Measuring the Man: How to Measure Yourself for Clothing

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The other day
I walked into J.C. Penney’s to pick up a white oxford shirt.
I looked down at the table crowded with shirts and took in all the
different sizes available: 14 1/2, 15, 17.

Uh oh.

I forgot that
you needed to know your neck size when you buy a dress shirt.

This isn’t
the first time this has happened to me. I’ll walk into a clothing
store needing to pick something out, but I don’t know what
my measurements are. When you’re looking for a pair of trousers
or a nice shirt, knowing that you’re a L or an XL won’t
cut it. A clerk can usually give me a quick measurement, but I’d
rather just be able to walk into a store, pick up what I need, and
not have to bother with measuring myself every time I need a new
dress shirt or a pair of new slacks.

I figure I’m
not the only man out there who has had this problem. So I whipped
up this article on how to measure yourself for clothing, but more
importantly, I created a card that you can write your measurements
on and keep in your wallet. The next time you walk into a store,
you’ll have your sartorial vitals on hand so you can make your
purchase quickly and get on to doing more important things!

How to Measure
Yourself For Clothing

going to take measurements that you can use to buy standard sized
products like oxford shirts, khakis, or off-the-rack sport coats.
These are general measurements. You will, of course, need to alter
(particularly sport coats and dress pants) to get the
best fit possible. And custom clothing requires much more extensive
measurements. For guidance on how to measure yourself for custom
clothing, check out A
Tailored Suit’s Measuring Guide

the Art of Manliness Clothing Measurement Card

Print if off,
cut along the dotted lines, fold in half, write down your measurements,
and stick it in your wallet. Now you’ll never again have to
worry about remembering your pant size.

When you go into a haberdashery looking for a sport coat, you’ll
notice the sizes for jackets will have numbers like 40L or 38R.
That number comes from your chest measurement. Also, when you buy
a nice dress shirt, you can’t just tell the clerk you want
one in a large. You’ll need to know your chest size.

How to measure
your chest:

  • Wrap the
    tape measure under your armpits, around the fullest part of your
  • The tape
    measure should be snug. Not so tight that it constricts breathing,
    but not so loose that the tape measure slides down.
  • Don’t
    puff out or flex your chest. Just stand normally.

The letter
in off-the-rack jacket measurements corresponds to your height.
If you’re between 5’7" and and 6′ you’re a Regular(R).
If you’re between 6’1"–6’3" you’re a Long(L).

You need to know your neck size lest you strangle yourself to death
with a tight collar.

How to measure
your neck:

  • Wrap the
    tape measure around the lower part of your neck. It should be
    about an inch below your Adam’s Apple.
  • Don’t
    choke yourself with the tape measure. For a comfortable fit, place
    2 fingers between the tape and your neck. Round up to the next

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31, 2010

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