Tucked-in Dress Shirts vs Untucked Casual Shirts.

With Swing Tailor you can order custom shirts in any size and style you desire. Perhaps you have your dress shirt fit perfected and are looking to create a casual shirt to wear untucked outside of the office. Below are tips for creating this new size and perfecting your untucked, casual shirt fit.

Shorten the Shirt Length

Generally speaking, the biggest difference between tucked-in dress shirts and untucked casual shirts is the shorter shirt length. We recommend shortening the shirt length anywhere from 1.5” to 2.5” for an untucked, casual size based on your dress shirt fit.

Increase the midsection

If you are wearing your dress shirts on the slimmer side in the midsection, you’ll definitely want to increase the midsection width by at least .5” – 1” to allow the shirt to fall straighter and not create an hourglass silhouette at your hips. If the midsection is too trim on a shirt you plan to wear untucked, you will find the shirt bunching up at the waistline and not falling comfortably over the top of your pants.

Widen the Chest and Sleeves

Additionally, some find that increasing the chest width .5″ makes for a more comfortable, easygoing look. This is particularly true if you’ve dialed in your dress shirts to a razor sharp tailored fit. If your dress shirts air on the comfortable and classic fit side, then you can skip the additional fine-tuning and just shorten the shirt length for your ideal untucked size.


Advanced Tips for Perfect Dress Shirt Fit.

Your first custom dress shirt is likely to be the best fitting shirt you’ve ever owned. If it’s the right fit in the collar, the sleeves are the right length, and the body isn’t too baggy around the waist you’re probably already feeling pretty good.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t still make some small adjustments to improve your fit just a little further. These are our advanced tips for perfect dress shirt fit. Three things that our fit experts consistently look for to help clients go from a great fitting shirt to a perfect fitting shirt.

1. Make sure the cuffs are not too loose.

More often than not, the cuffs are looser than they need to be. A perfect fitting shirt will have the cuffs fit as tight as possible without being uncomfortable. We cringe when a guy tries to push his hands through his shirt cuffs without unbuttoning them. Those buttons are not just decorative! The reason we like the cuffs to fit so tight is that it prevents the cuffs from coming too far down your hand when your arms are at your side (which makes your sleeves look too long). A perfect fitting shirt cuff will always come to the right point of your hand without being uncomfortable. A 1/4″ or 1/2″ adjustment here can make a big difference. Find out more about how a dress shirt cuff should fit here.

2. Make sure the shoulders aren’t too wide

Another common mistake we see is the shoulders being too wide. Depending on the shape of your shoulders, measuring shoulder width can be tricky, so it’s a common mistake. However, once you have your first shirt and can see how it fits, it becomes easier to tell if the shoulders are the right width or not. Stand in front of a mirror, looking straight forward with your arms at your sides. If the yoke of the shirt is coming down past where the shoulder curves down to the arm it is too wide. Narrowing the shoulder width will make for a more tailored look and can also help improve alignment of the shirt around the armholes and tops of the sleeve. Find out more about how the shoulder width should fit here.

3. Fine tune the shoulder slope.

Shoulder slope is another “advanced” fit option that is tough to get right on the first try. Fine tuning the shoulder slope can help make the shirt drape smoother across the upper chest. Finding the optimal shoulder slope will hinge upon whether the shirt is buttoned at the collar or open collar, so be sure to evaluate this as you primarily plan to wear the shirt. Generally speaking, if you’re wearing the shirt buttoned up with a tie you might want to specify greater shoulder slope than a shirt you plan to wear open collar. With your arms at your side, check for pull-lines running from the shirt armpits to the back of the collar, or from the buttons out to the ends of the shoulder. Each shoulder slope adjustment will raise or lower the ends of the shoulder by 1/4″ relative to the back of the collar. A little bit goes along way with this adjustment. Find out more about how to select the perfect shoulder slope here.


How Tight Should Dress Shirt Cuffs Fit?

The cuff should fit comfortably around your wrist but be tight enough that when buttoned it doesn’t slide over your hand. A proper fitting cuff is just as important as proper sleeve length to insure that the sleeve comes to the right point on the hand. Our general rule of thumb is that the cuff size should be ~1.75” larger than the measurement of your wrist tight to the skin.

Cuff size on barrel vs French cuff style cuffs

The way we size our shirt cuffs, you should be able to switch between French (fold back) and barrel style cuffs without needing to adjust the cuff size. Generally speaking, the way we design our button and button hole placements on cuffs the same size should work equally well with both styles. However, keep in mind that style of cufflinks used to close the French cuffs can make a big difference in how tight the cuffs feel. Some cufflinks will squeeze the cuffs closed very tight where as others will keep them very loose.

Accommodating a watch

If you have a watch that needs accommodating, you can increase that cuff size separately using the watch allowance option.

Caution: French cuffs and slim fitting blazers.

If you’re having French cuffs, one extra thing to check is to make sure the cuff fits through the sleeve opening of your blazer smoothly. Modern, slimmer blazers can have narrow sleeve openings that will hook on a French cuff if it is too large. In these cases, decreasing your cuff size by .25” or .5” might be useful to ensure a good fit.


Selecting a Watch Allowance.

If you’re adjusting the cuffs of your dress shirt to be fairly tight to your wrists and consistently wear a watch on your left or right wrist, you may want to consider specifying a watch allowance.

How dress shirt watch allowance works

Selecting a watch allowance allows you to make the left or right cuff .25″, .5″ or .75″ larger than the other cuff so that it can slide over your watch comfortably. You’ll want to specify the watch allowance for the wrist that will have the watch (obviously).

Choosing the right amount of watch allowance

Selecting between .25″, .5″ and .75″ will depend on the size of your watch, and how tight you’re making the cuffs in general. If you’re keeping the cuffs fairly loose you may not need a watch allowance at all. However, if you notice that the cuff of your watch hand is annoyingly not sliding over your watch, you will want to make this cuff larger. We generally find that .25″ is enough extra space for slim, dressy watches, but if you have a dive watch or otherwise particularly large watch you might need the .5″ to .75″ difference.

Selecting a two-button cuff for versatility

One trick we’ve found that works well for guys that have extra large watches they sometimes wear, is to choose a two-button cuff style cuff instead of our one-button options. With a two-button cuff, you are able to button the back button on the cuff only, such that the cuff can more easily open around a larger watch.


How the Sleeve Length Should Fit?

With your arms hanging relaxed at your sides and the cuffs of the shirt unbuttoned, the sleeves should come down to the center of the back of your hand (or the first knuckle of your thumb). This may seem too long for some folks, however, we find this works very well when the cuffs are also sized appropriately to the wrists. This way, when the cuffs are buttoned they will prevent the cuff from sliding too far over your hand. This extra length will allow you to bend and raise your arms without the cuff sliding up over your forearm.

How the measurement works

The sleeve length is measured from the center back of the neck, just below the collar, over the shoulder and down to the end of the cuff. This is an industry standard way of measuring the sleeve length. Some other shirt makers will specify the sleeve length just from the end of the shoulder to the end of the cuff, so be sure you are not confused by this. With our method of specifying the sleeve length, it is independent of the shoulder (yoke) width, so you don’t have to worry about how adjusting the shoulder width will effect the sleeve length.


We try to account for shrinkage with how long we cut the sleeves, so a 34” sleeve should measure 34.5” right out of the box. If the sleeves seem too long consider first that they will shrink with the first few washings. If they seem too short, consider adding 0.5” in addition to the amount you think they are too short.


How Long Should the Shirt Length be?

Selecting the optimal shirt length

Selecting the optimal shirt length depends primarily on if you plan to wear the shirt tucked in or untucked. Other factors such as how high you wear your pants, the size of the belly, and the required number of buttons on the front should also be considered.

How long should should a tucked in shirt be?

A tucked-in shirt should come to the bottom of the butt or slightly below. Generally speaking, the longer a shirt, the more securely it will tuck into the pants, and the straighter it will stay aligned at the front.

How long should an untucked shirt be?

If you plan to wear your shirt primarily casually untucked, you will likely want a slightly shorter shirt length. But take care not to go too short! This is a very common mistake. A good rule of thumb is that an untucked shirt should come to the center/bottom of the butt. Another good rule of thumb is that the front bottom shirt tail should just barely align with the ends of your sleeves when you stand up straight. However, everyone is shaped differently so these rules don’t always work out. When in doubt, measure the shirt length of a shirt that has an untucked length you like.

How the shirt length measurement works

The shirt length is measured from the center of the back of the collar to the bottom of the back shirttail. Adjusting this measurement will raise or lower the entire bottom of the shirt. Note that the sides of the shirt curve up 2” from the center bottom of the shirt, so decreasing the length of the shirt will also raise the sides of the shirt the same amount.

Converting from dress shirt to casual shirt

Many guys opt to make the shirts they wear untucked a bit shorter than shirts they always tuck in. In our experience, an untucked shirt’s shirt length should be around 1.5 – 2.5” shorter than an always-tucked shirt.

If you have a large belly

Men with significant stomachs will want to opt for more shirt length since the shirt needs to go over the belly and still tuck into the front of the pants.

Number of buttons on shirt front

The length of the shirt will affect the number of buttons depends on the front according to the following logic:

-Shirt length = 26 to 27 inch shirt length has 6 buttons.

-Shirt length = 27.25 to 30 inch shirt length has 7 buttons.

-Shirt length = 30.25 to 33.5 inch shirt length has 8 buttons.

-Shirt length = 33.75 to 37 inch shirt length has 9 buttons.

-Shirt length = 37.25 to 39 inch shirt length has 10 buttons.

The number of buttons on the front of the shirt will include the collar button and will also take into account your Top Button Placement preference to ensure optimal button spacing.