The t-shirt is a staple of every wardrobe, but t-shirts are by no means one-size-fits-all. Once relegated solely to wearing beneath clothes (as an undershirt), the t-shirt has come a long way and is now widely accepted as everyday fashion. A t-shirt can be worn under a blazer at the office for a casual professional look, or to a concert or sporting event. These simple garments are meant for having fun and to be a reflection of your personality.
When it comes to styling, it’s not just about what’s printed on your tee, but how your t-shirts fit. And with so many options, fabrics, and cuts available today, you need to be armed with the right information to find the perfect fit. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the various cuts, styles, and fabrics of modern t-shirts, helping you understand your choices and narrowing the field to find the one that’s right for you.
There are two different types of t-shirts: relaxed fit and fitted tees. Both are equally comfortable, but have their own distinct elements that may “speak” to your fashion sensibilities. Let’s dive into these two different shirt fit types and explore what differentiates them from one another and why you may lean towards the classically casual standard fit tee, or the more streamlined fashion fit style.
A relaxed fit t-shirt has a looser, more boxy fit. Because they’re on the roomier side, relaxed fit tees are a great choice for bulk orders, as this style works for a lot of different body types. For this reason, these tees are sometimes called “standard fit” t-shirts.
Relaxed fit tees typically have a thicker collar band and straight sleeves, lacking the more tailored look of a fitted tee. The body of a relaxed fit tee is often longer compared to fitted tees, hitting several inches below the natural waist. They also have larger armholes. This, coupled with a shoulder seam that sits a little lower on the body of the shirt, gives the shirt its more linear, relaxed appearance.
True to their name, fitted t-shirts conform more to the contours of the body and offer a more tailored look. Fitted tees (sometimes referred to as “fashion fit” t-shirts) are available in men’s, women’s, and unisex sizes, taking different body types into account. If you’re looking to buy the perfect fitted tee, it’s extra important to take a look at size charts to determine how your own unique measurements will work with this type of shirt and how it's cut.
Typically, a fitted t-shirt will have a thinner collar band compared to the thicker collar on a relaxed fit tee. Fitted tees have a shorter, more contoured body, thanks to side seams – giving it more of a curved and body-conforming look compared to a relaxed fit tee. Additionally, fitted tees have more narrow armholes and a tapered fit to the sleeve. The shoulder seam also sits higher on the body of the shirt.
Different people have different body types – and different ways of expressing themselves in terms of style. The same size t-shirt can fit differently based on those different body types, which is why it’s so important to pay attention to size charts and clothing measurements – and even better to have a visual reference to see how a specific size and style of shirt may fit. Different types of tees (think: relaxed fit vs. fitted tees) drape differently and size charts can vary from brand to brand. Taking a closer look at sizing guides can help you find your new favorite shirt that fits exactly how you want it to fit!
While some folks may prefer a tighter fit versus a boxier or more flowy style, there are still some basic guidelines to follow for how a t-shirt should fit. Understanding how to decipher t-shirt size charts can help give you a more flattering silhouette that works with the image and individuality you want your t-shirt to project.
Generally, your t-shirt should hit below your waistline, midway down the fly or zipper of your jeans or a few inches past your belt. This can vary depending on your height and where your natural waistline falls. (For instance, if you have a shorter torso, your tee may fall a little longer based on the garment’s measurements.)
Keep in mind that this is just a general rule, as some individuals may prefer a longer tee that hits near the top of your inseam. This streetwise style can look cool and casual – but you want to be careful that your tee doesn’t look too billowy or long.
Some people prefer more of a snug, body-hugging fit with their tees, while others like a looser drape. And in some cases, different situations call for a different fit. For instance, if you’re in the gym or in a yoga class, having a slightly tighter, more body-contouring fit so your tee doesn’t ride up during your workout or get snagged on any equipment. Similarly, if you’re opting for a laid-back, casual look, you might opt for a more relaxed fit.
Regardless of how tight you like your tees, as a general rule, your t-shirt should not bunch uncomfortably beneath your armpits, constricting movement and distorting the torso portion of your shirt. You also want to be sure a tee isn’t too tight that it clings in the wrong places, and you won’t feel as confident when you step out. Consider a fitted tee, but size up for a roomier fit to accommodate your build.
Similarly, you don’t want your t-shirt to be too loose and hang off of you if you have a slender frame. T-shirts that are too big can almost swallow you up, and the arm holes may hang longer, making them uncomfortable.
The neckline of your t-shirt (sometimes called the “collar”) is the band that goes around the neck, giving it a finished look instead of a raw edge. Also, keep in mind that many relaxed fit tees have a wider collar than the neckband on fitted tees.
The classic style of t-shirt features a round crew neck, although V-neck tees have become popular and fashionable in recent years. If you’re wearing a crewneck tee, the neckline should lay flat just above the collarbone. You don’t want the neckline to have a stretched-out or distorted appearance, bunching up instead of laying flat.
The shoulder area of your t-shirt is a surefire way to be sure you have a Goldilocks fit: not too loose, not too tight… but juuuuussst right! The shoulder seam of your t-shirt (on either a relaxed fit or fitted t-shirt) should hit right at the area where your shoulder ends and your arm begins.
If the seam extends beyond your shoulder bone, your tee might be too loose and droopy. If the seam doesn’t extend all the way to your shoulder joint, your shirt may be too small and constrictive, not allowing you a full range of motion and making it not nearly as comfortable as it should be.
It’s also important to take a look at t-shirts designed differently for men or women. Women’s t-shirts may have a shorter shoulder seam than men’s tees, taking into account physiological differences, such as narrower shoulders.
The sleeves on a classic t-shirt are short – hitting either just above or just below the bicep. However, there are other types of sleeve lengths, including ¾ lengths – typical for some raglan style tees, sleeveless tank tops, and long sleeves.
When shopping for the right fit on your short-sleeved tee, keep in mind that this can vary from shirt-to-shirt and style to style. On a classic fitted or relaxed fit men’s or unisex tee, the hem should hit at mid-bicep for a classic look. This also holds true for the sleeve on a fitted women’s tee, although some women’s sizes have shorter-length sleeves that hit just at the top of the bicep or directly below the shoulder cap – giving an almost cap-sleeve effect.
Sleeve width is also important, too. The sleeves on a relaxed fit tee may flare out slightly, given their larger armholes. However, you don’t want them to flag out more than 2 inches beyond the circumference of your arm, flapping in the breeze every time you walk at a brisk pace. Fitted tee sleeves should have a (you guessed it!) more fitted appearance, tapering down from the shoulder to mid-bicep with minimal flare.
The chest portion of your t-shirt should fit closer to the body than the lower (or torso) portion. However, you don’t want the chest area to be stretched too tightly or bunch beneath your armpits. If you have a graphic on your t-shirt, a too-tight chest area can distort the image and it can also feel very tight and restrictive in the shoulder and underarm area.
The torso portion of your t-shirt is the lower half of the body area. The torso area should taper slightly, even if you do favor a looser, boxier fit that’s standard with a relaxed fit tee in men’s or unisex sizes.
Women’s tees – in both relaxed fit and fitted styles – typically have a more form-fitting cut, nipping in at the waist area to give a more curved, feminine silhouette. Even if you do prefer a more form-fitting cut, take a look at the chest measurements of a given shirt to be sure it’s comfortable and won’t bunch, gap, or cling in unflattering ways.
Everyone is built a little differently. A t-shirt that looks great on your short, curvy friend may not fit you in quite the same way if you’re tall and slender. Finding the best fitting t-shirts for your frame involves knowing your body shape and how certain styles, fabrics and cuts will work for you. We’ll walk you through some helpful tips for choosing a shirt that allows you to feel comfortable and confident!
Men come in all shapes and sizes. Some have athletic body types, while others proudly rock the “dad bod.” Everybody (and every body) deserves to feel like they’re expressing their best self when they slip on their new favorite tee. Here are a few pointers on choosing the right men’s tees for your body type, helping you find the most flattering fit.
If you go all the way back to the ‘70s, when t-shirts first started to become more mainstream garments for men and women, ladies only had men’s and unisex sizes to choose from. Today, women have more t-shirt options than ever. It just boils down to a matter of preference and how you want to express yourself. Different women have different body types, and depending on which attributes you want your tee to showcase, the style and cut of your t-shirt can help you embrace them with confidence. Here are a few tips for choosing a ladies tee based on your body type:
Beyond your own body type and preferences for how you like your tees to fit, there are a few other tips to be mindful of when shopping for the perfect tee.
Beyond the differences in cuts between roomier relaxed fit tees and more body-hugging fitted tees, different t-shirt brands vary in terms of their measurements. A size large fitted tee in one brand may be slightly more snug than a large fitted tee made by a different brand. Be sure to look at size charts and sizing guides for each brand to be sure a given size works with your own unique measurements.
Different t-shirt materials can impact how a shirt may fit. Modern t-shirts come in a range of fabrics – not just cotton. Cotton tees have varying degrees of softness and thickness, depending on the type of cotton used (ringspun, combed, jersey, etc.). Pre-shrunk cotton shirts will hold their shape and won’t shrink in the wash. They also have a slightly thicker weight and won’t cling so closely to your body contours, potentially offering more of a slimming effect regardless of whether you choose a relaxed fit or fitted style. Cotton tees, for the most part, don’t have much stretch to them, so keep that in mind when choosing a shirt. Jersey cotton tees, on the other hand, are still 100% cotton, but are woven in such a way that they have more stretch than other types of 100% cotton tees.
T-shirts made with a poly-cotton blend or even a tri-blend (a combination of cotton, polyester, and breathable rayon) can feel softer to the touch than some cotton tees and have a bit more stretch due to the synthetic materials in the mix. However, these tees can also be a bit clingy.
With so many different brands, materials, and styles of t-shirts available today, it can be tough to narrow down your choices to find your new favorite. At Clothing Shop Online, we carry a wide variety of tees from trusted brands, all at outstanding prices. Here are just a few of our favorites:
The Gildan Softstyle 64000 is a unisex tee that’s not too tight and not too relaxed, achieving the elusive Goldilocks status for everyone. This softstyle tee has some of the characteristics of a fitted tee, including a narrower collar band, as well as a tapered width and shoulders.
The Gildan 64000 is available in a wide variety of colors, from go-with-anything neutrals to fashion-forward brights and pastels. If you’re choosing between solids or heathered options, be mindful that heathered tees in this style have a higher percentage of polyester in this poly-cotton blend. This makes it feel softer to the touch, but also gives it a bit more stretch.
For ladies who prefer a more relaxed fit with added stretch and coziness, look no further than the BELLA+CANVAS 6400. Made from comfortable jersey knit, this tee is available in a rainbow of colors, giving you plenty of options to suit your style profile. And even though it’s a relaxed fit tee, the brand’s careful eye for details offers side seams that still provide a feminine silhouette while still offering you all the ease of a Sunday morning.
If softness, stretch, and a wide variety of colors are your jam, the BELLA+CANVAS 3001 Men’s Jersey Tee has got you covered! This tee has more of a relaxed fit and flattering looser drape through the sleeves and torso. However, sizing down can offer you a more fitted style, if you prefer. This shirt is equally suited to a night out with friends with your favorite pair of worn-in jeans or on a weekend hike, giving you plenty of breathability on an active day off.
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