I am friggin’ excited as heck to finally present our first how-to video! In this episode, the kind and gorgeous Alaina guides the delightful and handsome Lauren through the process of garnering measurements that will enable dapperQ’s to much more confidently shop in the men’s department.
I selected this as the first how-to topic for a variety of reasons including: a.) there are a lot of well-priced shirt options at in the men’s department stores like Macy’s, b.) NOBODY tries on shirts in the men’s department or even takes them out of the wrapper — just ain’t done, c.) it took years before a salesperson offered to measure me, and d.) a whole new world opened up once she did.
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.
View it, grab your numbers with help from someone whose got two fingers, and head to your nearest men’s store where sales abound. Buy something, try it on, share with us how it works!
Of course, even if you buy the closest men’s size, it still may not fit right. In the next few days, we will be posting a follow-up episode in which Alaina addresses common fit problems and tailoring solutions.
UPDATE 9/5/12 by Anita Dolce Vita: Many of you have noted that there are two important issues not covered in the video: chest size and neck size. Let’s start with the former.
If you are new to buying men’s dress shirts, you probably do not know the standard sizes of various brands. Since this post, we published a men’s and boy’s apparel size conversion chart. However, since there is no industry standard for sizing practices, sizes range wildly between brands. You will probably have to do a great deal of trying on before you find a few brands that fit you best. The size on dress shirts are based neck size (top number on the label), but some shirts may or may not list the corresponding chest size (usually bottom number on the label), which can be problematic for many dapperQs. Neck and approximate corresponding chest measurements are listed in our chart. As one of our readers suggested, you may need to go a up full size if you want to accommodate breasts and large chests, and then get the excess fabric removed by a tailor.
As for the neck. I’m sorry to inform folks, but it appears that, aside from slight adjustments, little can be done in the way of taking the neck “in” for people who have small necks and large chests. You can try classic women’s dress shirts without front darting. American Apparel sells a small selection of unisex button-down shirts that may be an option. Brooks Brothers offers cuts that have a unique back dart that somewhat resembles the styles found on Italian menswear shirts. Sonia Oram at Qwear suggests an affordable custom-made shirt from Ratio Clothing.