why are dress shirts so baggy

Why Are Dress Shirts So Baggy?

A dress shirt is usually the most formal shirt a man owns and one that every man should own at least one of. After-all, the dress shirt is the foundation for every formal outfit: the dapper office suit, that special black-tie getup and even the smart- casual shirt and trouser combo.

While today’s dress shirts can come in various colours and patterns, the overall DNA of the shirt remains unchanged and traditional. A buttoned up front with a collar and long cuffed sleeves. That’s usually what comes to mind, right?


Identifying the shirt itself is often the easiest part. The problem for many men however, is finding a shirt that fits well and compliments the rest of his formal attire. Wear a shirt that is too big and baggy and it can look unflattering. At the same time, you don’t want a shirt that is too tight or restrictive.

Why are dress shirts so baggy?

That’s why getting your shirt to fit properly from the offset is quite frankly, the most important thing to consider when buying one. Essentially, if you get it right at the foundation, you’re guaranteed to have the compliments about your sharp dress sense rolling in in no time. 

Here’s the thing though, it is easier for men to tell if their shirts are too small but it’s not always so clear cut when the shirt is baggy. What can you actually do with a baggy shirt?

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Can you still wear an oversized shirt if you’ve already bought one? How do you ensure that you buy a well-fitting shirt to avoid these problems in the first place? Don’t worry, we’ve got some useful advice to getting it right from the start. Plus some tips and tricks to making it work if you already have a baggy dress shirt!

Are dress shirts supposed to be baggy?

In short, no. A dress shirt should not be baggy but nor should it be too small or restrict your movement. That being said, it’s often easier to tell if your shirt is too tight on your body.

Any man will know the struggle of wearing a shirt that is one size too small because in most cases, it’s just uncomfortable. Whereas in terms of an oversized fit, many men might simply not realise that their shirt is too big for them.

Why Are Dress Shirts So Baggy?

The best way to check for an ill-fitting shirt is to try it on in front of a mirror and check to see if it 1. Hides your body shape under layers of unnecessary fabric. And 2. It bunches up at the bottom and around the back of the shirt when it is tucked in to your trousers. 

When you tuck your shirt in, it might look fine from the front or side but if it is bunching up at the back, then you clearly have a baggy shirt and one that will do nothing for your physique or your overall finished look. 

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If your shirt is baggy, it might look over-sized on your shoulders and chest too which will only serve to swamp your frame and throw off the rest of your formal look. Your shirt should not have too much material hanging from your shoulders as this can make even the sleekest of suits look poorly fitted.

Another way your shirt can look baggy is when tucked in to your trousers, there will be an excess of material hanging over the top of your trouser waistband. This can make you look wider around the stomach area and no one wants their suit to look bumpy and ill-fitting.

How Should A Dress Shirt Fit? 

The perfect fit for a dress shirt is one that conforms well to the chest without being too tight that it restricts your arm movements or too big that it hides your body under layers of fabric. You will be able to tell if it is the right size when you try it on, as most importantly, you’ll feel comfortable.

properly fitted dress shirt

You will also notice that the shirt is form fitting to your chest. A perfect fitting shirt will be snug on your chest without being too tight and will rightly show off your shape. If you’re still not sure if it is the right fit however, try moving your arms around, if you feel too restricted then you have a small shirt.

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Whereas if you notice a puffing of the shirt around the back and the shoulders then you’ve got yourself an oversized fit. Instead the shirt should sit taunt on the body.

A correct fitting shirt should also finish just below the beltline, so that it can be tucked into your trousers. The shirt should have some movement when tucked in but not too much that it puffs up. 

fitted black dress shirt, thats not baggy

Trying on a shirt with the trousers that you would wear it with, can be a great way of checking how the piece will look as part of the ensemble. If you think that the shirt might be big for you, try it on with your trousers and jacket to give you a clearer idea of how it will look as a whole. This can also save you time and money later on.

Why is my dress shirt baggy?

Your dress shirt may be baggy simply because you have bought the wrong size for your body. Knowing your shirt size at the start can really help you to pick a shirt that is right for you and prevent you from wasting money on one that won’t flatter your body. If you are not sure what size you are, getting measured before buying your shirt can also save you hassle later on.

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Of course your shirt might be baggy because it is the wrong shape too. If you happen to be on the slim side, then you will likely want to choose a slim fitting shirt over a regular or loose fitting style. Getting the shape can be just as crucial as the size. Again, if you are not sure about what shape would suit you best, talking to a menswear advisor can help you make the right choice.

How do you make a dress shirt less baggy?

If you do happen to have a shirt that is slightly too baggy for you, then fear not, because not all hope is lost and there are actually a few things that you can do to fix the issue.

One of the best ways to fix a baggy shirt is to visit a tailor and have it altered to your specific fit. An expert in men’s tailoring will certainly know how to adjust the shirt to fit you and flatter your body.

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While there are additional costs to tailoring your clothes, in the long run it can be a great investment that will prevent you from having to buy another expensive shirt. A good tailor can really help you to get the best out of your shirt, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice, especially if you have bought a shirt that you can’t return. By having your shirt adjusted to your fit with some darts and nips, can undoubtedly make you feel even more confident in your clothes. 

Another way to make your dress shirt less baggy (if it is not too oversized) is to go ahead and wear it but employ a a few simple tricks to hide any excess material. If your shirt is ever so slightly baggy, using the military tuck method can stop the shirt from riding up at the back and keep it in place.

To achieve the military tuck, pinch some of the fabric from the seams on both sides and create a pleat motion, tucking it tightly behind your back, pulling tightly so that the front of your shirt is taut. Tuck into your trousers and ensure that your belt is tightened enough to keep your shirt from moving.

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If you want an even easier trick to make your dress shirt less baggy consider washing it in hot water. While this can shrink the entire shirt, including any areas that you don’t want to be shrunk, if it’s a case of your shirt being far more baggy then it should be, then putting it in a hot wash can help to expand and contract the fibres in the fabric. Be sure to check the care label first before washing.

Dress shirts that aren’t baggy

If you are looking for a shirt that fits well, compliments your body and is perfect for any occasion, then check out Tapered Menswear. Our tapered shirts are cut and made to fit seamlessly to the body and reduce the unnecessary amount of material around the waist.

fitted light blue dress shirt with no bagging

The expertly V-shape cut will also fit perfectly to the shoulders and chest, while the enhanced darts in the back of the shirt will give you that tailored quality and reduce the amount of fabric in the back. But don’t just take our word for it, give our shirts a try for yourself and see how they can transform your formal style!

click here to shop Tapered fit shirts


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