How should a Sweatshirt fit?

SANVT Journal

The sweatshirt was invented back in the 1920s in the USA, when the owner of an underwear factory was looking for a more comfortable second-layer alternative (before the cotton sweater, wool was mainly used). The result became immediately popular and the sweatshirt has been the symbol of sport and comfort ever since – spanning generations and social backgrounds.  

Nowadays, the sweatshirt has long surpassed the status of a comfy sports garment. A classic crewneck sweatshirt is versatile and can be worn stylishly in almost any situation, you just have to know how to combine it and above all how to find the right fit. A sweatshirt that is too tight, too loose fitting, too short or too long, can quickly turn an otherwise fantastic outfit into a fashion-faux pas. But even though the classic sweatshirt should be part of everyone’s wardrobe, searching for a great fitting sweatshirt can be a difficult task.

By the way, the sweatshirt got its not-so-glamorous name “sweatshirt” because of its sweaty condition after doing sports.  


Of course, the question of the right fit is a subjective matter. However, a few general rules can help you to see through the jumble of sizes and materials – regardless of age, height, physique or other personal characteristics. Here are some basic guidelines for how a men’s sweatshirt should fit. With these, nothing will stand in your way of finding a perfect-fitting sweatshirt.

  • Collar: must not be too tight nor too loose.
  • Shoulders: the shoulder seams should sit on the shoulder bone.
  • Sleeves: cuffs should reach the wrists, with a rather tight fit around ribs and loose sleeves.
  • Length: the waistband should end below the hips: the mid-length of your zip.
  • Width: the waistband should have a snug fit around the hip but the body material should be rather loose.

Note: a guide for the perfect fitting T-Shirt can be found here in our blog.  


A classic sweatshirt should have a round neck, which means you can combine it with all kinds of undergarments. If you want to mix the sweatshirt with a bit of preppy appeal, you can let an Oxford or Polo-shirt collar peek out. However, it is important that the collar of the sweatshirt does not cut into the neck, nor should it be too tight, because the sweatshirt is still a comfortable garment and should look like one. If the quality is poor, the collar can also be worn-out so that the waistband begins to hang forward, which is an absolute no-go.

Martin wearing the perfect Sweatshirt feat. the ideal crewneck


Since a classic sweatshirt should be a rather loose-fitting garment, you have to pay special attention to the placement of the shoulder seam. It should lie on the shoulder bone, because if it sits on the upper shoulder (close to the neck) the sleeve may cut into your armpits. On the other hand, if the shoulder seams sit on the upper arm, the sweatshirt usually looks too big.

Seams sitting neatly on Martin’s shoulder bone


Length: Since the sweatshirt is generally part of a wardrobe for colder days, the sleeves should, naturally, reach to the wrists and cover your watch (if you wear one) when your arms are straight.

Width: Tight waistbands protect against the cold, so the cuffs should finish just above the wrists but not cut in. The sleeves themselves should be loose enough so you can bend the arm without shortening the length of the sleeves.

Martin is showing how cuffs should sit when arms are bent


Waist: Similar to the sleeves, the waistband should fit at the hip but the rest of the sweatshirt should be loose. If a sweatshirt fits too tight around your waist, it may appear that you can’t fit into your clothes anymore – and due to the taut waistband the rest of the sweatshirt might not have a nice drape and look bulky.

Hips: Usually the perfect width around your hips leaves 3-6cm of loose fabric on each side of the torso. It’s important to remember that wearing a sweatshirt that is too big is never a clever option, especially if you try to hide a tummy, as this usually makes the wearer look even bigger than he actually is.

Not too tight but not too loose around the torso: Martin has found his perfect width.


The waistband should end below the hip, i.e. approximately in the middle of the zipper of your denims. It should definitely not cover your bottom. When it comes to picking the correct length, the actual quality of the fabric is also crucial: cheaper garments quite often shrink, so the supposedly perfect length becomes noticeably imperfect after a few washes (Note: in our blog you can find out more about the perfect material for Sweatshirts).

Length matters. Tucked in or worn over the trouser: Martin wears the perfect Sweatshirt.

SANVT guarantees a better fitting sweatshirt

There are many different body sizes and shapes but the fashion industry usually offers only 5 different sizes (XS-XL). We’ve introduced a revolutionary sizing system that considers width and length as independent dimensionsThis means that you can have a longer sweatshirt, which does not go the same way in width – and vice versa. Our system makes it easy for men to find the perfect fitting Sweatshirt, tailored to their individual body type.

Photography by courtesy of Martin Ehmele