sew too tight or too loose, as it can affect the fit.

6. Press the alterations: Once you have sewn the alterations, you should iron the shirt to smooth out any wrinkles and give it a crisp finish. Use a steam iron or a dry iron depending on the fabric type.

7. Test the fit: After you have pressed the shirt, you should try it on again to see if it fits properly. Make any final adjustments if necessary, and then wear it with confidence.


1. How much does it cost to tailor a dress shirt?
The cost of tailoring a dress shirt depends on various factors, such as the complexity of the alterations, the location of the tailor, and the quality of the fabric. However, the average cost of a basic dress shirt alteration is around $20-$30.

2. How long does it take to tailor a dress shirt?
The time it takes to tailor a dress shirt depends on the workload of the tailor, the complexity of the alterations, and the availability of the fabric. However, the average turnaround time for a basic dress shirt alteration is around 3-5 business days.

3. Can I alter a dress shirt myself?
Yes, you can alter a dress shirt yourself if you have some sewing skills, patience, and the right tools. However, it is recommended to start with simple alterations, such as hemming the sleeves or adjusting the length, and then move on to more complex alterations, such as resizing the collar or tapering the sides.

4. How do I know if a dress shirt fits me well?
A dress shirt fits you well if it:

– Allows you to move your arms freely without any tightness or restriction.
– Does not bunch up or sag around your waist or your shoulders.
– Does not have any wrinkles, creases, or puckering when tucked in or untucked.
– Fits snugly around your neck without any gaping or choking.
– Does not expose more than an inch of your wrist or your collar bone.

5. How often should I get my dress shirts tailored?
You should get your dress shirts tailored as often as necessary, depending on your body changes, your weight fluctuations, and your wardrobe needs. However, as a general rule, you should get your dress shirts altered at least once a year, or more frequently if you wear them frequently or for special occasions.


Tailoring a dress shirt is not only about fitting it to your body, but also about fitting it to your personality, your lifestyle, and your preferences. By customizing your dress shirts, you can create a versatile wardrobe that reflects your individuality and your professionalism. Remember to choose the right fabric, the right color, and the right style that suits your body type and your occasion. Happy tailoring!