Back Darts On A Dress Shirt – Yes or No?

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Back darts on a dress shirt can be a divisive topic. While many swear by them, there are just as many that would snort at having darts on their dress shirt. Before we discuss the nuances of the back darts on a dress shirt and provide you with our opinion on the matter, we shall begin with an explanation to initiate the clueless.

Back Darts on a Solid White Shirt

What Are Back Darts?

Back darts are two simple straight seams, i.e. a fold and stitch on either side on the back of your dress shirt. What this means is that additional fabric in the back of the shirt is folded inwards and then stitched, leaving a pinch showing on either side of the back of the shirt.

 

Why Do I Need Back Darts?

Often times, when you purchase a slim-fitting off the rack shirt, you will find that it billows from behind when you put it on. This is because it is not shaped to fit your body exactly. By adding back darts, you essentially have the shirt fit the contour of your back and look much better fitted to the shape of your body. If you gain weight in future and find the slim fit pressing against your bulge, you can remove the back darts to allow more space for yourself.

Back Darts Fit The Contour of your Back and Eliminate Billow

If, at this point you’re thinking that back darts sound awesome and you want them for all your slim fitting shirts – we’re with you! We believe that a slim fit shirt should fit the contour of your body, and back darts help to accentuate the shape that your body has (shameless plug:  all Hucklebury slim fit dress shirts come with back darts). This brings us to the following question…

Why Are Back Darts Not Universally Loved?

Some men prefer a slim shirt which has been made slim by more subtle methods such as clever shaping of the side seams – which they feel tends to produce a higher quality garment. While this is disputable, you most certainly lose the option of increasing the space in your dress shirt if your girth increases in time.

Then there are men who feel that darts make a dress shirt look like a woman’s blouse, i.e. more effeminate. We feel pictures speak a thousand words so we will let the pictures in this post attest to how ‘effeminate’ darts look on dress shirts.Taylor Lautner In a Fitted Shirt with Back Darts

Some men don’t have an issue with back darts on solid shirts but are hesitant adding them to striped dress shirts or checked dress shirts because they are afraid the way it pinches would make the pattern look bad. This is a concern that we share and we take special care of when making Hucklebury shirts. If you are planning to alter a shirt you currently own to have back darts, we advice getting a professional tailor to do it if the dress shirt is patterned.

Finally, there are some who find back darts undesirable because they make ironing difficult since darts add curvature to the shirt and ironing is meant to press the shirt flat.

 

Having looked at all the reasons back darts are shunned by some, we can only point to the advantage it provides – a GREAT FITTING SHIRT – to reach the conclusion that back darts should be used when required.

Have any thoughts on the matter? Drop us a comment!

Image credit for this post to The Sartorialist, The Style Blogger and GQ respectively.

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About Author

Dhawal Shah

Dhawal Shah, co-founder of Hucklebury - an online fashion label of dress shirts for men - is an expert on web development, SEO and social media. Through Art of Style, and with the help of his co-founder, he is quickly educating himself on fashion and bringing a fresh perspective to answer questions on fashion that normal men have. He is also the co-founder of 2Stallions Digital Marketing Agency.

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  • L

    Love the article! I’m a woman and still loved how you explained back darts and love the style of how you write. I have problems with my weight, so I too love adding the back darts to all my dress shirts that would look nicer with the style. Love the back darts!

    • Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, my physique is constantly evolving as well and having back darts means that my dress shirt doesn’t become redundant quite so quickly.

  • L

    Love the article! I’m a woman and still loved how you explained back darts and love the style of how you write. I have problems with my weight, so I too love adding the back darts to all my dress shirts that would look nicer with the style. Love the back darts!

    • Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, my physique is constantly evolving as well and having back darts means that my dress shirt doesn’t become redundant quite so quickly.

  • Jon King

    Honestly I with every shirt had back darts. I am one of this unique individuals that either can’t breath in a fitted shirt or swims in it os it fits in the shoulders and chest. All the shirts that I own that have back darts fit me the best!
    Thanks for the article.

    • I prefer having a fitted shirt without back darts (especially with a patterned shirt) where possible, but I certainly use them for plenty of my own shirts to know their benefits. Thanks for sharing. (:

  • James J

    if your a guy who lifts weights and has muscle, or the “V” shape. this is a must have in all shirts patterned or not. 44″ chest, 33″ waist with 30″ around the belly button and a 17″ neck is impossible to find unless its custom made.

    • Couldn’t have put it better myself! Definitely worth the slight cost for people with much broader shoulders and smaller waists!

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  • Chris

    This is great, but is there anywhere I can buy a shirt with darting, or is this something I need tailored?

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