In the United States, men's shirts are sized by the circumference of the neck in inches and additionally, if it is a long-sleeved shirt, the length of the sleeves. To measure sleeve length, raise an arm to shoulder level, bending the elbow a bit, and measure from the center of the back of the neck to the wrist bone. Measure both arms; they may be different.
In the 1950s, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce defined a standard for men's dress shirt sizes. A shirt with a 14-inch neck, had a 42-inch chest and was 19½″ around the armholes and 14¾″ around the sleeves. For each ½″ increase in neck size, the chest increased by 2″, and the armhole and sleeve diameters by ½″. The length, front and back, was 33 inches for all sizes.
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Last revised: 27 May 2004.