How to Choose the Right Fit of a Button-Up Shirt to Avoid Gapping for a Professional Look?

April 8, 2024

Choosing the right fit for a button-up shirt can be a daunting task, especially with so many variations in terms of sizes, cuts, and styles. This is a common struggle for many women who are seeking a professional look. Whether it’s for the office, a job interview, or a formal event, a well-fitted shirt is essential to create a polished and sophisticated appearance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share helpful tips on choosing the perfect button-up shirt that fits well, doesn’t gap, and complements your body type. We’ll consider elements like fabric, color, collar, and sleeve length.

Understanding Shirt Fits

Before we delve into the specifics of fabric and collar types, it’s essential to understand the different fits available in button-up shirts, and how each one can selectively accentuate your body features. The most common fits are classic, slim, and tailored.

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The classic fit has a straight cut, providing more room for movement. It’s a versatile fit that suits most body types. The slim fit is narrower around the chest and waist with a streamlined silhouette. It works best for lean or athletic figures. Lastly, the tailored fit is a middle ground between the other two fits, providing a well-fitted look without being too tight.

When trying on shirts, look for any signs of gapping between the buttons across the chest area. This is a common issue for many women, but it’s one that can be easily avoided by choosing a shirt that suits your body type and bust size.

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Selecting the Right Fabric

A shirt’s fabric can significantly affect its overall look and feel. When shopping for button-up shirts, you’ll come across various fabrics, including cotton, silk, and linen. Each fabric has its pros and cons, depending on the occasion and your personal style.

Cotton is the most common fabric for button-up shirts, known for its comfort and durability. It’s breathable, easy to care for, and versatile enough for both casual and professional settings. Silk, on the other hand, offers a more luxurious feel and a delicate look. However, it requires more careful maintenance and may not be suitable for everyday wear. Lastly, linen is a great choice for summer or warmer climates, with its lightweight and breathable qualities.

To avoid gapping, look for fabrics with a bit of stretch, such as those with a small percentage of elastane or spandex.

Choosing the Right Collar and Sleeve Length

The collar and sleeve length of your button-up shirt play a significant role in its overall style and fit. Collars frame your face, while sleeves can add balance to your look.

There are numerous collar styles to choose from. The most common include the point collar, spread collar, and button-down collar. Point collars are the most traditional and work well in professional settings. Spread collars have wider collar points that angle outwards, creating more space for larger tie knots. However, they can also be worn without a tie for a more casual look. Button-down collars have small buttons at the points that fasten to the shirt, creating a casual style that’s ideal for less formal occasions.

When it comes to sleeves, the length can vary based on your personal preference and the occasion. Long sleeves are more formal and sophisticated, while short sleeves give off a more casual vibe. For a perfect fit, the sleeve should end at the base of your thumb when your arms are at your sides.

Opting for the Right Color and Pattern

When it comes to color and pattern, your choice can either make or break your overall look. For a professional setting, it’s safer to stick with staple colors like white, light blue, or pale pink. These colors exude a sense of professionalism and are easy to match with other clothing items like suits or skirts.

As for patterns, stick to subtle ones if you’re aiming for a professional look. Stripes and checks are timeless patterns that work well in the office. However, avoid overly bold or bright patterns that may distract from your professional image.

Dressing for your Body Type

The final step in choosing the right fit for a button-up shirt is dressing for your body type. Recognizing and understanding your body shape can help you select shirts that highlight your best features.

For example, if you have a rectangular body type (where your waist, bust, and hips are almost the same width), go for shirts that add a bit of curve, like those with embellishments or ruffles on the chest area. If you have an hourglass figure (defined waist and equal bust and hip measurements), opt for fitted or tailored shirts that emphasize your waistline. Finally, if you have a pear shape (larger hips and smaller bust), balance your proportions with shirts that draw attention to your upper body, such as those with wide collars or details on the shoulders.

By considering these factors, you will be well-equipped to choose a button-up shirt that not only fits well and avoids gapping but also enhances your professional image.

Considering the Dress Shirt Style and Occasion

The button shirt style and the occasion are also key factors when choosing your dress shirt. Looking at the dress shirt style involves considering if the shirt has any unique features, such as a special collar, cuffs, or a particular type of button. For example, some shirts have a white button, while others may have a more decorative or contrasting color.

When choosing a shirt style, consider the event or location where you will be wearing it. Are you dressing for a business meeting, a casual day at the office, a job interview, or a formal event? For a more formal occasion, a white button shirt with a classic fit and long sleeves is a safe and classic choice. If the event is less formal, like a business casual day at the office, you may opt for a slim fit shirt with a distinct color or subtle pattern.

Excess fabric can also be a problem, especially for slim fit shirts. To avoid excess fabric, ensure that the shirt fits snugly but comfortably around your chest and waist. This is a crucial shirt step as it can drastically affect the overall look of your shirt and determine whether it flatters your body type or not.

How to Test your Button Shirt Fit

The final step is to try on the dress shirt to see how it fits. This is the best way to ensure that your shirt will give you the professional look you are aiming for.

Firstly, put on the shirt and button it all the way up. Check for any gaps between the buttons, especially in the chest area. If you notice any gapping, you may need a size bigger or a different fit. Remember that a well-fitted shirt should feel comfortable, not restrictive.

Next, move your arms around. If the shirt feels too tight or pulls significantly, it may be too small. The shirt should allow for easy movement without the fabric stretching excessively.

Also, check the sleeve length. A long sleeve should end at the base of your thumb, while a short sleeve should end around the middle of your bicep.

Lastly, check the length of the shirt. When tucked in, the shirt should stay put and not come undone easily. When untucked, the shirt should cover your belt line but not extend beyond the middle of your zipper.


Choosing the right fit for a button-up shirt can feel overwhelming, but by following these steps: understanding shirt fits, selecting the right fabric, choosing the right collar and sleeve length, opting for the right color and pattern, dressing for your body type, considering the shirt style and occasion, and testing your shirt fit – you will be well-equipped to find a shirt that fits well, avoids gapping, and enhances your professional image.

Remember, a well-fitted button shirt is an investment. It can significantly improve your image and boost your confidence, whether you’re in the boardroom, at a job interview, or attending a formal event. Always take the time to shop better, try on various dress shirts, and go for the one that complements your body type, personal style, and the occasion. It’s all about finding that perfect fit that makes you feel comfortable, confident, and ready to take on the world.