T-Shirt Size Chart: A Complete Guide

Trying to figure out where you fit on a T-shirt size chart can make online shopping a real nightmare. All the numbers might seem confusing, and the entire table quite overwhelming at first. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

In the sections that follow, you will find a complete guide to the basic T-shirt size chart you can find on most websites while online shopping. Read on, and take notes!

Reading a T-Shirt Size Chart

You can find all the parts of a T-Shirt size chart below, along with how to find out what your measurements for a particular part are. Get a measuring tape, and follow the instructions carefully.

1.   The Chest

Most size charts start with the chest area. To measure it, you need to wrap your measuring tape around the fullest part of your chest. Make sure it goes under your arms and that it is neither too loose around you nor too tight. That way, you’ll get that perfect fit you need.

Though the numbers might vary slightly between brands, these are the chest measurements most of them use:

  • An S T-shirt: 34-36 inches
  • An M T-shirt: 38-40 inches
  • An L T-shirt: 42-44 inches
  • An XL T-shirt: 46-48 inches
  • A 2XL T-shirt: 50-52 inches
  • A 3XL T-shirt: 54-56 inches

As you can see, the sizes differ by about two inches. So, just add or subtract that number from the ones here to figure out any larger or smaller measurements that might be offered on a website but aren’t included here.

2.   The Length

To measure what the length of your T-shirt should be, take your measuring tape and place it at the highest point of your shoulder. Then, roll it all the way down to where you want the T-shirt hemline to end. Here are the usual measurements and sizes:

  • An S T-shirt: 25 inches
  • An M T-shirt: 26 inches
  • An L T-shirt: 27 inches
  • An XL T-shirt: 28 inches
  • A 2XL T-shirt: 29 inches
  • A 3XL T-shirt: 30 inches

If the store offers larger or smaller T-shirts, just add or subtract an inch from the size that comes after or before the one you need (24 inches for XS or 31 for 4XL, etc.)

3.   The Neck

The next step to finding the perfect T-shirt fit is measuring your neck. Take your tape measure and wrap it around the very bottom of your neck, where the collar of the T-shirt would go. As with the chest measurements, make sure it is neither too tight nor too loose but something that would feel comfortable. Here are the sizes:

  • An S T-shirt: 14-14 ½ inches
  • An M T-shirt: 15-15 ½ inches
  • An L T-shirt: 16-16 ½ inches
  • An XL T-shirt: 17-17 ½ inches
  • A 2XL T-shirt: 18-18 ½ inches
  • A 3XL T-shirt: 19-19 ½ inches

4.   The Sleeves

Though measuring the sleeves is much more important for long-sleeve shirts and hoodies, you should still do it for regular T-shirts as well. To figure out what sleeve length you need, place the measuring tape at the very top of your shoulder and stop where you want the sleeve to end. Here are the usual sizes:

  • An S T-shirt: 7-7 ½ inches
  • An M T-shirt: 8-8 ½ inches
  • An L T-shirt: 9-9 ½ inches
  • An XL T-shirt: 10-10 ½ inches
  • A 2XL T-shirt: 11-11 ½ inches
  • A 3XL T-shirt: 12-12 ½ inches

To make things easy on yourself, you can take a T-shirt you already own and measure that one instead of following the steps above. That T-shirt probably fits you perfectly, so it is a good model for all measurements.

5.   The Waist

To get your exact measurements, you should wrap the measuring tape around the most narrow part of your waist. If you can’t tell exactly where it is, try going about two inches above your belly button. That is approximately where your waist should be the most narrow.

Depending on what your T-shirt preferences are, you can either go for a tighter fit or a looser one. Here are the usual measurements:

  • An S T-shirt: 28-30 inches
  • An M T-shirt: 32-34 inches
  • An L T-shirt: 36-38 inches
  • An XL T-shirt: 40-42 inches
  • A 2XL T-shirt: 44-46 inches
  • A 3XL T-shirt: 48-50 inches

6.   The Bottom Width

To measure the bottom width you need, you should wrap your tape measure around your hips. Go a bit higher than that if the tee isn’t as long. Check out the usual sizes:

  • An S T-shirt: 34-36 inches
  • An M T-shirt: 38-40 inches
  • An L T-shirt: 42-44 inches
  • An XL T-shirt: 46-48 inches
  • A 2XL T-shirt: 50-52 inches
  • A 3XL T-shirt: 54-56 inches

More T-Shirt Size Chart Tips

As we have mentioned, it might be best to take a T-shirt you already have that fits you perfectly and measure it for reference. Doing so will make things easier for you. Once you get the measurements, you can simply keep using those unless something changes.

Another thing you should note is that certain brands sell clothes that are true to size while others don’t. That means a T-shirt labeled as XL might have the measurements stated above, but it might also run bigger or smaller, depending on the brand you choose.

Thus, never order a T-shirt based on sizes (L, Xl, etc.) alone. Instead, always check the exact measurements they correspond to. That way, you will be sure you will get a T-shirt that truly fits you in every way, and you will never have a problem navigating your way through a size chart again.

Another useful tip is to always get a bigger tee if you fall somewhere in between two sizes. That will ensure the T-shirt you buy isn’t too small and that you can wear it comfortably.

Finally, certain brands might not label their T-shirts with the labels this article used. However, if you see unfamiliar numbers or letters, don’t fret. The size chart on that brand’s website will always have a section with measurements that will be the same as the one we provided, no matter what label it has. Just look at those, and you should be fine.

A Few Parting Words

Shopping for T-shirts online can be a bit of a hassle if you aren’t familiar with the way sizes and measurements work for a certain brand. Luckily, you can make your job easier by checking out the T-shirt size chart each reputable brand provides along with its products. Simply compare your measurements to those on the chart, and you’ll be able to find a shirt that will fit you perfectly. Good luck!

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