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What Size Shirt Should I Wear? A Tee Size Guide

how to choose shirt size

When you’re shopping for shirts, you’ll quickly notice that fits may vary – medium t-shirts from one brand can differ significantly to another. Finding the ideal size can be a challenge, but knowing how to measure shirt size and what factors influence sizing.

When you find perfect-fitting tshirts – not boxy or clingy, but snug in the right spots and comfortable – you’ll know it. Let’s dive into tee sizing and the various factors that affect it.

Shirt Sizing

t shirt fits

Tees generally range from S-XXL. Often, if you wear a size small shirt, other small shirts will fit fine. However, there are multiple factors that play into sizing. Besides chest, shoulder width, shirt length, and sleeve length, t-shirts come in a variation of fits that affect standard sizing, like:

  • Classic fit: A straight cut through the chest and waist. It is designed for mobility and comfort, without excessive bagginess.
  • Regular fit: Think comfort. Regular fit tees provide a loose feel with a less-tapered waist than classics.
  • Slim fit: This cut has a modern look, more fitted to the body. A “large” slim fit may fit more like a medium though, so you may notice a difference in your standard size t-shirt.

T-Shirt Size Chart

You’ll notice there are several measurements that go into each tshirt size, including chest width, shoulder width, shirt length, and sleeve length. Consider all these factors and you can find the right size for you.

Imperial/Metric S M L XL XXL XXXL
Chest Circumference (A) 37.8” / 96cm 39.8” / 101cm 41.7” / 106cm 43.7” / 111cm 45.7” / 116cm 47.6” / 121cm
Shoulder Width (B) 15.7” / 40cm 16.5” / 42cm 17.3” / 44cm 18.1” / 46cm 18.9” / 48cm 19.7” / 50cm
Shirt Length (C) 26” / 68cm 27” / 69cm 28” / 70cm 29” / 71cm 30” / 72cm 31” / 73cm
Sleeve Length (D) 7” / 18cm 7.5”/19cm 8” / 20cm 8.5”/21cm 9” / 22cm 9.5”/23cm

t shirt size chart


How To Measure Shirt Size

Note the following measurements in both inches (imperial) and centimeters (metric) so that you can compare them to the size charts from any shirt brand. To ensure accuracy, you can take multiple measurements and then find the average.

How To Measure Your Width

Measuring your chest width for shirt sizing is easy, requiring only a tape measure (and maybe a friend). To measure yourself for t-shirt width:

  1. Stand up straight with your arms relaxed at your sides.
  2. Take the measuring tape and wrap it around the fullest part of your chest, just under your armpits. Make sure the measuring tape is straight and aligned with the center of your body.
  3. Bring the ends of the measuring tape together at the front of your chest and note the measurement where the end of the measuring tape meets the rest of the tape.
  4. Don’t try to expand your chest and don’t tighten the tape measure too much – just stretch it snugly. This measurement is your chest circumference.

how to measure t shirt width

How To Measure Shirt Length

To measure yourself for t-shirt length, you will need a measuring tape. Here are the steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your shoulders relaxed.
  2. Determine the desired length of the t-shirt you want to wear. Do you want a longer, oversized fit or a shorter, fitted style?
  3. Take the measuring tape and hold it at the highest point of your shoulder, which is the point where your shoulder and neck meet.
  4. Let the measuring tape fall straight down your body until it reaches the desired length of the t-shirt. Make sure the measuring tape is straight and aligned with the center of your body.
  5. Note the measurement where the end of the measuring tape meets your body. Add a little more length if you prefer tucking in and a little less if you wear shirts untucked. This measurement is your ideal t-shirt length.

how to measure t shirt length

How To Measure Neck Size

To measure yourself for tee neck size, you will need a measuring tape and a mirror or a friend to help you. Here are the steps:

  1. Stand in front of a mirror or have a friend help you. Ensure that your shoulders are relaxed and your head is in a neutral position.
  2. Determine where your neck and shoulders meet and move up an inch, this is where you’ll start your measurement. Take the measuring tape and wrap it around your neck, just below your Adam's apple. Make sure that the tape is level and snug but not tight.
  3. Note the measurement where the end of the measuring tape meets the rest of the tape. This measurement is your neck size.

how to measure t shirt neck

Clothes Size by Height and Weight

Differences in height and weight can affect sizing up or down, even if other measurements match sizing charts. For example, if you are particularly tall, you may have to size up for more shirt length. The same goes for weight. If you measure your chest, neck, and torso length, but you carry more weight in the middle, it may be best to size up for more shirt width.

How Should My Shirt Fit?

Slim Fit

slim fit tees

Slim fit shirts often have a shorter sleeve, slimming down through the chest and shoulders. They will be comfortably snug – but not tight – and can add a more tailor-made look to what you’re wearing.

Classic Fit

classic fit tees

Classic fit t-shirts have a broader cut across the chest and shoulders than slim fit tees. They should fit loosely without sagging too much off the shoulders or waist. Classic fit tees are a staple that provide lasting comfort.

Modern Fit

modern fit tees

A modern fit shirt blends the best of the slim fit and the classic fit with a little more length. It uses more fabric and is not as tight as a slim fit, but still provides snugness to enhance all the right areas. It has a little extra space in the arms, waist, and chest, and balances style and comfort well.

How To Tell If My Shirt is Too Small?

If you’re thinking your shirt may be too small, there are a couple ways to check. First, look at the stitching on your shoulder. if the stitching cuts off above your shoulder, your shirt is not big enough. The opposite is also true – If the seams go far past your shoulder, the shirt is too large.

Another way to check is by raising your arms. If your bellybutton is exposed when you lift up, the tee is too small. The bottom hem should hang below the top of your hips and well below your waist. Anything too tight will look like the shirt is constraining you.

Knowing how to measure your chest width, neck, and length are essential to discovering where you fall in the size chart. Narrowing down your preferences, including classic, slim, modern, and regular fit, can give you a better understanding of how to find that ideal tee you’re looking for.