How to Measure Shoulder Width for a Shirt by Tapered Menswear

How to Measure Shoulder Width for a Shirt

Finding the perfect shirt often begins with knowing your exact measurements. One of the key measurements is your shoulder width. 

But how do you measure your shoulder width for a shirt? To measure your shoulder width for a shirt, stand upright. Use a flexible measuring tape to measure the distance from one shoulder to the other, across the back. Follow the natural curve of the shoulders.

In this blog, I'll dive into this in more detail. I'll provide perfect fitting shirts right here at Tapered Menswear.


best fitting shirts at Tapered Menswear with perfect shoulder width


What You Need to Measure Shoulders for a Shirt

Measuring your shoulder width requires a few basic items:

First get yourself a flexible measuring tape. This will contour to your body, providing a precise measurement. Avoid using rigid rulers or construction tapes.

Also it's handy to grab a well-fitted shirt (for reference). If you already own a shirt that fits well in the shoulders, you can use it as a benchmark. Compare your measurements with this shirt. It will help you understand what measurements work for you.

How Do You Measure Your Shoulders For A Shirt?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to accurately measure your shoulders:

  1. Stand in a Natural Position: Stand in front of the mirror with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your posture natural and relaxed. Your arms should be at your sides, and your shoulders should be in a neutral position, not hunched or pulled back.

  2. Find the Points to Measure. Identify the end of one shoulder. This is where the shoulder's flat and vertical planes meet. Do this for both shoulders. These points are where you’ll place the ends of your measuring tape.

  3. Position the Measuring Tape: Hold one end of the measuring tape at the point on one shoulder. Use your fingers to keep it in place. If you have a helper, ask them to do this step for you.

  4. Extend the Tape Across Your Back. Stretch the measuring tape from one shoulder to the other. Put the tape at the top of your shoulders. This spot lines up with the bottom seam of a shirt's sleeve.

  5. Keep the Tape Level: Make sure the tape is straight and level, not twisted. The tape should be in contact with your skin or shirt all along your back but not pulled tight. It should follow the natural curve of your shoulders.


how to measure shoulder width showing white tapered shirt


Should I Measure my Shoulders With or Without Clothes On?

Shoulder measurements should be taken topless or while wearing a very thin t-shirt. Thick clothing can add bulk around your shoulders, leading to a misleading measurement. 

You dont want clothing to alter your natural shoulder shape. Loose clothes will change your measurements. Adding even a small amount of extra width due to clothing can result in a shirt that's too large in the shoulder area.

When a tailor measures someone, they prefer to measure over thin clothing. The thin fabric provides a barrier without compromising the accuracy of the measurement.

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How Wide Should Shirt Shoulders Be?

The width of a shirt's shoulders should align with your natural shoulder line. The seam where the shirt sleeve attaches should sit exactly where the shoulder ends. That's where the arm begins. 

The right shoulder width not only looks good but makes it comfortable too! Even if you have broad shoulders.


how to measure shoulder width showing white tapered fit shirt


It allows for ease of movement while maintaining the shirt's structure. A fitted shoulder seam lies flat. It has no wrinkles or puckering. This ensures the fabric flows over the chest and back.

What Shoulder Width is XL?

In general, an XL shirt accommodates a shoulder width of around 17 to 18 inches. But remember, sizing varies between brands, so it’s always best to check the specific brand’s sizing chart.

What if My Shoulder Measurements Fall Between Two Sizes?

If you find yourself in-between sizes, consider the fit you prefer. For a looser fit, go for the larger size, and for a more snug fit, choose the smaller size.

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Shoulder Width Measurement Chart

Below is our size chart for our dress shirts here at Tapered Menswear. This gives a good idea on shoulder width size.

Size Chest (in) Waist (in) Bicep (in) Shoulder Width (in)
S 20.1 16.3 7.1 8.3
M 21.1 17.1 7.3 8.7
L 22.4 18.3 7.5 9.1
XL 23.4 18.9 8.1 9.4
XXL 24.4 19.9 8.5 9.8
3XL 25.4 20.9 8.9 10.2
4XL 26.4 21.9 9.3 10.6


Size Chest (cm) Waist (cm) Bicep (cm) Shoulder Width
S 51 41.5 18 21
M 53.5 43.5 18.5 22
L 57 46.5 19 23
XL 59.5 48 20.5 24
XXL 62 50.5 21.5 25
3XL 64.5 53 22.5 26
4XL 67 55.5 23.5 27


Understanding how to measure your shoulder width is so important. It’s a simple process thats often overlooked. but has a significant impact on how you look and feel in your clothes. 

This is especially true for mens shirts. You might find some that fit in the shoulders but sag at the waist. Sound familiar? 

Tapered was born through this exact struggle providing our unique Tapered Fit Shirts.

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Our TAPERED fit shirt has been developed by leading Tailors and industry experts to provide you with a revolutionary fit, you won’t ever need to take your shirt to a tailor again or give lots of different measurements.

Perfect for those seeking a muscular fit, or bespoke tailoring - ready to wear! For athletes looking for a perfect muscle fit shirt, considered the best shirts for a muscular build. 

Our revolutionary cut provides a 10" drop from chest to waist.
Fully fitted in chest and shoulders whilst tapering sharply down, giving a tailored look. No more bagginess in the waist.


Enhanced Darts

Expertly tailored darts at the back, for the perfect fit.



Stretch Cotton

Super soft, breathable and allows complete freedom of movement.


Perfect for the office. 

With our non obtrusive logo stitched subtly on the wrist makes our TAPERED Fit Shirt ideal for formal occasions.


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