Dress Shirts That Fit!

One of the biggest challenges dapperQ’s face is finding shirts that fit our bodies- from the neckline to the chest to the waist- and that challenge can be a real deal breaker when it comes to styling.  Learn more about how to measure yourself for a shirt from Lauren here:

Here’s some additional information from Alaina:

Friendly sales rep Clifford raises a knowing eyebrow and smiles when I tell him the subject of this blog. Macy’s (Herald Square, New York, NY. According to Clifford, Macy’s carries plenty of 14 ½ s, but no 14s. “Michael Kors, Geoffrey Beene, and DKNY…the high end brands,” Clifford smirks. Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss too, but his department doesn’t carry them any more.

And what about us ample-hipped and voluptuously-breasted DapperQs? He recommends Tommy, Polo, and Nautica, all of which offer “full” or “classic” lines with generously cut torsos.

And once you get that puppy home, Alaina offers some ways to consider tailoring it in this DapperQ exclusive!

Susan Herr (Founder, Emeritus)

As a teacher, nonprofit executive, and entrepreneur, Susan is passionately committed to advancing ideas that matter. She founded dapperQ in 2009 on the hunch that fashion could build solidarity in the GLBTQ community and positive visibility for her peers in the broader media landscape. For her work with dapperQ, Susan has been quoted and featured in media outlets that include the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Daily Beast, Curve, and Diva. She was also named to Go Magazine’s 100 Women We Love. She pays the bills as managing director for Trigger Creative, a film production company based in Brooklyn where she lives with her wife Shannon.

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26 Comments

  • Jake says:

    I’m sure it’s a challenge for a dapperQ to find shirts that fit your bodies. Guess what? Guys (I mean “biological males”) have a difficult time finding shirts that fit, too.

    I have a suggestion: buy custom shirts.

    Sure, you’ll probably get some grief from a tailor or two, but my guess is that they want the business more than Loehman’s on 7th Avenue or Macy’s NYC. That means your money’s just as green as my money. I’m sure there are plenty of custom shops waiting for dapperQ business. Their fitting rooms are probably nicer than department stores, too. And anyone calling themselves dapper- anything should be wearing bespoke anyway.

    Of course, this is just a rough, off-the-(french)cuff post, but I think that this is a viable and intriguing solution to a very real dilemma. This site is about dialogue, right? Thoughts? Suggestions? Anyone have any experiences to share?

  • DapperQ says:

    Thanks for this, Jake. Avatarkoo just sent me a link about Brooklyn Tailors which are making custom shirts. Site says only for men now. Will contact to see if they are up dapperQ’s cuz the shirts look gorgeous…

  • robin cloud says:

    I’ve been having a lot of luck with American Apparel’s extra small and just discovered some classic pieces at Muji. Perfect fit!

  • Chill says:

    Express for Him, size small, Modern fit works for me.

  • Sarah J says:

    I agree with the Muji shout-out; there men’s shirts fit surprisingly well. I have had mixed results with American Apparel shirts. The design and patterns of the shirts are super sharp, but they are basically just guys shirts. The small or mediums get noticeably and unattractively tight in the hip region.

    I have had good luck with the tailored fit women’s shirts at Brooks Brothers, the slim fit women’s shirts at J Crew, and some women’s shirts at Ben Sherman. But with all of these places, when you shop in the women’s section the patterns and colors of button ups are just not as sharp as those found in the gent’s section. Sometimes you luck out with a nice find, however.

    While I can’t afford straight up custom shirts — I’m a librarian after all — I have had good luck buying men’s shirts that are a little too big and getting them tapered and hemmed. My tailor is great and affordable. The place is called Nelson Tailor. He is located on the LES and charges $12 to taper/tailor a shirt and $25 to completely restructure pants. He has made many of my cloths totally dapperific. Yeyah!

  • Steven C. says:

    Could someone explain to me what needs to be done to a mens shirt to make it fit a dapper q?

  • Dana Variano says:

    Here here! We’re trying to find out the answer to this question ourselves, and have some stylists/tailors working on it. Watch for our “how-to” video series that will explain how to do things like this on your own. Until then, however- who has some advice for Steven? I usually go with boys dept. shirts myself, as the sleeves are the right length and the shoulders aren’t too boxy. But that only works if you’re 5′ 3″ or so…

  • CC says:

    @Jake: I think the problem is that most places in the world won’t understand why a woman would even want a “men’s” shirt. Women aren’t going to automatically get tailored service, not even here in NYC (although of course it is easier than other places).

    @Steven: What needs to make a men’s shirt fit a dapper Q is understanding that many women’s bodies have breasts, wider waists, narrower shoulders and shorter torsos. Although there are women’s tailored shirts, they often have little pockets, or lace, or a tapered cut that it supposed to fit the contours of a woman’s body. But dapper Qs (women, transmen, and the whole transmasculine gamut) don’t want their clothes to fit like this: http://products.tedbaker.com/FIRA_05-GREY_78730/affwnd/3890_633894779199639861.jpg

    They want their clothes to fit like this: http://www.frankcasey.co.nz/images/suit_ferraro_00.jpg

    Looser, longer lines, wider shoulders.

    That’s my two bits, coming from a femme who understands her girlfriend’s needs!

  • Beck says:

    One of the great decadent delights of the Southern lesbian… Billy Reid… Southern gentlemen’s clothing and custom-embroidered bespoke suits. Because I need to feel like a cowboy sometimes. They do all their own tailoring and killer custom-made pieces.

    http://www.billyreid.com/

    Of course, my next challenge will be finding a sports bra that doesn’t (in the words of my sister) “make my boobs look like they’re down to my waist…” Such struggles ;_;

  • I think I first came across your website via a link on Twitter.. Love the stuff I have seen so far and will absolutely revisit to read more later. By the way, are you on Twitter?

  • DapperQ says:

    Yes we do: @dapperQ

  • Floh says:

    Has anyone tried services like http://www.moderntailor.com/? Do they work? I am considering giving it a shot. I have a teeny tiny frame though.

  • Robert Bell says:

    Hi,
    I would like to share about affordable shirts.
    Pickashirt.com’s objective is to offer you a quality custom hand tailored shirt to your measurements and your designs that is affordable and painless to order.
    http://www.pickashirt.com
    Robert Bell
    GPO Box 942
    Melbourne
    VIC 3001, Australia
    ABN: 30 309 426 585

  • Lindsay says:

    Hi, I’ve had this problem for years being French and living in NYC I had a hard time finding shirts to sit my slimmer frame. Tried custom shirts and high fashion designer brands – all were nice, but far far to expensive.

    I solved my dilemma by starting my own brand of shirt http://www.plamour.com – Dress shirts that a distinguished, fun, the highest quality at a reasonable price!!!
    ENJOY!

  • Dykester says:

    @ Lindsay,

    I checked out your site and I really like the design on your dress shirts. However, when I went to the sizing chart, I was disappointed because the smallest size you offer is still too large for my frame. My neck is 13.5, not 14. And 33 for sleeve length is much too long. I’m not sure about the other measurements, but based on the first two, would assume they are also too big.

    Any chance you would start manufacturing dress shirts in an XXS?

    Let us know if you do!

  • Robert Bell says:

    Pickashirt.com’s objective is to offer you a quality custom hand tailored shirt to your measurements and your designs that is affordable and painless to order.

  • Desi says:

    Some brands…J. Crew, LL Bean, Gap, and the like (even Ann Taylor) will offer some clothes for women that is the female version of menswear: khaki’s, (Gap’s Clean Cut kakhi; Old Navy’s “Diva” skinny jean) button-down shirts (Ann Taylor loft button downs), etc. Worn just a little bit loose, these choices offer a cut that fits the female body but don’t hug, grip or necessarily feminize. You’ll sacrifice pockets–designers seem to think women don’t need pockets (they’re in cahoots with people who make purses/handbags!) but if you’re small, like moi, this is a good option for those who like a more tailored look, don’t like the boxy/bagginess of men’s clothes, and who want to avoid the whole going-to-the-tailor thing. Again, women’s clothes, loose fit. Try one size up. Also, try UniQlo (SoHo) for smaller men’s sizes. Asian and European menswear in general will have smaller sizes. The U.S. and Australia have gone overboard in the baggy look. Side note: US manufacturers manipulate/fluctuate sizes to make women feel smaller than they are, and men feel bigger than they are. (!)

  • Robert Bell says:

    Pickashirt.com’s objective is to offer you a quality custom hand tailored shirt to your measurements and your designs that is affordable and painless to order.
    http://www.pickashirt.com

  • Marco says:

    I am posting this review for sharing my positive experience with all of you that love wearing shirts made to measure. I come across Piacemolto web site, an Italian e-tailor shop where I bought two shirts made to measure. Honestly the quality of fabrics and the handmanship exceed my expectation; a right quality/price trade-off.
    I suggest you to have a look at it and find out all the shirts details offert from this e-tailor shop. Last but not the least…the buttons are made of mother and not plastic as commonly used. I hope you will find this post useful.

  • Mal says:

    I’ve been trying to find good fashion everywhere for a while, i stumbled upon asian fashion, i have yet to try to order myself, but it seems like it could work(YAY). If you know your measurements then korean, chinese and japanese fashion which you can order online might work. The sizes are smaller, but i don’t know how it will work in regards to breast size or hips. But they have a lot of cool stuff and i would definitely give it a shot. Try out http://www.yesstyle.com, which is in English, has a huge selection of awesome stuff and delivers to selected countries in Europe and the US for reasonable fees(thank god for that, cuz those fees suck). Also, i discovered that the “one size” stuff often are in small sizes, just check the measurements that are listed for the item, if it’s bellow or at 40cm (16 inches) in shoulder width then it’ll probably fit depending on how small you are. Has anyone else taken a shot at asian fashion?

  • marco says:

    Hi I submit you your attetion an italian shirtmaker:

    http://www.fattosumisura.it/public/Docs/shop/index.asp

    There is a section that describe how to judge a good quality shirt.

  • Jo Moreau says:

    As I have a fairly ‘andro’ body – relatively narrow hips and broader than average shoulders – men’s shirts would fit me rather well were it not for the excessive breast size I’m lumbered with. One solution is a sports compression T which flattens me down a little, but this can get rather hot when worn under a shirt and I’d prefer not to be hot and sweaty in most circumstances.
    I recently decided to try the services of an online tailor. They sent me an email querying my shoulder measurement (18″) and the length of the sleeve. Apparently I have short arms for a bloke!
    I expect to take delivery of my tux and dress shirt within the week – I’ll let you know the outcome!

  • DapperQ says:

    Awesome. Photos, too, please!

  • I’ll suggest you to use quality custom hand tailored shirt to your measurements and your designs that is affordable and painless to order.

  • Susan Herr says:

    This continues to be solid advice.

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