This t-shirt fit guide will show you exactly how a t-shirt should fit, regardless of your build.
They’re comfortable, casual and versatile, so you really need to have a few t-shirts that fit well and make you look great.
T-Shirts Need to Fit Properly
Just like any other garments, t-shirts need to fit well. Even a $500 designer t-shirt will look terrible if it doesn’t fit properly.
On one side of the spectrum, you have ill-fitting, worn out tees with obnoxious graphics on them, which make even the most handsome men among us like a sloppy teenagers.
One the other side, you have fitted, high-quality t-shirts in versatile, solid colors or tasteful patterns. These are universally flattering, regardless of age, skin tone or body type.
Needless to say, we’re going for the latter.
Timeless T-Shirt Fit
So how should a t-shirt fit? Glad you asked, let’s talk about the four most important aspects: shoulders, sleeves, torso and length.
Keep in mind, we’re going for the most timeless possible look here – not too tight, not too loose. We’ll talk about other types of t-shirt fit in a later section.
You want to make sure the shoulders aren’t too wide. The best way to do this is find where your shoulder ends and your arm begins, and make sure the shoulder seam doesn’t go too far past that.
It’s okay if it doesn’t land directly on top of your shoulder bone, but make sure the seams aren’t hanging down on your upper arm.
This is a clear sign that the shirt is too big for you.
Moving on to the sleeves, you want to pay attention to both length and width. Your sleeves should end about halfway between your armpit and elbow.
Don’t feel the need to get the measuring tape out or anything like that. Just make sure the sleeves aren’t too close to your elbow (which will make your arms look shorter).
For the width, you want to make sure your sleeves aren’t tenting out away from your arms. This can make it hard for people to appreciate your guns and give them the respect they deserve!
Instead, the sleeves should fit closely around your arm without being tight or restrictive (like a compression shirt you might wear for working out).
The torso is made up of the chest, the stomach and the hips. You’re aiming for a fitted look – not too tight but not too loose.
If you see tension lines between your pecs, the shirt is too tight, or you simply bench press too much, bruh.
You should be able to pinch about 2-3 inches of fabric on either side of your torso. Any more than that and the shirt might be too loose.
If you can’t pinch at least an inch of fabric on either side, it may be too tight.
The most problematic part clothing for shorter guys is the length. It seems like every t-shirt is made for guys who are super tall and skinny, or morbidly obese pre-teens.
Your shirt should go about two inches past your waistband (or the bottom of your belt), and it should end right around mid-fly.
If it goes all the way to the bottom of your fly, it’s too long and will make you look shorter.
At 5’6″, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a shorter man, but I think we can all agree that we don’t want to look shorter than we actually are.
T-Shirt Fit Types
Since clothing fit is extremely subject to trends, I want to acknowledge that it’s okay to experiment with different silhouettes, as long as you’re doing it intentionally.
There’s a difference between wearing a boxy fit tee because you like the look, and wearing an ill-fitting tee because you don’t know any better.
Timeless Fit Tees
This is the fit I outlined above, and it should be the default for most guys.
It’s universally flattering and won’t go out of style anytime soon. when in doubt, try to achieve this type of fit.
Boxy Fit Tees
At the time of writing, fashion designers are embracing looser fitting clothes. This is partially due to a resurgence of 90s aesthetics, which were heavily influenced by the 1970s.
So wide-leg trousers are all the rage, and boxy fit t-shirts are often seen accompanying these roomier pants.
Personally, I stay away from these trends because I like buying clothes that will look good 5+ years from now.
But, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with looser clothing and boxy tees, so wear what makes you happy!
Muscle Fit Tees
This type of t-shirt fit has more to do with your build, as a slim fit tee will look like a muscle fit tee on super jacked dudes.
But any guy with a bit of muscle on his bones can buy a close-fitting shirt (just look for athletic fit t-shirts), and it’s not a bad way to show off your hard-earned physique.
How do your t-shirts fit?
Now that you know how a t-shirt is supposed to fit, it might be a good idea to do an audit of your current shirt collection. Do they fit properly?
If they’re too long, you can get the hemmed. This is a great option if you already have some that you love but that are too long.
Just make sure you go to a tailor who can handle knits (most wedding dress alteration places are safe bets).
If the sleeves are too long, you can roll them up (cuff them) once or twice.
But if the shoulders are too wide, you can’t fix that, so it’s best to replace the shirt with one that fits properly.
If you’re a shorter guy, here’s a guide to t-shirts for short men.