Slim Fit vs. Regular Fit Dress Shirts

April 19, 2023 5 min read

Slim Fit vs. Regular Fit Dress Shirts

When choosing the perfect dress shirt, you have plenty of options for your body type, activity and personal style. While the variety is good news, choosing the ideal top can be overwhelming. For some, a classic fit is a better option, while others prefer a slim fit for the occasion.

A closer look at the pros and cons of slim fit versus regular fit dress shirts can help you decide which is best for you, and once you have the ultimate fit, you can look at patterns and colors that reflect your aesthetic. 

What Is a Slim Fit Shirt?

Slim fit shirts are more tailored than regular fit shirts. They are fitted around the arms and shoulders and tapered at the waist. A slim fit shirt is designed to flatter the physique and minimize extra fabric for a neater appearance. As the name suggests, slim fit dress shirts suit a leaner body type. They are not tight — if your shirt is tight across the midsection or through the arms, you may want to go up a size, but the fabric sits closer to the skin for a streamlined look. 

How Should It Fit?

Slim fit shirts should be slimmer around the neck and shoulders. You should be able to button the collar comfortably and have room to move across your chest, under your armpits and along your upper back. A slim fit shirt must be snug so your body fills out the fabric and is discernable underneath. 

Your slim fit shirt should taper from the chest to the waist, following the shape of your body and creating a clean line with no excess fabric. The sleeves are tapered to follow the form of your arms to make a fitted appearance with no extra material, yet it should still be comfortable to move around in. 

What Is a Regular Fit Shirt?

Regular fit shirts — also known as the standard or classic fit — are traditional in style and suited to many body types. They are looser on your body, with extra fabric to provide a comfortable and classic look. Regular fit shirts are generally longer than slim fits and don't taper from the chest. These tops offer greater freedom of movement and comfort, so if you have a larger body shape around the arms or waist, this can be a flattering option. 

How Should It Fit?

Regular fit shirts must be somewhat fitted with extra room through the arms, shoulders, neck and waist. They should be straighter through the sides, though slightly curved, to prevent excess bunching when you tuck them in. Your regular fit shirt should allow for comfort and ease of movement, so you shouldn't feel as though you're filling the fabric as you would with a fitted option. 

The regular fit is best if you have a larger build or prefer a less form-fitting option. While the overall shape should be looser around the points of your body, the fit should be manageable. There should be a perfect balance between freedom of movement and a neat silhouette. 

How to Choose Between Slim Fit and Regular Fit

How to Choose Between Slim Fit and Regular Fit

Choosing between slim fit versus regular fit dress shirts involves several factors, including your body type, the season and the occasion

Slim fit shirts can be highly flattering to the right body type. They can accentuate the right body parts if you're leaner through the waist and arms. On the other hand, if you're a larger or muscular body type, they may pull in the wrong places and end up looking too tight. Regular fit shirts suit robust body types. 

Regular fits are great for work or outdoor activities where you need to move a little more. You can tuck them into jeans or chinos for a casual look or smarten them up for work. Slim fits are superb for formal occasions, office parties and outdoor events. 

With the right ensemble, you can use either dress shirt to complete your outfit, as long as you pay attention to what works for your body and your unique personal style. 

Tips for Wearing a Slim Fit Dress Shirt

You can dress slim fit shirts up or down depending on the occasion. One of the main benefits of these shirts is you can tuck them in and they'll stay comfortable throughout the day. They're suitable for many different events, depending on what you pair them with. 

Keep your shirt untucked for a casual look, leave the top button open and pair it with jeans. If you're at work or going to a formal occasion, tuck your shirt in for a neater silhouette. These tops best suit circumstances where you want to present an elegant and streamlined look. Tuck your favorite slim fit shirt into a pair of chinos for weekend events and finish your look with a light jacket

Some tips for wearing a slim fit dress shirt include:

  • Make sure it's not too tight: Although the fit should be snug, you should always be able to move comfortably. 
  • Choose the right cut: All slim fit shirts have slightly different cuts. Take the time to try different options before you decide on the best one. 
  • Keep it crease-free: Slim fit shirts are neat and polished, so ensure you keep yours hanging up and run an iron over it before any occasion. 
  • Mix it up: You can layer a well-fitting dress shirt under a sleek pullover for a casual look. It features your collar and keeps you neat, and the lack of excess fabric makes for crisp, clean lines. 

Tips for Wearing a Regular Fit Dress Shirt

Regular fit dress shirts are perfect for work. They're smart and comfortable — ideal for long commutes or busy days in the office. You can tuck them into a pair of slacks for an effortlessly professional look to wear every day or dress them up underneath a jacket for a wedding or special occasion, especially one that's likely to stretch into the night. 

Regular fit shirts are often longer, so they look particularly smart when tucked in to give you a smooth silhouette. In a way, they are more versatile — you can dress them down with jeans to make the ultimate smart casual ensemble for larger body types. With room in the torso and arms, they're also an excellent choice for a gathering like a company bowling night, so you can let loose and relax. 

Tips for wearing a regular fit dress shirt include the following:

  • Stay comfortable but not baggy: Regular fits leave extra room for you to move, but if you go too big, the shirt can overwhelm your look. 
  • Watch your waistline: The excess fabric at the bottom can leave bulges when you tuck your shirt in. Ensure your shirt isn't too long— take a few minutes to get it smooth under your pants. 
  • Check your hem length: Your hem should be long enough to wear your shirt tucked or untucked. The ideal length is just past the back pockets of your pants. 

Find the Perfect Dress Shirt for You With Penner's

Find the Perfect Dress Shirt for You With Penner's 

Penner's is a premium men's store in downtown San Antonio, Texas. We've been in the business for over a century and yet remained effortlessly modern and chic. Whatever you're looking for, from guayaberas to dress shirts and suits, sports coats and jeans, you're bound to find something that works for you. 

Our professional staff — many of whom have been in the business for over 25 years — will help you find the perfect fit every time. With seven in-house tailors and alterations free of charge at the time of purchase, you can be sure you'll arrive at your next event looking sophisticated and stylish. Please feel free to contact us at 210-226-2487, or browse our selection online and find a flawless ensemble today!