How Should A Women’s Button Down Shirt Fit?

If you’re reading this, chances are you wear a button-down shirt to work. And if you don’t, then the button-down shirt is a smart choice for casual and professional settings. Button-downs offer versatility, being worn with or without a jacket or blazer. Depending on the office dress code, they can be worn with jeans, trousers, skirts and shorts.

As well as being versatile, button-downs are also one of the most flattering shirts to wear —- it has a structured silhouette which creates a feminine shape. However, many people choose not to wear them because they don’t know how their shirts should fit and that leads to unflattering styles and untucked tails.


The easiest way to check the fit of a shirt collar is to put it on, fasten the buttons, and then unbutton them. You should be able to slip one or two fingers between the collar and your neck. If you can’t, it’s too tight for comfort. If there is too much room, you can have the shirt altered to fit better, but don’t try to alter it yourself. This is not a good place for DIY adjustments.


The shoulder seam of the shirt should sit at the top of your shoulder, with none of that fabric bunching up around the top. The shoulder seam should be even on both sides and not too tight or too loose (loose fabric in this case makes you look like you’re wearing a frumpy nightgown instead of a crisp dress shirt). If you have to ask someone if it fits, don’t buy it. You’re better off without a shirt that makes you feel unsure about yourself.


  • A properly fitting sleeve should end at the base of your thumb.
  • The material should not be too tight or too loose.
  • The sleeve should not be too long or too short. If there is any bunching, it’s likely that the shirt is too long, and if there are any gaps between your wrist and the cuff, then you may need to purchase a shirt that’s a size smaller.


The cuff of your button-down shirt should be loose enough to be able to slide on and off over your hand easily. The best way to determine the correct length is by trying on the shirt and sliding it over your hand. If you have to force it on, the sleeve is too tight and if you have a lot of extra fabric after getting it on, the sleeve is too long.

Your button down should not ride up or pull at your wrist when untucked. A good rule of thumb for women is that you want about 1/2 inch of fabric slack between where your wrist ends and where the cuff begins. This will allow you to comfortably bend your wrist without pulling at your shirt sleeves while still covering up any unsightly arm hair or tattoos (not that I’m suggesting you want to cover up either one, but some people do).

Front placket

Now that we’ve covered the back of the shirt and the shoulders, let’s talk about the front.

The buttons should lie flush against your body. If there is a gap between any of the buttons (particularly at the bust) then it isn’t a proper fit. The placket should also lay flat against your body; if it stands away from your chest you will have to size down. This is one of my biggest issues with button-downs, they almost never fit me properly in this area and that’s why I love Theory’s silk blouses so much — they always fit perfectly!

Back darts

One of the most important features that distinguishes a men’s dress shirt from a women’s tailored shirt is the back darts. A button down shirt with back darts is more fitted and contoured perfectly to your body. Why do you want a fitted look? Because it will make you stand out from the crowd! Not only does it present a professional appearance, but a fitted waistline also creates a slimmer and more flattering silhouette for any occasion. Whether in an office or cocktail party, you’ll feel confident with your clean-cut style as people take notice of your perfectly-fitted cut.

Note the fit of a button down shirt the next time you see one for sale. If the shirt is a good fit, remember which brand it is.

In today’s market, it can be hard to know what constitutes a good fit for a button-down shirt.

The key is two-fold: 1) the shoulder seam of your shirt should hit at the edge of your shoulder and not extend past it, and 2) there should be some drape in the fabric between the bottom of the armhole and your armpit. This drape is what allows you to lift your arms without feeling constricted by tight material.

With these things in mind, I encourage you to look at button-down shirts next time you see them on a rack. Pay close attention to how they are constructed so that you can remember whether they are a good fit or not when it comes time to buy one!


With all of these tips, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a button down that fits your body perfectly! We hope you learned something from this guide. If you found it helpful, please share it with all the women in your life who want to look and feel good in their clothing.

We love helping our customers find their perfect fit, which is why we make all our products to order, for every body type. Our shirts are designed for women by women with comfort and style in mind. All of our products are offered in sizes XXS-4XL so everyone can look great and feel comfortable in whatever they wear. Our fabrics are super soft and made from natural fibers like cotton, bamboo or modal blends with just the right amount of stretch so they’re never too tight or too loose and always have give where you need it most!


A properly fitting women’s button down shirt should drape, not constrict. It should be comfortable and not pull in any of the wrong places. The fit should accentuate your natural curves, provide ample room for layering, and give you plenty of freedom to move. Keep these questions in mind when buying a blouse that is meant to be worn buttoned up:

  • Is it tight across my shoulders?
  • Are there wrinkles at the sides of my ribcage?
  • Can I comfortably bend over and raise my hands above my head without feeling restricted by the button fastening or buttons gaping?
  • Do I have enough room for the other layers I plan to wear with this?
  • Is the fabric lying flat around my chest or does it look stretched-out or creased where I’ve had to do some unbuttoning?

Leave a Comment