Thursday, August 9, 2012

In Defense of the Slim-Cut Shirt

Someone had to defend it.

Before: Full-cut

 A pony-insignia dress shirt in very soft cotton purchased for $19 new from RL.  Out of the package, it immediately proved too large around the middle, and a bit long in the sleeve, though the tag claimed a shorter sleeve length.  Maybe that's why it had been reduced to $19.  Tucked in, it would have a blouse-like fit with cloth muffin-top love handles above the belt.  The photo above is what a full-cut looks like.  Baggy, flappy, floppy, and tent-like.

For men with mid-sections of a smaller diameter than their chests and shoulders, the fitted or slim-cut shirts are appropriate.  These "Yarmouth" cottons (whatever that means) are very comfortable, but the cut is equally unflattering to a non-round torso.  I took them to the cramped and awkward fitting room at the seamstress shop and had them taken in in an attempt to improve them.

After: Better fitting slim-cut

 Severely fitted (tight) shirts look amateurish, while a trim fitting shirt is complimentary to the male figure (as Mrs. tells me).  After it was taken in ($10), it fit better without being tight, and the seamstress gave the side seams a more elegant single stitch instead of the bulky doubled stitch that all shirts have.

Purists seem to hate the slim cut shirts for some reason, but since one size does not fit all, you may have to take matters into your own hands to fine-tune the cloth to your specific liking.  If your torso tends towards a more athletic shape you are usually out of luck when it comes to shirts out of the package, because they weren't built for you.  For $29 total, I got a shirt that actually fits right and I can wear it without a jacket or sweater.


  1. Agreed. Particularly for Brooks Brothers. Their original fit Polo OCBDs are tent-like and seem to hit at my knees (I'm 6'0"). Worn with a pair of 32 waist bottoms, the original fit looks just absurd (maybe it'd be less so on a larger person). The "slim fit" BB OCBD, on the other hand, is really just normal--in fact, it fits much closer to PRL's original fit, rather than its "custom" (slim) fit.

  2. This might be a better alternative than buying a "slim" fit shirt. The BB slim fit shirt work well; but, I purchased a Lewin slim fit that's almost constrictive. Time to add a couple of miles more to the run.

  3. The better half has recently talked me into slimmer-fitting pants as well. I don't mean hipster-tight, but properly-fitted. Many of the otherwise good pairs that I find around seem to be cut with far too much fabric down the legs, so that they fit well up above, but swish about lower down. Surely this wasn't a clothiers' concession to obesity, though-- why do they do this? It does seem that if you shell out for extremely expensive pants, they don't have this problem-- more or less the same as with shirts in that regard.

  4. I contend that the biggest problem in men's fashion today is fit -- everything is too baggy. Part of the problem is there's no consistency in fitting -- I wear a medium in Polo, but I have to wear an XL in some shirts (problem with a 10" drop). Also, I can never tell what the difference is between "classic," "traditional," "tailored," or "slim" cuts. I guess I should look into tailoring some of my nicer shirts.

  5. YWP,

    The RL slim fits are called "Custom" which is what I typically wear, because I have broad shoulders, but a very thin mid-section. Traditional cuts are called "Classic." I've actually found Boys 18-20 to be even better for me, personally, but that's a fairly recent development in my closet.

    However,"Yarmouth" refers to a heavier knit than "Blake." The "Yarmouth" is requires more care.

  6. *Kionon: Your 3rd sentence is now my favorite comment segment, and I salute you for exquisite and HILARIOUS (unintended) double entendre.

  7. "What on earth is he talking about..." *Reads sentence. Reads it again.* "...Oh. OOOOOH. Yeowch."

    Presuming there is someone with a particularly dense brain cavity, I meant that over the last three years or so, I've found myself purchasing Ralph Lauren OCBDs in boys size 18-20 (Boys XL). While it's none of anyone's nevermind, the other reading is... inaccurate, shall we say.

  8. I know... don't worry. I couldn't resist. Full disclosure: I fall under the category of 'dense brain cavity'.

  9. What tailor in Boston will take in a shirt in for $10.00?

    Very fair price.


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