Are you looking for information on custom t-shirts and where to buy them? You’ve come to the right place! Read on to learn more.
T-shirts are such an essential part of everyone’s wardrobe, yet they are almost a one-size-fits-all item.
Yes, there is a range of sizes, usually XS – XXL, but this hardly takes into account the actual range of sizes and shapes that people come in. No other clothing item, besides socks, ties, and beanies comes in such a small size range.
Sizing in Ready-To-Wear T-Shirts
It’s important to understand why you can’t necessarily walk into any store and walk out with a good t-shirt. It’s not you – it’s the fashion industry.
Most companies produce shirts in the 5 or 6 basic sizes XS – 2XL. There are some that may extend sizing to XXS and 3XL or tall, but that isn’t the norm. The sizing assumes that everyone can fit into one of these basic sizes.
However, not everyone comes in the idealized size of 6’1”, 198 pounds. What happens if your chest, belly, or even biceps require you to go up a size. That means that the entire pattern increases an inch in every direction – including the length. Increased girth doesn’t equate to increased length in most people.
I’ve tried to make a study of what the average t-shirt size is. It’s an impossible task because every manufacturer has their own ideal customer and each size really fits a 1-3” range.
Comparing an industry size guide, manufacturers such as Gap, Ralph Lauren, and Patagonia, as well as 6 other manufacturers for mediums.
Chest dimensions range from 38-41”, sleeve length from 31-34”, and waist from 31-35”. Very obviously a medium in one brand may be a small or large in another.
One way to avoid this problem, and all other fit issues that may arise, is to buy custom t-shirts.
Fit issues are not uncommon with t-shirts. The basic pattern is a straight line from the bottom of the armhole to the hem. Many are made to be boxy which can lead to you looking dumpy.
Not only that, but as a shorter person you have to deal with a shirt that may be too long.
If you choose to wear them untucked, it will be obvious that it’s the wrong length and may make your legs look stumpy. If you want to tuck them in for a cleaner look you have too much bulk in your pants to get a smooth line.
Normally, the shoulders are the starting point of a proper fit. If you need to go up a size because you work out, your shoulders will fit, but the rest of the body may be tent-like. If you’re slender in the shoulders but have a bit of a belly, the top of your armhole seam may be half-way down your shoulder.
Even the neck opening may not fit properly – if you’ve gone up a size the neck may hang down too much for a clean fit. And no one wants a neck opening that cuts into their throat.
There are really only 2 elements to a t-shirt: the fit and the fabric. The fit can take a knock-around look of jeans or khakis and a t-shirt and elevate it to business casual, or weekend evenings out. Add a sportcoat and you have an elegant outfit that can go most places.
A perfectly fitted t-shirt can make an outfit, whether dressy or casual, look elegant while a sloppy t-shirt will make every outfit sloppy.
You can buy t-shirts and polos that will fit you perfectly regardless of your height, weight, or body shape. With custom you get to choose a number of options, more with some than others. Choices include:
- Type of neck opening: crew, v-neck, mock turtle/high crew, or turtle neck
- Bottom hem: straight across, split at sides-equal length, split at sides with the back longer
- Sleeve length: long or short
- Sleeve hem: folded, banded or straight
- Number of buttons
- Placket color
- Fabric choices
- Design: colors, etc.
There aren’t as many choices as you find for custom suits, dress shirts, and jeans, but there is no reason why you should settle for t-shirts that aren’t exactly what you want.
They make-or-break an outfit as quickly as any other piece of clothing. Once you try custom you many never go back to ready-to-wear again.
A Quick Overview of Polo Shirts & Henleys
First, a quick refresher on some terms. Polo shirts have a knit collar, usually a knit cuff at the sleeve, and a placket with 2-3 buttons.
They can come in jersey (t-shirt material) or pique. Pique is a waffle like fabric that is heavier or thicker than jersey.
The French tennis player, René Lacoste popularized what we consider polo shirts in the late 1920’s. He was one of the first athletes to capitalize on his popularity by launching a signature line of clothing.
He designed the shirt, while still competing, to be more breathable, cooler, and with improved range of motion from traditional tennis outfits. You may recognize the brand by their signature alligator logo.
A Henley is collarless with a round neckline. It also has a 3-5” placket with 2-5 buttons. Henley’s can be made in either jersey or pique.
Originally, the pattern was used for nineteenth-century undergarments for men. They made the transition to sportswear as the preferred shirt for rowing.
They get their name from the western English town of Henley-on-the-Thames, host of the Royal Regatta. Part of the tradition there is that losers give their shirts to the winners at the end of the race. The buttons made this much easier.
Where To Buy Custom T-Shirts
Here are some solid places to find custom shirts…
Son of a Tailor
While they only feature men’s shirts, their pattern department is happy to work with women so they can receive their own custom tops. This is one of the most extensive collections of fabrics and styles.
Ulrika Luksevica, Content Manager for Son of a Tailor, explains that “Height is one of the top reasons customers come to us. Essentially, if you aren’t average height, you have to choose between a shirt fitting one part of your body or another in standard sizing.”
They use a sizing system that accommodates most people.
However, if you need a bit more tweaking to find your best fit, you can access the “Advanced” setting which lets you specify “Everything, from the length of the shirt to where your shoulder-seam sits and how wide your sleeves are, can always be adjusted.”
Of course, if you want more “human” input, their pattern team is happy to work with you.
Ulrika says: “Over the years we’ve received a lot of positive messages from people who are not only taller or shorter than the average, but also people with deformities that require specific sizing in their clothing.”
From $68 with free shipping to the US.
Extra-long staple cotton, merino wool, pique cotton, 67% Tencel/33% cotton, light t-shirts of 67% Tencel/33% Supima cotton, and an invisible undershirt of 100% Tencel.
They use the highest quality cotton they can find for a stronger fabric that resists twisting and warping in the wash so that your t-shirt will keep its shape after multiple washes. Their cotton is grown in California, Supima certified, and knit in Portugal.
Their wool jersey, made in Denmark with construction in Portugal, is more flexible than cotton. It isn’t quite as durable, but the wool has a natural sheen and the shirts have a luxurious quality.
The wool elevates the t-shirt to something a bit more elegant that would be a great addition to a sportcoat or your business casual wardrobe.
Wool Knits are made with advanced knitting machines. These shirts are constructed as a single piece. This reduces production waste to less than 1%. The wool is constructed and supplied by Italy.
Tencel is sourced from PEFC forests and sustainably harvested. It is breathable, naturally anti-bacterial, moisture wicking, and drapes cleanly. There are currently 9 colors offered. They also offer a summer weight Tencel T-shirt (6 colors)
They make a cotton sweatshirt using cotton loopback fabric – called French Terry by some – and is a lighter weight sweatshirt material.
Son of a Tailor updates their products monthly, and each product’s color range is upgraded every 4 weeks. It appears that they keep the basic colors, and add others that are more seasonal.
They produce each color only in limited quantities with the expectation that each will sell out.
T-shirts, polos, and Henley’s come in long and short sleeve versions. They have 4 choices for neck openings: O-neck crew, O-neck single stitch, V-neck crew, and V-neck single stitch. Sleeve hems are either classic or folded. You can have your initials embroidered on the lower left hem.
The Hi-Neck could also be called a mock-turtleneck. It has a 3 cm crew neckline that fits close and stops just below the Adam’s apple. This style comes with side slits and blind stitched hem for a minimal, clean and refined look.
They have just introduced an invisible undershirt which matches your skin tone. (They have 7 tones to choose from). It’s made from 100% Tencel. They offer it in loose, fitted, or tight versions and O- or V-neck.
Your measurements for your undershirt may be different than your t-shirts.
They use 4 questions to help create your custom size starting with your height, weight, age, and shoe size. Body type is either slim, rectangle, round, or athletic; then you choose from tight, fitted, or loose to create your size.
Polos & Henleys
Short and long sleeve versions are available in pique.
They offer a free remake guarantee. If your first order doesn’t fit like you think it should, they’ll make you a new one free of charge.
They are pursuing a zero-waste policy. In part, this is because they only make what they sell, but they also follow other ethical and sustainable practices such as laser cutting for optimal precision.
Their fabric suppliers are listed and each fabric is described in detail. Their fabrics are OEKO-TEX Certified, tested for allergy inducing elements and harmful substances. They are Certified Carbon Neutral.
Citizen Wolf wants to re-engineer fashion to save the planet by custom making men’s and women’s t-shirts and zero-waste accessories. Eric, the founder and owner says: “I’m pretty short so it’s always been a constant struggle to find clothes that fit me properly.
It seemed crazy that the only garments you could get tailor fitted were suits and business shirts, instead of the clothes we wear 99% of the time.
The more Zoltan and I discussed it, the more we thought that somebody should solve this problem. And we were crazy enough to decide that we were the ones to solve it!”
Starting at $69.
86% of their fabrics are knitted in one of Australia’s last remaining knitting mills in Melbourne. Clothing is cut and sewn in their Sydney factory. Their shirts come in 22 colors in the following fabrics:
- Organic cotton 100 gsm
- Organic cotton 145 gsm
- Organic cotton 180 gsm
- 55% hemp/45% organic cotton
- Superfine Merino wool
Shirt necks come in crew, rounded, short V, mock or turtleneck. You can add a point pocket and curved hems, straight or folded sleeves.
They use the award-winning Magic Fit® algorithm using simple biometrics to create a t-shirt that fits your body perfectly. They replace the tape measure with your height, weight, and age and their algorithm builds a 94% accurate “mathemagical” model of your body shape and size.
In addition to fitted (fitted through chest, hips & bicep with curved side seams that taper at the waist), and relaxed (extra room in the chest and hips with subtle drop shoulder and straight side seams), they encourage you to discuss any particular fit preferences you have.
The company says: “As all of our Tees are made-to-order and custom fit using Magic Fit®, there is no limitations or additional charges for any size. We believe the current standard sizing system in fashion is broken as each body is unique, making it sometimes impossible to find the perfect fit in a standard size.
Sizing also varies wildly brand to brand, so custom fitting is one of the reasons we exist. We always ask everyone for notes on what makes them unique too. Everyone knows their body best, so this extra information allows Magic Fit® to adjust the base model to fit the body.”
They will replace any item that isn’t a perfect fit within the first 30 days. They will repair your shirts for free, you just pay the shipping.
They are carbon negative, ethically made in Sydney, a Certified B Corp, have won the Gold Good Design Award, Ethical Clothing Australia certified, and voluntarily opted-in the Modern Slavery Act. They use GOTS Certified Cotton and RWS Certified Wool.
Tailor Store likes to describe themselves as a tech company that does custom clothing. They use advanced algorithms to provide the fit of a lifetime.
They are based in Helsingborg, Sweden, and have production facilities in Sri Lanka where the owner, Magnus Loodberg studied and first fell in love with custom clothing. They produce suits, dress shirts, chinos, t-shirts and polos.
Starting at $39.
They use 100% Pima cotton, single jersey, 165 g/m2 in 6 colors.
Short or long-sleeved, rounded or v-neck. Sleeves can either be simply hemmed or folded (cuffed). You can add a chest pocket, and the bottom can be either simple or slit. A monogram can be added in 6 fonts and 6 thread colors.
Their fit starts with sliding scales for age, height, weight, shoe size, activity level, and gender. Then you can either take measurements of a current well-fitting shirt or use their app (it takes 2 minutes).
They have a customer support team to help you take your measurements if you have any difficulties.
Their Polos are available in 9 colors of 100% Pima cotton pique (210 g/m2). Placket choices are normal, thin, or long thin. Bottoms are straight, slit, or slit with a longer back. There are 40 button choices and even more thread choices.
You can also choose to have contrasting collar, button placket or outside fastenings on the placket.
They have a Perfect-Fit guarantee. If you are unhappy with your garment, they will remake or refund your money and ask that you either give the garment to a friend or donate it to charity.
Custom clothing is often more sustainable than mass-produced clothing. Tailor Store embraces this by not holding onto stock that is unnecessary. They are 100% carbon neutral and support projects such as reforestation in Sri Lanka.
Their fabrics conform to Europe’s strict requirements against harmful substances. They have reduced fabric waste by using smart equipment and any waste is either donated or sold at extremely low prices to local families for use in carpets and rugs.
They also own the factories they use so they can ensure ethical treatment of their employees.
MTailor was started by 2 Stanford computer science graduates who wanted to use their background as a way to bring custom clothing to the masses. To date, they have created reasonably priced custom clothing to over 100,000 men and women.
MTailor also makes blue jeans, chinos, dress shirts, suits, and women’s jeans.
They are very customer service driven and internally are committed to fostering a respectful environment among co-workers and from management.
Starting at $29.
9 colors of 100% cotton
Long and short sleeve T’s, crew or v-neck, pocket and monogram options.
Using your phone and their custom app to generate a pattern for a perfect fit. Just put your phone down, step back 6 feet and turn around once.
The whole process takes less than 15 seconds to take more than 16 measurements for clothes that fit 20% better than a professional tailor taking measurements.
7 colors are either 100% cotton or 100% polyester “Performance Blend”. Options include a 2 or 3 button placket, pocket, longer tails for tucking in or shorter if you want to keep it untucked, 5 colors of buttons, and a monogram.
They have a 90-day Perfect Fit Guarantee. If you don’t like your clothes for any reason, you can either return them or get a free remake.
iTailor claims to be the world’s leading online tailor with 260,000 customers served among 166 countries over the past 40 years. They have over 800 fabric choices for their men’s and women’s shirts, suits, dress shirts, vests, ties, pants, jeans, tuxes, and overcoats.
They own their factory and employ over 400 skilled employees. Your order will ship within 6 weeks.
Starting at $30 (monograms and contrasting are free).
15 solid cotton colors, 11 supersoft, colors, 6 stripes which can be combined in either half in each color or with a diagonal strip across the chest as a T-shirt design (See first 2 shirts below).
Round, v-neck, or turtleneck collars
You can use their easy-to-follow video measuring guide or purchase items in standard sizes.
Over 25 colors for each of their Regular, Dri Fit or Premium (striped) Polo fabrics. You can also have color contrast on your polos.
Choose from a different collar color (outside or inside), front (outside or box), or sleeve contrast. (See all choices below.) There are 23 buttons to choose from and 14 thread colors.
You can monogram on the sleeve, chest, bottom or upper back.
They don’t accept returns except for production error. Production errors may include minor alterations that are needed as long as they aren’t a result of mismeasurements.
You can cancel your order within the first 24 hours. When you place your order, if they suspect incorrect measurements, they contact you for clarification and hold the order for 48 hours.
Starting at approximately $34. There is a discount for purchasing multiple shirts at once.
100% organic Indian cotton, 50% PET/50% organic cotton, 100% Peruvian Pima, 20% cashmere/80% organic cotton in 5 colors all in single jersey 145 g/m2 weight.
Their Indian organic cotton uses fair trade producers and eco-friendly production. Their recycled PET (plastic bottles) is produced in Switzerland, and their cashmere is produced in Mongolia. The Pima cotton is harvested in Peru.
They have O-crew (rounded neck), v-neck, and 3-buttoned collars. Sleeves come normal or folded. Regular or slim fit for the body.
They take height, weight, age, and usual size, and apply them to a professional pattern maker algorithm to create a unique pattern design.
Measurements requested include body length, shoulder width, chest, waist, armhole depth, neck width, neck drop, sleeve length and width. They hand cut your fabric.
Orders can be cancelled before manufacturing begins. They can’t provide a full return since items are custom made if you are dissatisfied with your purchase.
They use sustainable fabrics and have production facilities in Portugal.
Where to Buy Custom Polos & Henleys
If you’re looking for custom polo shirts and henleys, then these are some companies you’ll want to look into.
Michael Andrews is a bespoke tailor based in New York. They create everything from swimming suits and pajamas to tuxedos.
They create clothing for men and women and feature wedding parties.
Short or long sleeve polos, split sides with a longer back, 3 button placket, traditional collar.
Cotton pique in 22 colors.
You can book a remote appointment to get measured or visit them in-person.
Proper Cloth focuses more on business wear, but they do have long and short sleeved polos. Some long sleeve options have a button cuff and spread collar; they resemble a dress shirt but for the fabric choice and they have a 3-button placket.
This is certainly something you could wear to work. They even go so far as to have pique button-down dress shirts.
Proper Cloth skirts the line between sportswear and business wear.
Starting at $125.
Options include pockets, 1 and 2 button versions.
- 40s – 60s 2 ply 100% cotton that has a special finish that reduces shrinkage, pilling, and color fading. It also has improved durability and creates a softer hand.
- 40s Thread Count (medium heavyweight) 76% cotton/24% polyester
- 30s single ply 54%Tencel/44% cotton/2% elastane pique (medium weight)
- 30s single ply 45% cotton/53% Tencel/2% Elastane (medium weight) jersey
- Performance pique of 55%cotton/45% polyester, 30s single ply
- 77% cotton/23% linen (lightweight) has all the benefits of linen with the stretch of cotton.
- Terry Cloth in 76% cotton/24% polyester (medium heavyweight)
They have super slim, slim, and classic fits. You fill out a 10 question sizing questionnaire (normal size, height, weight, size of your midsection, whether your chest and shoulder are average/muscular/thin/stocky, collar size, sleeve length, and whether you plan on wearing the shirt tucked or not.
They have videos on how to measure your body, virtual consultations, or can make a shirt from one that you send them.
They offer a Perfect Fit Guarantee. If you aren’t entirely happy with your purchase, you can return it for a complimentary remake in a new size or style or return it for a full refund.
Custom polos can be received in as little as 15 days. They use laser cutting technology.
- 50% Tencel/35% cotton/15% polyester in both jersey and pique
- 50% cotton/50% polyester in both jersey and pique
Long or short sleeve, same color or contrasting color collar and/or placket, pocket, you can choose from over 40 logos or a monogram in 14 colors
Slim or normal fit. They base their measurements on height, weight, straight/normal/stooped shoulders; thin/normal/large abdomen; strong/normal/corpulent chest; straight/normal/curved stance.
From these factors they will create measurements for your neck, sleeve length, shoulder width, chest, stomach, hips, and bicep. You can edit these measurements if needed.
They offer the Perfect Fit Guarantee; they will cover some of the alteration costs made by your local tailor or they will make you a new garment if it is unalterable.
Ralph Lauren is synonymous with polo shirts for many people. If you don’t like the fit of the shirts you find in stores, you can order custom polos – both design and fit – and have them delivered to your door in 8 weeks.
Premium cotton with hand-linking and unique flat-knit technology for a nearly seamless finish of ultrasoft feel.
Choose from 6 iconic polo designs of stripe or color blocking. There are 24 unique color combinations. Finally, you can personalize your design with text on the sleeve that is knit into the cuff fabric.
Personalized items can’t be returned.
Ralph Lauren has a goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. They will power their offices, distribution centers, and stores with 100% renewable electricity by 2025, and have zero waste to landfills by 2023.
They are collaborating with World Wildlife Fund to accelerate their water conservation efforts.
While some people may need custom shirts because they truly can’t find ready-made that have an adequate fit, everyone can enjoy the benefits of having quality shirts that are made specifically for them.
They will fit better and are usually better quality. Imagine yourself owning T-shirts you design to top off the custom jeans you just got.