Slim & Fitted Dress Shirt Review Palooza III

Slim & Fitted Dress Shirt Review Palooza III

Slim Fit Dress Shirts: Nordstrom Trim Fit, Calibrate, and Target’s Merona

Click here for the previous rounds featuring CK, Alfani Red, Geoffrey Beene, and more

Fit is everything, and not all trim fit dress shirts fit the same.  Some of those don’t even fit all that “fitted.”  You want to be able to move, but the amount of extra cloth that shirt makers add to the sides is ridiculous.  Unless you’re packing love handles the size of dinner plates at your obliques, you don’t need the space.

Each shirt in this ongoing series has been tried on in person, photographed, and measured.   Below you’ll find the results of three new brands.

Measurements of all shirts tried on: 15.5 32/33
The Methodology: De-pin, put on, and photograph with right arm hanging relaxed at side to show cloth overflow at waist. Marked where the cloth overflow seemed greatest above the belt-line with a pin. Measured at that point from side seam to side seam to get above the belt line widest point.

Nordstrom Smartcare Trim Fit French Cuff Dress Shirt – $49.50 | 20 1/2″ at widest

Terrific for a house brand.

It costs twice as much as the Macy’s Alfani Red, but boy do you feel the difference as soon as you put it on.  The fabric is incredibly smooth, thick, but not heavy either.  The tag says it’s 95% cotton, and 5%… organic cotton.  Not sure why they decided to throw 5% organic in there.  For it being a “wrinkle free” shirt it doesn’t feel like it has some kind of coating on it.  It just feels good.  Solid marks all around.  Very slim through the sides.  The one I tried on was a french cuff.  Semi Spread collar.  Also available in a standard button cuff.

Calibrate Trim Fit Dress Shirt – $69.50 | 20 1/4″ at widest

Meet what the 1MX should aspire to be.

You get what you pay for.  It’s true.  And this thing at $70 shouldn’t really be labeled as “affordable,” but honestly it’s as good as it gets.  EXTREMELY slim through the sides, but not quite as trim as an Express 1mx “fitted”.  Even the circumference of the sleeves feel like they’ve been taken in.  It has just a bit of XLA lastol in it for stretch, and it’s missing a dress shirt standard…  No chest pocket on these.  That’ll please a lot of you.  Semi Spread collar.  Only drawback (other than price) was the sleeve length which seemed just a touch short.  Barely.

Merona by Target Ultimate Dress Shirt – $19.99 | 21 3/4″ at widest

The budget option... ain't a bad option.

Enough of the over $50 stuff.  If you’re looking for a cheap option, you can get one of these from your local Target for twenty bucks.  They’re not even labeled as trim fit, but as soon as you unfold it you can see the scalloped sides.  Look, it’s not nearly as trim as the Nordstrom or Calibrate, but for $20?  And if you’ll be wearing it under a jacket or blazer?  It’ll be fine.  Get it tailored and it’ll be great.  Semi spread leaning traditional point substantial collar.  Grab some wurkin’ stiffs and it’ll be perfect for that suit with no tie Danny Ocean look.  Another plus:  No friggin’ pins on this one.  Those metal sliding fasteners hold it in folded shape instead.  Not available online… for now.

Final Grades

Nordstrom Smartcare: A- If it were only a little cheaper..
Calibrate: A- Watch for a sale.  Seriously.
Target Merona: B+ If they ever come out with a slimmer version?  I’m buying seven.

Got any further additions to the slim and fitted dress shirt pile? Leave those in the comments section below.