It's All in the Darts: Mens and Womens Shirt Differences

Anonymous asked: How does the fit of men’s shirts differ from that of women’s? I ask because I hate shopping and have shoulders that are about 1-2 sizes larger than my torso in women’s sizing, so I’m trying to decide whether to try men’s sizes or just give up and make my own shirts.

I asked Eric Powell from Ratio Clothing about this. He says: There are a few common functional differences, and obviously quite a bit more style differences. I’ll just focus on the functional differences. 

Rear darts, demonstrated by Abercrombie & Fitch

1. Rear darts — these do occur on Men’s shirts occasionally, but they’re almost always seen on women’s shirts. 

2. Bust darts — these aren’t on all women’s shirts, but you’ll often see small darts on the left and right side of the shirt that attempts to provide better shape around the bust. 

Beyond that, there is just a lot more variation because of a designer’s intent. Some shirts are meant to be form fitting. Some are meant to hang loose, etc. There is some of this in men’s shirts, but to a much lesser extent. 

Ultimately, those functional differences relate to the gender differences between male and female bodies. [Cis] Men don’t have breasts (well, as long as we’re in shape) and we typically have narrower hips and wider shoulders. And women’s clothing is typically more form-fitting, so those differences allow for a more form-fitting appearance. 

Back to Sonia: So you could make your own clothes or get a custom-made shirt. If you go through Ratio, Eric will help walk you through the steps of the special sizing instructions. But you could also get off-the-rack men’s sizes and then have a tailor bring the sides in below your torso. This post should explain how to do it: Tailoring Men’s Button-ups for Larger Chests

As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.