Difference Between Slim Fit And Classic Fit Shirts – Choosing the right T-shirt can be a challenge, and finding the perfect one is an ongoing mission, even for those in the industry. There are dozens of major brands that combine up to hundreds of styles. Choosing the right fabric is a big part of it, and I’ve covered that in detail, but another big part is choosing the right fit. Because not all fits are created equal.
You’d think the fit of a modest T-shirt would be a simple matter, but a lot goes into it. In this post we cover the different terminology, the difference between side-seam and tubular, the difference between fashion fit and standard fit, give you some principles of what makes a great fit for T-shirt, and some recommendations.
- 1 Difference Between Slim Fit And Classic Fit Shirts
- 2 Amazon.com: Nogoqu Men’s Contrast Color Dress Shirts Regular Fit Long Sleeve Button Down Shirt Collar Formal Business Shirts (pink, Xxl)
- 3 Athletic Fit Dress Shirts Vs. Slim Fit
- 4 Men’s Shirt Fit Guide
Difference Between Slim Fit And Classic Fit Shirts
In the T-shirt world, when you see the word unisex, it doesn’t mean something is specially designed to fit both men and women. It may mean that there is no women’s (or girls’) version of that garment.
Moss Marcella Slim Fit Classic Collar Dress Shirt, White At John Lewis & Partners
And if it doesn’t identify men or women, it’s an independent style – aka unisex. Means a men’s cut that women can wear too.
T-shirts have historically been a men’s garment. They were first used as underwear and distributed to members of the US Navy, with other branches of the military following suit. Movies in the 1950s popularized wearing the T-shirt alone, with Marlon Brando and James Dean personifying this carefree and masculine look. These days, T-shirts are for everyone.
While men’s and unisex tees have only a few different fits, women’s styles have a wide variety, with new styles coming out every year. The world of women’s tees is much more complicated, so we created an essential guide for women’s sizing and 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 go together – that’s why we have an entire sales team dedicated to helping our customers solve these things every day. But in general, we can divide them into two broad categories: standard and fashion.
Amazon.com: Nogoqu Men’s Contrast Color Dress Shirts Regular Fit Long Sleeve Button Down Shirt Collar Formal Business Shirts (pink, Xxl)
Standard fit gained popularity in the 80s and 90s, featuring a generic build that tends to be boxier and roomier, without the tailoring and fit of their fashion counterparts. Standard fit tees 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 heavily fitted people.
Also referred to as a “fit,” this cut contours the body closer, with less baggy and more fitted lines around the shoulders, arms and torso. The arms have a snugger fit, and the sleeve length is shorter. We also know this as “retail fit,” although it can fall between standard and fashion.
The first and most important thing to get the right fit is choosing the right size. Most men choose one size too big (or more) for comfort reasons. But when looking your best in a T-shirt, it’s much more flattering to wear the size that fits best.
Here is a size chart I made with pictures of my colleague, James. Look at the differences and consider what qualities you should look for in order to determine your correct size.
Omega Italy Men's Slim Fit Classic Button Up Long Sleeve Solid Color Dress Shirt
For James, MEDIUM looks good, but as you can see, there is some bunching under the armpits. BIG is the way to go, considering these shirts hadn’t been washed yet. That should shrink it just enough to bring out the slack around the waist and make the length come up an inch or two. Keep in mind the possible shrinkage if you go with 100% cotton, but even polyester can shrink.
Below are the top six characteristics of a well-fitting T-shirt, followed by an infographic you can use for future reference. You may think this is a subjective opinion based on choice, but there is an established set of criteria to consider when you try your hand at it. Founded by whom, you ask? Fashion people! Just go with it.
The shoulder seam should line up with the end of the shoulder bone, where it meets the top of the arm. If it falls over the edge, the shirt is probably too big. If the seam lands in the area before the shoulder curve begins, the tee is too small.
The hem of the sleeve should fall at the center of the bicep and should hug the arm without flaring more than two inches. The standard or classic fit tees have larger flared armholes. Slightly longer sleeves can work for taller people.
Men's Slim Fit Classic Button Up Long Sleeve Solid Color Long Sleeve Dress Shirt
A T-shirt should cover the waist and fall at the hips about halfway down the fly. This length can vary by a few inches based on a person’s height, but it should never go past the top of the inseam or start to look like a nightgown.
The neckline should sit flat above the collar bone without being too loose or light. A standard/classic fit tee has wider collars than a fashion/slim fit. A V neck may fall just below the clavicle. Men should avoid a “deep” V neck.
The chest area should be more form fitting than the lower half, but there should be no stretch or bunching under the armpit area. This is where the slimming structure of fashion fit tees does a great job of hugging the body better.
The torso should taper slightly to the contour of the body, rather than being straight or bulky. Side-seam shirts provide this fitted look, while standard/classic counterparts have a boxer-shaped, baggier fit around the torso.
Athletic Fit Dress Shirts Vs. Slim Fit
There are two main ways that T-shirts are constructed, which can determine how they fit. T-shirts were originally constructed with side seams until the tubular technique came along and took over the market with its efficiency, consistency, and lower manufacturing cost. Now side seams are gaining back popularity. So which one is better?
Many people will say that side seam construction is the way to go because of its superior fit, others say that a tubular tee is just fine. Both types of construction are widely available. Here’s a quick look at the differences between them.
They make a tubular tee with a tube of fabric that spirals into the shirt, with the neck and arms sewn in. This style is cheaper than a side seam because there is less sewing involved, and it is easier to manufacture. The compromise is a generic, inferior fit – because the human body is not shaped like a tube. At least I don’t know anyone shaped like a tube.
Another major issue besides fit is “torquing,” where the garment begins to twist, especially after washing and drying. Because it doesn’t have the side seams to support the structure of the garment, it can make any normal print look misplaced and have you walking around with a peaked sides look. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s not the best look.
Slim Fit Vs. Regular Fit: What’s The Difference?
One advantage of no seams (besides the cheaper price point) is that you can use the side as a print area since there is no seam. Side seams make side prints almost impossible due to the ink deposit that occurs in the seam. Also not looking good. So if you’re looking for a unique printing location on your tee, there’s only one way to go: completely tubular.
Tees with side seams are exactly what you’d think: they’re constructed with seams running down the underside of the sleeve and down the torso of the shirt. They take longer to produce than tubular shirts, so the price point is a bit higher. Most T-shirts were produced in this way until the technique of using tubular sheets of fabric came along.
The fit is better than tubular and allows for a “fashion fit,” essentially allowing for a contoured fit that hugs the body better. Side seams also make it easier for printers as we can use them as guides when lining up the tee on a palate, resulting in more consistent print positions throughout a run. So it’s a win/win. So much winning.
Side seams made a comeback with the rise of American Apparel in the 90’s when the innovative and famous company pioneered the “fit fashion” look. Their tees were more tailored and flatter than the competition. Before long, American Apparel had set a new standard in T-shirt construction, with rival brands following their lead and many taking their side.
Men’s Shirt Fit Guide
However, side seam T-shirts are the minority when compared to tubular (also known as circular) construction, especially in the custom printed world. In general, when shopping for your own order of T-shirts to print, look for the words “side-seamed” in the product description. If it doesn’t say those words, it’s likely a tubular build. But not always.
Choosing the right T-shirt can be a daunting task with so many brands and styles to choose from, so I’m going to narrow it down to three recommendations (good, better, best) in each of the three categories: standard fit tubular, tubular fit fashion, and side-seam fit fashion. If you still can’t decide, call us, and one of our product experts can guide you to the right choice.
One of our best selling T-shirts, the Gildan G200 is the best choice for those who want a durable tee with a great print surface and an affordable price point. It’s 6.1 ounces,
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