Is your dress shirt a size or two too big? You can't expect to create an attractive, cohesive formal outfit without a proper-fitting dress shirt. If it's too big, it will look baggy and unflattering -- and that's exactly what you want to avoid. So, what should you do if your dress shirt is too big?
Get the Right Size
Ideally, you should buy dress shirts in the right size to avoid this problem. Whether you shop online or in store, invest the necessary time and energy into finding the right size. Different brands use different sizing, however. Just because you wear a small size in one brand of dress shirt doesn't necessarily mean that wear a small in a different brand. When shopping for a dress shirt, pay attention to the brand's specific measurements. You'll generally find that most brands provide specific measurements for their sizes. A small, for example, may feature a collar spread of 14 to 15 inches, a chest width of 36 to 37 inches, a sleeve length of 32 to 33 inches, and a waist width of 29 to 30 inches.
Choose a Slim Fit
Another tip to avoid this problem is to choose a slim-fit dress shirt. As the name suggests, this style is designed to hug the body for a slimmer fit. There's less excess fabric, with slim-fit dress shirts almost contouring to the shape of your body. Choosing this style will ensure that your dress shirt isn't too big. Furthermore, most fashion-forward people will agree that slim-fit dress shirts look better and more formal than traditional styles.
Get It Tailored
Of course, choosing a slim-fit dress shirt in the right size is only an option if you are shopping for a dress shirt. If you've already purchased a dress shirt that's too big, you'll need to consider an alternative solution, such as having it tailored. Regardless of where you live, there's probably a professional tailor nearby who can adjust your dress shirt so that it fits better. Depending on the specific type of shirt, as well as the complexity of adjusting it, a tailor might charge $20 to $30 for this service. That may seem expensive, but you have to think of it as an investment. A tailoring service can turn an otherwise unwearable dress shirt into the perfect shirt for your formal outfits, thereby making it a smart investment.
Wash In Hot Water
An age-old trick used to shrink oversized clothes, including dress shirts, is to wash them in hot water. Exposure to hot water will cause the fabric to expand, followed by contracting. This thermodynamics will, in turn, shrink your dress shirt. Before proceeding with this process, though, you should check the care label on your dress shirt.
Wear a Suit Jacket
This won't necessarily make an oversized dress shirt fit better, but it can minimize the impact that it has on your outfit. Assuming you wear your dress shirt with a suit, be sure to wear a suit jacket -- and keep it buttoned (except for the bottom button, which you should leave undone). When you wear a jacket, it will conceal your dress shirt, preventing other people from noticing that it's too big. This should only be used as a temporary solution, though. If your dress shirt is too big, you need to consider a more permanent solution for the long term.
Tuck It In
Another way to create the appearance of a slimmer, better-fitting dress shirt is to tuck it into your trousers. You may already do this, especially if you wear it in conjunction with a suit. Rather than using an ordinary, messy tuck, however, you should consider using the military tuck. Invented by the U.S. military, it involves pinching a small amount of your shirt's fabric on each side at the bottom and tucking it into the top of your trousers. The military tuck is simple, but most importantly, it offers a superior level of strength and security. You can move around all day without having your dress shirt come untucked. This is important if your dress shirt is too big because having it come untucked will create the appearance of an even larger shirt.
Wear an Undershirt
Again, wearing an undershirt won't make your dress shirt smaller, but it can make it look and fit better. If your dress shirt is too big, an undershirt will "fatten" your body, so to speak. Without an undershirt, the dress shirt will rest directly against your chest. And with excess fabric, it will create an unflattering appearance. To fix this problem, wear a thick undershirt underneath your dress shirt. Not only will this improve your style, but it will also keep you warm in the fall and winter months.
Don't Stretch It
When wearing an oversized dress shirt use caution so that you don't accidentally stretch it. If you accidentally pull or tug on your dress shirt, it will stretch the fabric, thereby making it even bigger. This is one of the reasons why manufacturers recommend washing their dress shirts on the lowest cycle setting. A low setting minimizes tumble stress to protect clothes from damage such as this. If your washing machine doesn't have a low cycle setting, either spot clean your dress shirt or have it dry cleaned. Both of these options will protect your dress shirt from overstretching, allowing for a better fit. Just remember to check the care label before proceeding with any new cleaning or washing.
Place in Dryer on High Heat
Another hack commonly used to shrink oversized shirts and garments is to place them in the dryer on the highest heat setting possible. This principle works the same as washing your clothes in hot water: Exposure to heat causes the fabric to expand and contract, which in turn shrinks the fabric. The downside to this method, however, is that it may also cause your shirts to fade. If you have an oversized dress shirt with a candy red color, drying it several times on the highest heat setting may turn it to a lighter, faded red color.