Extra long dress shirts are an essential part of two of the most common formal outfits for men: white tie and black tie. Picking the right dress shirt (and also extra long) for a formal occasion can be a bit of a trial and if you happen to be taller than the average height, this can be more so. So if you are tall, how do you pick an extra long dress shirt?
Dress Shirt basics for tall men
For the white tie event, the shirt required is very specific. It needs to have a detachable wing collar and the shirt should fasten with studs rather than buttons at the front. These studs are normally set with gold, silver or mother of pearl and have single cuffs.
The black tie event is less strict. Shirts don’t need to be starched so marcella or pleated front shirts are an option. Collars can be a stiff, high wing collar (the more popular option in the US) or a turn-down collar. Dress stud buttons are optional and cufflinks tend to be simple and understated, matching in with the studs if there are any.
Measuring Up: Extra Long Dress Shirts
To ensure you have a dress shirt that is long enough, measure from the centre of the back of the collar to the point you want the shirt to reach - this is your back length. Remember, if you decide you want a shorter shirt, take into account that most shirts will go up either side of this point, so don’t go too high that your sides will show. Of course be sure to look for extra long dress shirts when you are taller than 1.80m.
Next, measure neck size and arm length, as these are crucial for getting the right fit. When measuring the neck, make sure you can get one finger between the neck and the tape measure to ensure the collar won’t be too tight. For the rest of the shirt, the shoulders should sit on your shoulders and the sleeves should be the right length, with the cuff reaching just past your wrist when buttoned. Extra long dress shirts have the advantage of also having extra long sleeves.
Slim fit for slender tall men
For the tall and slender man, look for an extra slim fit that is a size and shape particularly designed for the taller man who is also on the slender size - dress shirts that are extra long but slim fitted. For the larger sized tall man, resist the urge to have too much shirt - extra billows of fabric around the belly area do little to hide anything and can actually make you look bigger. Also: don't forget that extra long dress shirts are already made for taller men, so do not over compensate.
Why Extra Long Dress Shirts?
The advantage with extra long dress shirts is simple; the shirt doesn’t come out of your trousers when you stretch. It also means that when you sit down, the shirt doesn’t ride up and become uncomfortable, as well as spoiling the look. This is why getting the right measurement of shirt for long men is not simply a case of getting a shirt that is longer - this can mean there is too much extra material inside the pants. A correct fitting will taper in the right manner into the pants area, do its job when you move around and give you the perfect look.