The Essential Men’s T-Shirt Size and Fit Guide

By Rebekah Carter|Posted on 18 May 2023
The Essential Men’s T-Shirt Size and Fit Guide

The humble shirt is a true fashion staple for anyone’s wardrobe. With various styles to choose from, and hundreds of designs to explore, a t-shirt can be a truly versatile garment, ideal for dressing up or down. Of course, to get the most out of your look, you’re going to need to choose the right size.

Finding the right fit for your custom polo or muscle tee is crucial to ensuring your shirt not only looks great, but feels amazing too. Unfortunately, as the countless sizing charts on clothing websites show, choosing the right size isn’t always as simple as it seems.

In today’s evolving digital world, where many consumers prefer to buy their fashion online, rather than visiting stores in person, it’s important to get a good idea of how shirt measurements work. Even if you’re designing a clothing store of your own, mastering men’s shirt sizes ensures you can more easily guide your customers towards the best product for their needs.

Here’s your guide to men’s t-shirt sizes.

The Perfect Fit: How to Measure a T-Shirt

In the past, most clothing connoisseurs would have the opportunity to try their shirts on before making a purchase. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible in today’s e commerce-focused world. Instead, consumers need to rely on size charts and guides to help them pick the right item.

The good news is you can quickly improve your chances of selecting the ideal size every time, just by measuring one of your favorite shirts. Comparing the measurements of a similar shirt to the size guides provided on fashion websites will guide you towards the best fit, regardless of whether you’re shopping with a local store, or an international brand.

Here’s what you’ll need to measure:

  • Body width:Measuring the width of a shirt ensures your new garment will fall comfortably around your chest and waist. Use your tape measure to find the exact size of your shirt, measuring about an inch below the arm or sleeve.
  • Body length: Men’s shirts can sometimes be a little shorter than women’s or unisex shirts, so it’s important to ensure you’re getting something long enough for your needs. Measure the back of the shirt, from the bottom of the hem to the neckline seam to get a length size.
  • Sleeve length: If you want to make the sleeves on your new shirt as comfortable as possible, you’ll need to measure the outer edge of your current favorite tee. Start on the edge of the shoulder, using the seam to guide your tape down to the end of the sleeve hem.
How to Measure a T-Shirt

Remember, when measuring shirts to get a good idea of the best fit for your new garments, the material, and style of the item can make a difference.

Athletic, muscle shirts are designed to be more form-fitting, while boxy, loose-fitting tees generally have a more relaxed fit.

Size Guides for the Most Common Men’s T-Shirt Types

As mentioned above, different styles of shirts are designed to fit you in specific ways. While your body measurements may stay the same regardless of what type of shirt you choose, the exact fit you want might vary. You may choose a smaller size than usual for a fitted tee, for instance, or a larger size if you’re opting for a relaxed, laid-back look.

Some companies also adapt their sizing to the style of t-shirt, to ensure consumers can continue to purchase the sizes they’re more familiar with, while getting a different kind of fit. Here’s a guide to some of the most common shirt styles available for men today, and how they’re meant to fit.

Standard Fit

Standard Fit

Standard fit shirts, otherwise known as “classic” or “regular” tees, are the most common in the fashion landscape. Most of the time, men’s standard shirts are designed to be comfortable and relaxed. They’re not as loose as some tees, but they’re also not as tight as slim or muscle-fit shirts. These products are great if you’re looking for a simple look that benefits any body type.

Keep in mind, standard fit shirts can come in a range of different styles, with varying sleeve lengths, collar sections, and neck cuts.

Slim/Muscle Fit

Slim/Muscle Fit

Similar to a woman’s “fitted shirt”, a slim or muscle-fit t-shirt is intended to showcase your silhouette, and draw attention to your most attractive features. Some include slightly tighter sleeves to show off biceps, while others are only tighter around the body.

The measurements of these styles of shirts are often a little smaller than you would expect from a standard tee. However, the materials used might have a little more stretch to them.

Slim/Muscle Fit

Since fitted muscle tees are smaller than standard shirts, they can ride up a little during athletic activities. It’s worth making sure your shirt is long enough to cover your body during movement. Plus, you’ll need to check the bottom width of the hem, to ensure it can cover your hips.

Baggy/Oversize Fit

Baggy/Oversize Fit

Popular among men hoping to create a relaxed, laid-back vibe, baggy and oversize fit t-shirts are designed to be a lot looser than their counterparts. They’re great for people in search of comfort, and can be ideal if you want to hide any excess weight around your waist or stomach.

Many oversize fit shirts aren’t just looser around the chest, they’re bigger in all areas, with larger sleeves, and a longer length. If you’re choosing a baggy shirt, you could consider going up or down a size depending on your measurements, to adjust your fit to your preferences.

Choosing the Right Men’s Shirt Size

Men’s shirt sizing can be a little confusing. Depending on where you are in the world, the sizes and measurements used by different companies can often vary. That’s why it’s so important for fashion retailers to provide their consumers with plenty of guidance to help them find the right fit.

If you’re creating your own custom t-shirts for the evolving fashion industry, or you’re selling shirts as influencer merch, it’s important to find the right production partner, who can offer a range of size options to choose from. Here at NovaTomato, we offer transparent sizing information for all of the shirts and other garments we produce, so you can keep your customers informed.

You could even offer a wide variety of different waist, length, and chest sizes with your fashion-on-demand products, to address the needs of countless customers. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you develop the perfect clothing collection.


Still have questions about men’s t-shirt sizing? Here are some answers to common queries to help expand your knowledge.

How Should a Man's T-Shirt Fit?

Every man will have his own preferences when it comes to choosing the perfect “fit” for a shirt. However, in general, most men’s t-shirts are designed to be comfortable and airy. You should have complete freedom of movement, even in a slim-fit shirt. Notably, men’s shirts can be a little shorter than women’s shirts, so always keep length in mind.

Is a Relaxed Fit T-Shirt Baggy?

Relaxed fit t-shirts don’t have to be extremely baggy, but they’re often a little looser than a standard or muscle shirt. They don’t hug the body, which makes movement easier, and they’re often a little more comfortable if you’re looking for something laid-back.

What Muscles Make Shirts Fit Better?

A great shirt will fit well regardless of your muscles. However, if you want to really show off your figure within your shirt, it’s often worth working on your pectorals and your biceps, to make the chest and sleeves of your shirt a little tighter.