Men's Style: Ban the Male Muffintop


I see it all the time, the male muffintop.  Billowing, baggy men’s shirts that look more like parachutes than button-ups.  The man in the photo above looks like he might sail away if a stiff wind kicked up. (Auntie Em, Auntie Em…)

The majority of Hill Staffers can’t afford custom-tailored anything, and many men don’t know that shirts should be tailored to fit close to the body.  Most just grab the shirt off of the department store display table without trying it on or even thinking about it will fit them when they remove the packaging.  

Most dress shirts are cut generously through the torso so that they fit a wide variety of sizes.  Skinny men are supposed to have them tailored to fit, but most just skip that step.  It’s either too much hassle or too expensive.  So what’s a man with a lean torso supposed to do?

Enter Hugh & Crye, a D.C. shop making shirts that are as close to a custom fit as you’ll find on the rack.  Instead of just using neck size and sleeve length, Hugh & Crye also takes into account your torso size when deciding which shirt will fit you best.  The shirts come in nine sizes outlined in the chart below, and will fit most men.

There is no reason why the men of D.C. (or America, for that matter) should be dressing above their weight classes.  You deserve a shirt that shows off what you have to offer, not one that makes women wonder how much of that added bulk is fabric and how much is hot wings and beer.  It’s a poorly-kept secret that well-dressed men get the girls, so why would you ever wear a shirt that fits like my Nana’s best mumu?  

But even if attracting women isn’t your primary goal, a young staffer with a bagging, sagging dress shirt looks more like a high school student who dressed up for the first time than a working professional.  It doesn’t exactly instill confidence in a man’s maturity and judgment if he can’t even buy a shirt that fits.  

So head over to Hugh & Crye and buy yourself a dress shirt that fits close to the body. It’s for your own good.  I’d hate for you to get swept away in a tornado without a pair of ruby slippers to bring you back home.



  1. Lisa says:

    Love this idea but I know my fiance would never buy a shirt that labeled him “skinny” (even tho he is.(:).

    October 11, 2011/Reply
  2. Cait says:

    Belle, any suggestions for completely custom shirts? Unfortunately those sizes still won't work for my boyfriend- he's been a rugby player most of his life, so he's got an 17.5 inch neck (thanks to lifting grown men with his head), but a 33 inch waist and a very trim torso. Thankfully, after much prompting by me, he started getting his shirts tailored but I'd love to get him a custom one.

    October 11, 2011/Reply
  3. S says:

    Where is the women's equivalent??? (Apologies if you have posted on this before, I couldn't find it!)

    October 11, 2011/Reply
  4. Belle says:

    Lisa- Do a plant. Buy one for him. Cut the tags out. Shove it in the closet. When he loves it, let him in on the secret.

    Cait-There are several tailors in D.C. that make custom shirts. An ex of mine used to go to Field Tailor's. No idea how much it costs, but I'd make some calls lots of men's suit tailors can and will make shirts.

    October 11, 2011/Reply
  5. Mary says:

    Hilarious! So true!

    October 11, 2011/Reply
  6. Jon says:

    Alternatively, many retailers offer “tailored fit” options which are cut tighter around the torso. This is one of my biggest pet peeves about men's shirts. Banana republic has received a lot of my business because they offer “slim fit” sizes.

    October 11, 2011/Reply
  7. ~M says:

    To echo Jon, my husband apparently carries his weight in his neck because when they fit his neck, they're HUGE in the torso. He once bought some shirts that looked like he was a ten year old wearing his father's dress shirts, and he's a big man. Joseph Bank now offers a slim cut shirt and it fits him beautifully. He seriously looks like he dropped 20 lbs. They're always on sale so they're a cheaper option than the one you gave.

    Slim fit pants are next!

    October 12, 2011/Reply
  8. pqresident says:

    @Cait – check out the Custom Shop on Connecticut Ave NW for custom made shirts. they also keep measurements on file so you can reorder without going to the store if you know the fabric you want. I have a few of their shirts and they fit perfectly.

    October 13, 2011/Reply
  9. Ann says:

    Actually, there is an $8 solution that military uniforms use – shirt stays. They're brilliant. In our (by which I mean my husband, not mine) experience custom shirts do not solve this, they help but still not perfect. They just make it tighter but they'll still come undone a bit once you sit. Seriously, shirt stays prevent this beautifully and pre-1960 men who wore dress shirts wore these. They attach to the bottom of your shirt and the top of your dress socks before you put your trousers on keeping your shirt smartly tucked. Pre-elastic socks men worse shirt stays and sock garters. With the proliferation of casual dress, most shop employees don't even have basic knowledge on these things… oh well! Trust me, best $8 a man will spend to prevent muffin-topping. By the bye, great blog! I'm so loving it!!

    November 4, 2011/Reply