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Men’s Shirt 101: The Anatomy of a Dress Shirt

By on July 28,2011 | one response

The dress shirt is probably the most important part of a man’s wardrobe. Whether you decide to buy your shirts off the rack or have them specially tailored made, a well-selected and well fitted shirt speaks a lot of the man wearing it. It addresses the man’s personality  and status and shows his eye for detail. One may think that only the colour and pattern differentiates one short from the other, but style is about fine detailing and fitting the collar, buttons, yoke, plackets and cuffs. Each detailing enhances style and a proper fit refines the look, thus knowing more about the details that go into the style and the fit of a shirt is very essential.

I will attempt to write about the basics of the men’s dress shirt over a series of blog covering topics like different shirt style, types of collars and how it work with your face shape, what to look for in a perfect fit, essentials shirts for a basic wardrobe, etc.

To get us started, let’s take a look and the anatomy of a dress shirt and know the details and name of each part of the shirt.

Parts of a Dress Shirt Collar

  •  Collar base: (or collar stand) The band of fabric sewn into the neckline of a dress shirt, which the collar attaches to.
  • Collar leaf: The outside fabric of the collar, located at the front sides, which is folded over the collar base.
  • Collar point length: The distance between the collar point and the top of the collar leaf.
  • Collar front band: The area on the base that sits between the collar points.
  • Collar point spread: The distance between the collar points.

Parts of Dress Shirt (Front)

  •  Collar: The part of a shirt that encompasses the neckline of the garment, often so as to fold or roll over. Comes in various shapes, depending on the face shape and occasion.
  • Yoke: A shaped piece of fabric in a garment, fitted about or below the neck and shoulders, from which the rest of the garment hangs. It can be split in two, called the “split-yoke.”
  • Placket front: A standard shirt front with a placket sewn on top of the shirt front.
  • Plain front: A standard shirt front with a hidden placket; usually lapped left over right for men, and vice versa for women.
  • Fly front: A flap of material down one side of the front opening of a garment to conceal buttons or fasteners.
  • Armhole: The opening in a dress shirt, which the arms are sewn into.
  • Sleeve: The part of a garment that covers the arm and is usually cut wider than the cuffs. Most sleeve lengths fall between 32 and 36 inches.
  • Sleeve placket: A distinctive feature that is sewn on the sleeve; the opening of the sleeve fabric near the cuff.
  • Cuff: A fold or band serving as a trimming or finish for the bottom of a sleeve. Some cuff styles include French cuffs and barrel cuffs.

Parts of a Dress Shirt (Back)

  • Back collar height: The part of the collar that is folded over (at the backside of the dress shirt).
  • Yoke: A shaped piece of fabric in a garment, fitted about or below the neck and shoulders, from which the rest of the garment hangs. It can be split in two, called the “split-yoke.”
  • Hang loop: A piece of fabric sewn into the yoke seam that allows the shirt to be hung at this point.
  • Side pleats: Single fabric folds at the other parts of the shirt back.
  • Box pleat front: A double fabric fold, with the material folded under at each side at the back center of a shirt.
  • Sleeve: The part of a garment that covers the arm and is usually cut wider than the cuffs. Most sleeve lengths fall between 32 and 36 inches.
  • Darts: A tapered seam of fabric for adjusting the fit of a garment.
  • Hem: The finished lower edge of the dress shirt body.
  • Tail: The part of a shirt below the waistline.


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