How to Stretch a Shirt, Tapered Menswear

How to Stretch a Shirt

Although mass-produced clothes and fitted shirts are very useful in terms of price and availability, one of their biggest drawbacks is that they don’t accommodate all body types.

Granted, most of the population can find an appropriate fit in the size range available, but this isn’t the case for everyone.

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One group that often struggles with finding a comfortable, stretch muscle fit shirt is muscular guys. If you’ve been putting the work in the gym, then you’ll probably struggle to find shirts that are wide enough around your chest and arms, but also fitted enough around the waist.

Realistically you have a couple of options, and one of the more appealing options can be to stretch your shirts.

Stretch shirts by Tapered Menswear

This article looks at how to stretch a dress shirt, but also looks at whether this is really worth it, or whether there are any other options.

Check out our range of stretch shirts right here.

How to stretch a shirt out

If you’re going to start trying to stretch a shirt, make sure you start with a good quality one. It should be 100% cotton, as polyester blends have little or no give in the material.

While the shirt doesn’t need to be particularly expensive, very cheap cotton shirts generally have a lower thread count, which makes them more likely to tear if you stretch them too hard.

When it comes to sizing, it obviously makes sense to choose a slightly smaller size, as you’ll want the shirt to be fitted in some areas and then made wider in the areas that need it.

Muscular guys who want to look good generally choose smaller sizes for this reason, but it’s definitely worth mentioning here.


It’s also probably worth trying this on an old shirt before you go out and buy any new ones to stretch because it might take a few attempts to get the fit right. 

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Ways to stretch a cotton shirt

Method 1: Soaking the shirt in water

How to stretch a shirt - soak
  1. Wash your shirt 

Fabric will stretch much easier when it’s wet, which is similarly the reason you have to reshape some clothes after washing. You can wash it either by hand or in the machine, as it’s only really to make it wet. Whichever method you choose, make sure you use cold water as this will prevent the shirt from shrinking any further. On your washing machine select cold wash - anything below 30 degrees.


How to stretch a shirt - lay flat


2. Lay your shirt out

While it’s still wet, lay the shirt on a flat surface. If you’ve washed by hand, make sure you wring the shirt out before doing this. Either way, lay the shirt on a towel and make sure it’s flat and has no creases.



 3. Stretch the shirtHow to stretch a shirt - pull the fabric

    Stretch the material in the areas where you  want it to be larger. Wet cotton has a surprising amount of give in it, and you might find that the chest area has up to 5cm give in it. Similarly, the arms can have 2-3cm give in them.


    How to stretch a shirt - leaving to dry

     4. Leave it to dry

    Now simply leave the shirt on the towel to dry. Once it’s completely dry, try it on and see if it’s worked!



    How to stretch out a shirt fast: Use conditioner

    Hair conditioner?! That's right, I recommend using a branded conditioner that's been well tested.

    Check out this step by step DIY tutorial by Jair Woo. Granted this relates to clothing shrinking in the wash but the principles remain the same.


    1. Fill the sink with water

     Fill the sink or bath with enough cold water to soak the shirt, and add 50-60ml of hair conditioner.

    If you don’t have any conditioner. Add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar too and give everything a good stir. Using white vinegar such as Jocker Woods leaves a pleasant smell on the garment and saves you having to rewash! 

    2. Leave the shirt to soak

    Let the shirt soak for about 15 minutes. When putting the shirt in the water, make sure it’s kept as flat as possible. You can lay it flat in the bath, but fold it before soaking it in the sink. 

    3. Drain the water

    Drain the water and replace with fresh. Squeeze the shirt gently in the water to remove the conditioner, and leave to soak for another 5 minutes. Keep rinsing and soaking the shirt until all the conditioner has been rinsed out.

    4. Stretch

    Roll the shirt up in two towels to dry it, and then lay on a flat surface. Exactly the same as before, stretch the shirt in the areas that need making larger. You should then leave it to dry and check to see if it’s worked.

    If you need it stretched more, you can just repeat this method. For the best results, iron immediately.


    Method 3: Stretch with some weight

    An option on how to stretch a shirt without water - Apply some paper weights to manipulate the size of the shirt fabric. Using paper weights will provide a more even spread on the shirt.

    If you’ve used one of the above methods, you may want to use weights on the shirt to keep it stretched out. On the edges of the shirt, place the paper weights that will keep the shirt stretched-out in place.

    You can also place items inside the shirt depending on where you want the shirt to be stretched out.

     How to make a shirt bigger 

    As we've shown you can make a tight shirt bigger by stretching the shirt out. Stretching a shirt isn't necessarily a lot of work but is stretching a shirt really worth it?



    This can depend on a few things, such as the quality and choice of material and how much extra room you need. While stretching a shirt might work for some people, the results vary too much to say whether it’s completely worth it.

    Similarly, off-the-rack shirts don’t offer a particularly good fit to begin with. Sure, plenty of people can find shirts that fit, but that doesn't mean they fit well.

    They can be baggy in some places and tight in others, and that’s on the same person! Plenty of people suffer from these issues, but it’s particularly the case for muscular guys. 

    How to stretch a shirt - Tapered MenswearWhite Tapered Fit Shirt

    There’s also the fact that, while cotton does have a bit of stretch to it, it doesn’t necessarily stay stretched.

    A cotton shirt will generally shrink during a wash, so you’d have to do this every time. Other fabrics, such as polyester, rayon and wool, have varying levels of stretch, but come with a range of other problems too.


    What’s the solution? Should I stretch a shirt myself?

    If any of these issues sound all too familiar, then you’re in the right place. We’re proud to introduce our Tapered Fit Shirts, which are designed specifically for men with a more muscular build.

    They have a high spandex blend, which, when combined with cotton, offers a shirt with all the comfort and breathability you need, but with plenty of extra stretch. 

    white stretch shirt by Tapered Menswear


    click here to shop stretch shirts

    Our Tapered Fit Shirts offer  Four way stretch giving you comfort and control in your lats.
    Feel the cotton stretch across your back.

    Navy Tapered Fit Shirt and Olive Tapered Fit Shirt

    Why wear clothes that don’t show off all the effort you’ve put in to maintaining a good physique? Our Tapered Shirts offer plenty of give where you need it, but without sacrificing a more tailored fit in other areas.

    It always used to be the case that formal wear was unflattering or uncomfortable, but no longer. The best shirts for a muscular build. Our Tapered collection also includes muscle fit t-shirts and muscle fit polos.


    click here to shop stretch shirts

    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.

    shop now


    Stretch Cotton

    Super soft, breathable and allows complete freedom of movement.

    shop now

    Perfect for the office. 

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

    Tapered Fit Shirts are the true solution to your shirt fitting problem. If you want a shirt that fits your body like it should, check out or best selling shirt here 


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