How a T-shirt Should Fit

It is important we talk about the varied styles available since our last post was about some of the fabric type available in the market for printing.

CMB understands how different each person is based on body type/shape; and choosing the right T-shirt can be a challenge, and finding the perfect T-shirt is an ongoing mission, even for those in the industry which is why we provide a varied range of fits and sizes across the collection of garments we provide for our customer on our website.

Who would have thought tshirt fitting would be so much hassle. In this post, we’ll go over the different terms; the difference between fashion fit and standard fit, give you some principles of what makes a great fit for a T-shirt, and finally some recommendations.

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 there is not a women 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.

How about women’s fit?

While men’s and unisex tshirts only have a few different fits, women’s styles have a wide variety, with new styles coming out almost every year. The world of women’s t-shirt is much more vast and complex and we would need a different blog to discuss the complexity of women tshirt style/fit.

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 brands use different terms, and they don’t always line up with each other– they can be divided into two broad categories, standard and fashion fit.

Standard fit (or classic fit) T-shirts

Are the safer way to go if you’re buying a bulk order that needs to work for a variety of body types. This style can be a more forgiving look for heavy-set people.

Fashion fit (or slim-fit) T-shirts

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 people 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, keeping potential shrinkage in mind if you’re going with 100% cotton.

Below are the top six characteristics of a well-fitting T-shirt:


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.


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.


A T-shirt should cover the waistline and fall at the hips, which is about halfway down the zipper. 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.


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


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.


The torso should taper in slightly to contour 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.

In conclusion classic fit T-shirts are great for comfort, perfect for all the above and more. Slim fit T-shirts on the other hand are more for style. When in doubt about size, it’s usually best to ask and we will be happy to assist.

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