Men’s Modern Dress Shirts

The men’s moderns dress shirts fit and look has changed over the years. We don’t need to go too far back in history and bore you so we will go back to the 90’s when the popular dress shirt fit revolutionized the name classic fit dress shirts. 

Classic Fit Dress Shirts

The overall body of the shirt was baggier in almost all the areas. They are also known as relaxed dress shirts. They are broader through the chest and shoulders, have a roomier waist and a relaxed sleeve.

The sides of the shirt were generally a straight cut and dropped much lower then shirts today. The arms were a bit more baggy from the shoulders all the way to the wrist. There were more details on the shirts including pleats on the yolk on the back of the shirt, and extra fabric down the front buttonhole placket added and topstitched. The collar was much bigger and wider on some styles and on other there was a button and buttonhole on the collar holding it down. Lastly, the front had one or two pockets.

Modern Fit Dress Shirts

The modern dress shirt today is more “clean” looking all around. The yolk has no pleats at all, the fronts are smooth end to end without any top stitching or pockets, and the collar is smaller and much more crisp without any buttons or buttonholes. The sides and the sleeves are cut with a inward curve for a more tailored look. There is less fabric bunching up under the armpits. The overall length of the shirt has been trimmed down and with more curve perfect for being left untucked. 

Perfect Fitting Dress Shirts

The perfect fitting dress shirts can be debated by some but has a few primary principles. When shirt is worn, the buttons should not pucker the fabric around them when standing still. The shoulder seam should not drop below the shoulder. The bottom of the shirt should rarely go much below the wrist level when standing still. The sleeve when down should sit at the wrist without a huge amount of fabric puckering above wrist. When the cuffs are flipped up, they should sit anywhere in mid forearm area and not covering the area where a watch were to sit. The collar should be standing up tall and crisp. The sides should have some fabric play when pinching between 3-5” in the waist and the chest area. 

This is a general rule of thumb and some prefer different elements of the shirt to fit differently. 

Slim Fit Dress Shirts

By definition, slim fit is basically just a more trim fit over the modern or traditional fit. There are a few elements that give it more slimming fit. The neck, overall length, and the sleeve length is no different in size. The sleeves are generally trimmed in circumference from the wrist area all the way to the shoulder area by anywhere from .5”-.75”. The shoulders are also tighter by about .5”. The biggest difference is in the chest and the waist area. The shirt is much more curved inward on the sides and as 2 darts on the back bringing in the chest area 2-3” and the waist area 3-4”.

Athletic Fit Dress Shirts

Athletic fit dress shirts are a fairly new category of fit. The majority of dress shirts are mass produced to fit as many people as possible. The problem with that system is the shirts are a bit more bigger in the waist. The athletic fit dress shirts are designed for guys that are more muscular upper-body and need more room in the shoulders, chest, and upper arms, but still need much more tapered in the waist area. 

The modern fit and the traditional fit might fit the individual in the upper chest and shoulders area, but the waist is almost always too baggy. 

The slim fit is the other newer option that trims the sleeves and shoulders up a bit and makes the chest and waist a much tighter fit all the way through. The problem then becomes that the waist may fit great but then the chest is too tight. 

The athletic fit dress shirts category was created to solve this dilemma. There are a few elements that matter in the athletic fit. 


Generally the neck is about the same size as the modern or slim fit. In some cases the neck is a slight bit larger and we can add .25”-.5” to the neck to help accommodate that.


The overall sleeve length is usually not an issue with the authentic fit, but the circumference is. In some cases the bicep area needs to be expanded a bit allowing for more room for the biceps as well as the armhole area.


Shoulders and chest go hand and hand together. We can lower the armhole area and extend the yolk a bit to add to the shoulders as well as widen the chest area to allow for more room everywhere from shoulders to chest. 


The waist is almost always an issue with being too baggy or boxy. Usually the shirt doesn’t slim down aggressively enough from the chest to fit a trim waist. We can add darts on the back to bring it in a few inches and even trim extra fabric from the hip area if more is needed. 

Essentially there are 2 ways we can create the perfect athletic fit dress shirts with us.

  1. Start with the modern fit base. Then add darts to the back of the shirt, and trim the waist and hip area a few inches. 
  2. Start with the fitted base. Then lower the armhole opening a bit and extend the yolk half an inch. Also add a couple inches to the chest allowing for chest/shoulder area to broaden. The waist on the fitted is well tapered as it is, but we can tailor even more if necessary.
Men's Dress Shirts