At 5’ 8”and 135 lbs I think that I would qualify as candidate for slim fit shirts, but they are not for me. In fact, I would argue that slim fit shirts are flattering on a very small percentage of the population especially those that are interested in classic style. Instead of arguing point for point I want to illustrate my argument using pictures and a Brooks Brothers traditional fit shirt.
The Brooks Brothers traditional fit is the roomiest fit that they offer. This traditional fit is too billowy for my own taste as I prefer the regular fit, but I can still manage to make it work and look nice. The trick is all in the tuck.
A traditional fit Brooks Brothers shirt fits like a tent like on me.
My tucking technique is one of the many versions or variations of the military tuck. First, you tuck the shirt all of the way in. The second step is to grab the excess fabric on the both the left and right side. Then you pull the excess material from each side toward the back of the pant. I tend to use my thumbs when I do this. Finally, you tuck and stuff the excess material in the rear of the trousers. This excess material will live in the back of the shirt and trouser area. This is probably the biggest downside to wearing a fuller body shirt, but I think that it far outweighs the negatives of a slim fit shirt.
Why don’t I like slim fit shirts? My biggest issue with them is that they are confining. I feel like I can’t move freely without untucking my shirt. To me this says it all. Trad style is about utility and comfort. A slim fit shirt is not. Lastly they seem to expose my physical build which again I find off putting. I know that I am fit and I do not think that my colleagues and clients need to be made aware of this.
To be fair I am not saying that no one should wear slim fit shirts, but do to their prevalence in today’s market I think that it is important to evaluate if they are right for you. If you are rail thin a slim fit shirt may fit you like a regular fit shirt fits me and that is great. If you spend a lot of time in the gym and you want this to be apparent in your business clothing then maybe they are for you as well, but you are probably reading the wrong blog. As you can see from this post a Brooks Brothers traditional fit shirt is not optimal for me either, but I do wear the shirt shown with a blazer or sport coat with no problem. The bottom line is don’t let the proliferation of the slim fit shirt infiltrate your closet unless it really belongs there.