Shoulder Yoke: Split Yoke vs Classic Yoke

There are several design aspects of a shirt that can assist in any body irregularities to ensure a comfortable and perfect fit, and going with a split shoulder yoke instead of a classic yoke, is a great example of one of these designs.  The following will describe just what the yoke is, and how having it made with a split design or a classic yoke will depend on your body type.

The panel of the dress shirt just under the collar along the upper back shoulder line is called the yoke. The yoke should have a nice curve along the back horizontal seam and the fabric used for this portion is cut slightly on the bias allowing for better movement in the shoulders.  In the case of a dress shirt including stripes or a print, the fabric will be cut and sewn so that the stripes are perpendicular to the rest of the shirt. i.e.: If the shirt has vertical stripes, the yoke will have horizontal stripes. Also, the vertical fabric measurement in the exact center of the yoke varies depending on the size of the customer. 2.5″ to 3″ is standard for most. If a customer is very small, they make it proportionately smaller at 2.25″, and if the client is a significantly larger person, it can increase to 3.5″ to 5″.

Classic One-Piece Yoke:

The classic yoke is a solid panel of fabric that goes across the back without a split or vertical seam in the center.

shoulder classic yoke


Split Yoke:

When the shoulder yoke includes two separate pieces divided by a seam directly in the middle, it’s called a split yoke.  A split yoke is necessary when someone’s body type calls for it. Each fabric panel will be slightly different in size to ensure a perfect fit for these body irregularities: typically when someone has an uneven slope in shoulders. If the shirt has vertical stripes, the split yoke will have horizontal stripes, and they will match up perfectly in the center seam.

split shoulder yoke