How should a T-Shirt fit?

SANVT Journal

There is hardly a wardrobe in which the ubiquitous Tee can’t be found. Giorgio Armani once called it “the alpha and omega of fashion alphabet”. Its impact is immense. Originally worn as underwear, it gained fame and honour in the 70s and became a popular leisure look for everyone. Today it is worn during business-hours under a shirt, by teachers as a comfortable everyday shirt, or by hipsters as a laid-back option.

The T-Shirt is suitable for everyday use, it is timeless and uncomplicated. But unfortunately, it often turns out that such a simple piece like the T-Shirt does not fit everyone’s body shape. And one thing is also clear: as cool as a T-Shirt can look it can also go horribly wrong when the fit is inferior. The potential fashion ‘faux-pas’ are many: necklines that are too wide, too deep or worn out, standard T-Shirts are also often too long or too wide. Obviously a T-Shirt that is too tight can instantly ruin every man’s outfit.


Of course, everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to clothing. But – despite challenges of non-standardised sizes and the variety of different materials – there are some general style principles and rules to find the perfect T-Shirt fit. These rules are independent of body shape, age, skin tone and other personal characteristics. If you want a T-Shirt that fits like a tailor-made item, the following 5 points are critical when considering how should a T-shirt fit :

  • Collar: those with deep Vs should be avoided
  • Shoulders: seams should sit on shoulder-bone
  • Sleeves: they should be mid-length on biceps and not too loose
  • Length: a T-Shirt should end middle of fly
  • Width: ideal when you leave 2.5-5cm loose fabric on each side of the torso


T-Shirts for men are generally designed with round (also called ‘Crew)’ or V-shaped necklines. The round neck is a timeless classic and can be combined with anything. It should lie flat and be tight enough to cover all chest hair. It should not cut the neck but feel comfortable and well-fitting. A V-neck should only be chosen as and undershirt or for very casual occasions; its lowest point should never be below the height of the armpits.

Amadeus wearing the perfect T-Shirt feat. a neat crew neck


A great fitting T-Shirt can be identified clearly by how it sits around the shoulders. Under no circumstances should the shoulder seam be significantly over the shoulder bone or on the upper arm. Small deviations are forgivable but in the best case the seam should lie directly on the shoulder bone – exactly where the curve of the shoulder begins. If this is the case, you can be sure that the T-Shirt is neither too big nor too small and that it doesn’t pinch anywhere.

Seams sitting neatly on shoulder bone: Amadeus wearing the perfect T-Shirt


The perfect sleeve should fit neither too tight nor too wide. The room between skin and the T-Shirt’s loose fabric should be approx. 2.5 – 3.5 cm. This way, arms can be accentuated discreetly without looking squashed. In addition, the sleeve should go to the middle of the bicep: halfway between the armpit and elbow.

Mid-length & fitted sleeved: Amadeus in the perfect T-Shirt


Regardless your body shape, the perfect T-Shirt should neither be too loose nor too tight. A T-Shirt that is too wide does not hide unnecessary kilos, but makes the wearer look even bigger and rounder. A tight-fitting T-Shirt, on the other hand, looks like a compression shirt and is never nice, not even on trained men. As a rule of thumb, it is therefore advisable to leave about 2.5-5cm extra fabric at abdominal height on each side of the T-Shirt (variation depends if a slim or a rather loose fit is preferred). In addition, under no circumstances should substantial tension lines be visible on the chest. If all this is taken into account, an elegant and understated look is guaranteed.  

Not too tight & not too loose around torso. Amadeus in the perfect T-Shirt


Often the most challenging aspect when considering the perfect fit of a T-Shirt is its length. Probably every man knows the frustrating experience when buying a new T-Shirt of it either being too long or too short, quite often exposing the belly when lifting one’s arms.

Nonetheless, the ideal length can be easily determined: a T-Shirt is perfect when it ends approx. 5cm below the lower edge of the belt. Or to put it in other words: when it ends at the middle of your fly. This avoids the involuntary exposure of naked body parts, as well as the ‘potato-sack’ look of a shirt that is too long.

Length matters. Tucked in or worn over the trouser. Amadeus in the perfect T-Shirt


Now that we have outlined the simplest rules for a perfect fit, you can confidently take a close look at your own wardrobe. With our instructions you can check the fit of your current T-Shirts. It’s worth remembering that, although it’s not standard practice, it is quite possible to get your Tees amended without necessarily buying new shirts. This saves not only cash but also the planet: less is more!


For 3.8 billion men globally, there are only 5 common T-shirt sizes (XS-XL). SANVT is different. We’ve introduced a revolutionary size system that considers width and length as independent dimensions. For us, wider is not equal to longer and narrower is not equal to shorter. Instead of the usual five sizes, we therefore offer 18 size combinations that are better tailored to individual body shapes.

We have also developed an intuitive size finder that determines the ideal fit based on height, weight and shoe size. It has never been so easy to find the perfect fit. We make it possible for everyone to find their ideal T-shirt. Simple, uncomplicated and very SANVT.

You found the perfect fitting T-Shirt? Find out more on how to take care for your cotton T-Shirt so it lasts longer!