How a T-shirt Should Fit: The Guide To Choosing the Right Style and Size

Choosing the right T-shirt can be a challenge, and finding the perfect T-shirt is an ongoing mission, even for those of us in the industry. There are dozens of major brands, which combined add up to hundreds of styles. Choosing the right fabric is a biggest part of it but another big part is choosing the right fit. Because not all fits are created equally.

You’d think the fit of a humble T-shirt would be a simple affair, but there’s a lot that goes into it. In this post, I’ll touch on the difference between fashion fit and standard fit and some points of what makes a great fit for a T-shirt, and also some recommendations for you.

This post will focus mainly on men’s tees, which are also sometimes called unisex.

What is unisex style?

In the T-shirt world, when you see the word unisex, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was specially designed to fit both men and women. It can just mean that it is not a women’s (or ladies) version of that particular garment. And if it doesn’t specify men’s or ladies, then it’s a standalone style– aka unisex. Meaning a men’s cut that can also be worn by women.

Historically, T-shirts have been a garment for men. They first were used as underwear and distributed to members of the US Navy, with other branches of the military following suit. Movies in the 1950s popularized wearing the T-shirt by itself, with Marlon Brando and James Dean personifying this care-free and masculine look. These days, T-shirts are for everyone especially pickle people.

What about the fit of women’s styles?

While men’s and unisex tees only have a few different fits, women’s styles have a wide variety, with new styles coming out every year. The world of women’s’ tees is much more vast and complex, so I’ll be exploring that topic in a separate post.

The two main categories of T-shirt fit

When talking about different fits in the blank T-shirt market, the first thing to know is that different terms may be used by different T-shirt printing company, and they don’t always line up with each other– that’s why Asia T-shirt.com Pte Ltd sales team are devoted to help our customers sort this stuff out every day. But overall, they can be divided into two broad categories: standard and fashion.


Standard fit (or classic fit) T-shirts

Standard fit gained popularity in the ’80s and ’90s, featuring a generic construction that tends to be more boxy and roomy, lacking the tailoring and tapering of their fashion fit counterparts. Standard fit tees are the safer way to go if you’re buying a bulk order that needs to work for a variety of body types especially for company T-shirt Printing. This style can be a more forgiving look for heavy-set people.


Fashion fit (or slim-fit) T-shirts

Also simply referred to as “fitted”, this cut has been designed to contour to the body more closely, with less bagginess and more form-fitting lines around the shoulders, arms, and torso. The arms have a snugger fit and the sleeve length tends to be shorter. This is also known as “retail fit” although it can fall somewhere in between standard and fashion.


How should a T-shirt fit?

The first and most important thing to getting the right fit is to choose the proper size. Most men tend to choose one size too big (or bigger) for reasons of comfort. But when it comes to looking your best in a T-shirt, it’s much more flattering to wear the size that fits best. Here’s a sizing chart I made with photos.


Take a look at the differences and think about what qualities you should be looking for to determine your correct size.



In this photo,MEDIUM looks good on the guy but as you can see, there is some bunching under the armpits. LARGE is the way to go, considering these shirts have not been washed yet. That should shrink it just enough to bring in the looseness around the waist and make the length come up an inch or two. Keep potential shrinkage in mind if you’re going with 100% cotton.

Below are the top six characteristics of a well-fitting T-shirt, followed by an infographic that you can use for future reference. Now, you might think this is a subjective judgment based on personal preference, but at this point, there is an established set of criteria to consider when you try on a tee. Established by who, you ask? Fashion people! Just go with it.



Shoulder

The shoulder seam should line up with the end of the shoulder bone, where it meets the top of the arm. If it droops over the edge, the shirt is probably too big. If the seam lands in the area before the curve of the shoulder starts, the tee is too small.

Sleeves

The hem of a sleeve should fall at the middle of the bicep, should hug the arm, without flaring out more than two inches. Standard or classic fit tees tend to have bigger armholes that flare out. Slightly longer sleeves can work for taller people.

Length

A T-shirt should cover the waistline and fall at the hips, which is about halfway down the fly. This length can vary a few inches based on a person’s height, but it should never go past the top of the inseam, or it starts looking like a nightgown.

Collar

The neckline should sit flat, just above the collar bone, without being too loose or too light. Standard/classic-fit tees tend to have bigger, wider collars than fashion/slim fit. A V-neck can fall just below the clavicle. Men should avoid “deep” V-necks.

Chest

The chest area should be more form-fitting than the lower half, but there should be no stretching, or bunching under the armpit area. This is where the tapering construction of fashion fit tees do a great job of hugging the body better.

Torso

The torso should taper in slightly to contour to the body, rather than straight or bulking out. Side-seamed shirts provide this fitted look, while their standard/classic-fit counterparts tend to have a boxier, baggier shape around the torso.


Asia T-shirt.com Pte Ltd recommends…

Choosing the right T-shirt can be a daunting task with so many brands and styles to choose from, so I’m going to narrow it down to three recommendations (good, better, best) for your company T-shirt. If you still can’t decide, call us and one of our sales experts can guide you to the right choice.

Standard fit tubular tees

Best: Gildan UltraCotton® (G200) One of our best-selling T-shirts, the Gildan G200 is the go-to choice for those who want a durable tee with a great print surface and an affordable price point. It’s 6.1 oz, 100% cotton and comes in a wide variety of colors.

Better: 100% cotton single knit

This is a good choice of material is you are looking at a lower budget with the highest quality and comfort for the t-shirt. However, on the downside, it will shrink after wash. So company who are printing for their worker have to take in this factor.

Good: T/C Cotton Single knit

T/C Cotton Single knit is the most affordable material and it is more durable as compared to the two above. Many cannot differentiate 100% cotton and T/C Cotton as they cannot be seen through our eyes. However, we think that T/C cotton material is a good choice for company that are looking for good pricing as well as good quality for their corporate T-shirt.


If you are still confused on how to choose the right size and the right material, not to worry, just drop us a text @ AsiaT-shirt.com Pte Ltd or sales@asist-shirt.com. And our sales team will provide you the most unbiased option to customised your company T-shirt.

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