Men's Articles

Men's Shirt: Yoke, Sleeve And Maintenance


How a shoulder slopes will determine how well it will sit on the wearer and flatter his form. The shoulder seams should sit snugly the shoulder with no drop. Otherwise, the shirt sleeves will not latch up with the wearer's arm joints ad will make you look sloppy.

What Is A Yoke?

Nothing to do with eggs. A shirt yoke is the band of fabric fitted over the shoulder, and joined by a seam across the back of the shirt.

Why Do Some Shirts Have Yokes While Some Don't?

Most men's shirts should have yokes. A yoke is a piece of material that is double-layered to withstand the strain of motion. It is cut on the bias (which means it is cut across the fabric grain) so the fabric can stretch to accommodate movement.

Are There Different Types Of Yoke I Should Know About?

Most business shirts have the normal yoke, which is one band across the back shoulder. Another style is the split yoke, which is made of two bands divided at the centre back with a vertical seam. The split yoke fits the curve of the back better. The wider the yoke, the more movement it allows. Since office environments are more desk-bound, you can expect business shirts to have narrower yokes. Casual styles have broader ones.

Why Do Some Shirts Come With Pleats At The Yoke?

Different types of pleats accommodate different sizes of backs. If you have a skinny back, choose a shirt with a centre pleat. Yokes with pleats at each shoulder-blade suit those with broader, more muscular backs.


The long and short of sleeves is - just get them right and nobody will hide behind theirs to laugh at yours.

How Can I Determine If The Sleeve Length Is Right For Me?

The best test for the right sleeve length is to do the cuff test. The end of the shirt cuff should cut right at the wrist when the arms hang by the sides. And if you are ultra-cautious, get a shirt sleeve that is a quarter-inch longer as cotton tends to shrink with washing. When worn under a suit, sleeves must peep out no more than a quarter of an inch from the jacket sleeve.

What About The Shape Of The Sleeves?

The trend is towards a fitted silhouette. Men with short arms should not wear such boxy cuts as it makes them look stout. Fashion shirt brands usually have designs with mainly contemporary tapered cuts. Even if the sleeves do not you right, there may be after-sales altering services.

For Long Sleeves, When Is It Appropriate To Roll Them Up?

Not appropriate at all. If you are wearing a standard shirt and a broad tie, rolled-up sleeves look sloppy. However, if you must roll up your sleeves, slender silhouettes work better. Achieve this by wearing shirts that are cut on the skinny and worn with a slim tie. The only excuse for rolling them up is when you want to avoid getting them soiled, since cuffs really show up the dirt.

How Many Different Types Of Cuffs Are There?

You need to know only two types -the barrel and the French. 'the one or two-button barrel cuff fits closest to the wrist and is often a popular office choice. The bulkier French cults fold back and require cufflinks for closure. They arc dressier and are best suited for formal and important occasions.

Any Shopping Tips For Cufflinks?

  • The traditional cufflink shapes are round, oval, square and rectangular. But do play up your individuality and indulge in unusual shapes.
  • Gold cufflinks are out as they are old-fashioned and the color is too gaudy. Silver is easy to match and goes well with practically everything. It is a safe color choice for first-time link-wearers.
  • The cufflink and your shirt should be from the same color family. If your shirt is purple, wear purple or blue links.
  • For patterned shirts like stripes, stick to plain cufflinks in silver.

Drastic Measures

Do you want the grab-and-go convenience of a retail shirt or the perfect fit of a tailored design? The choice is really up to you. But for those who crave a crisp shirt that fits you like a glove, read on.

Do The Terms "Personalised", "Made-To-Measure", "Customised", "Tailor" And "Bespoke" All Mean The Same Thing?

Unfortunately, no. Some companies may seek to confuse you into thinking you are getting the Savile Row treatment, but really they just provide a service where you just choose how different parts of the shirt can be assembled. 


A personalised service means you cannot change the cut of the shirt. You can only select the fabric used, the button styles and details like embroidery. 

Customised Or Made-To-Measure

A customised or made-to-measure shirt simply uses a basic, pre-existing template pattern (called a block), which is then adjusted to your individual measurements.


Bespoke refers to the premium service where your very own shirt is built right from scratch. Body measurements at the neck, shoulder, arms, chest and waist are meticulously taken, with allowance made for personal preference. You will be given a choice of more than 2,000 fabrics and weaves, and a variety of cuffs and collars.

Okay, But I Really Want To Have A Bespoke Shirt. Any Good Reasons To Do So?

Here Are The Reasons Given By Several Well-Patronised Menswear Tailors

  • It bears your signature. Ready-made shirts use only the collar size and sleeve length to determine your fit. But what if you have a short neck and long arms, and vice versa?
  • It retains its structure. A genuine tailor-made shirt is held together very securely and has between 18 and 22 stitches per inch. Lesser shirts only have between 10 and 15 stitches an inch. Such attention to detail ensures that the shirt maintains its structure and does not shape-shift every time it goes through a wash.
  • It is an investment. A handmade garment will last more than three years compared to the one-year lifespan of an average business shirt.
  • It is less of a hassle than you think.

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