How to measure chest size for men.

A man holds a fabric tape measure that will be used to measure chest size.

If you’re buying new shirts or tops, it’s important to get the right fit. This ensures the item is comfortable to wear and looks just right. It’s even more critical for formal items like dress shirts and suits. You might guess your size when shopping, but is it accurate?

If you find that some of your clothes are a little tight around the chest or collar, or have sleeves that are too long, it could be time to measure yourself.

One of the most important measurements is chest size. Read on to find out how to take perfect chest measurements, along with those all-important collar and arm measurements.

How to measure your chest.

To measure your chest, simply follow these steps:

  1. Stand up straight, with your arms by your sides. You might want to remove your shirt, to get a more accurate measurement.
  2. Pass a fabric measuring tape around the fullest part of your chest. This is just under your armpits, on or above the nipple line. If you’re doing this yourself, it could be useful to stand in front of a mirror for this.
  3. Make sure the measuring tape isn’t twisted, so it sits flat against your skin. It should also be parallel with the ground (so not at an angle). It should be snug against your body, but not uncomfortably tight.
  4. Make a note of the number in inches and centimetres. This is your chest measurement. If you’re buying a dress shirt or other item that you’d like to fit slightly loosely, you can add two inches to the measurement when selecting your size.

It can be tricky taking these measurements on your own, so it may be handy to have a family member or friend on hand to help.

Of course, if you already own a shirt that fits perfectly, you may not need to follow these steps. You can simply check the measurements and select the same size when buying new shirts.

How to measure shoulder width.

For some items of clothing, you might need additional measurements such as shoulder width. This is sometimes required for tailored garments, such as dress shirts, suits, blazers and jackets.

To measure your shoulder width, you’re going to need assistance from someone else. These measurements are taken across the top part of your back, so you may struggle to get an accurate reading yourself.

While you stand up straight with your shoulders relaxed, your helper will need to find your shoulder points (where your shoulder meets your arms). This should be the broadest parts of your shoulders. They should measure the space between these two points, ensuring the tape measure is flat against your back.

If you don’t have anyone to help though, don’t worry. There is a trick you can use to get your shoulder measurements. All you need to do is find a shirt that fits you well, and measure between the shoulder seams.

How to measure collar size.

Collar size is another critical measurement for ensuring a comfortable fit, particularly for shirts. Get it wrong, and the shirt may dig into your neck. The top button may not even fasten. Too loose, and the smart appearance of formal shirts will be spoiled.

Here’s how to measure collar size, and again it helps to have an assistant:

  1. Pass a measuring tape around your neck, an inch below your Adam’s apple.
  2. Keep two fingers between the tape measure and your neck, or the collar will be too tight.
  3. The number on the measuring tape is your collar or neck size, although you might want to round up to the next half inch for extra comfort.

How to measure arm length.

Lastly, we come to arm length. Getting the right measurement here ensures the sleeves of shirts, jackets, coats and other long-sleeved items aren’t too short or long.

Arm length measurements are taken from two places, then added together. With the help of someone else, measure from the nape of your neck to your shoulder joint. Then, from your shoulder joint down to the end of your wrist. Add these two measurements together, and you have your arm length.

An easier way to do this is to find a similar shirt or jacket that fits you well. Then, simply measure along the seams from neck to wrist.

Bear in mind that you aren’t likely to need all these measurements when shopping for clothes. Chest size is the most important measurement for most shirts and tops. However, it can be useful to know how to take other measurements like collar size and arm length, just in case you need to buy a formal suit or tailored shirt in the future.

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