How To Get the Best Size Breakdown for Your Group T-Shirt Ordering​

Are you planning to buy shirts or tops for your team, employees or group? Do you know how many will you need of each size? Choosing the quantity of each size for your order can be tricky as no two people are equal. The t-shirt size breakdown tips in this article will help you find the right fit for everyone.

Personal selection
The best way to get the best fit is simply ask everyone what size t-shirt they want! Your vendor should be able to provide a sizing chart for the t-shirt you have chosen and then you can collect responses for each individual. You could also request a few samples in advance for people to try on if they aren’t sure of the fit. This method only works best however for small audiences, and you would need to know who the audience is.

When deciding what sizes of t-shirts to buy, consider the type of fabric and fit of shirt as well as the brand and manufacturer. Some brands always run a little larger or smaller than others. Certain designs of shirts are created to be more loosely fitting than others and if that’s the case a large may be too baggy considering both the larger size and baggy cut. In contrast, a tight fitting shirt in a XS could end up too tight.

Shirts labeled “adult sizes” are actually cut for men so a large adult size may be too big for a typical large sized woman. Ask your vendor for a few samples of different tees in different fabrics and styles to get a general idea.

Who will be wearing your tees? Are they older.. young.. male.. female.. trendy? What else do you know about the audience that could influence their shirt size? Females will generally choose small or medium shirts, whereas men will go for large and larger. Younger fashion conscious people tend to prefer smaller slim fit size shirts even down to XS however a female sports team may prefer a baggier look.

One size doesn’t fit all
It can be cheaper and easier to go with a one size fits all solution. But this can mean the shirts won’t fit well on most of your audience. They could be too small for bigger people, or leave smaller women left with huge shirts that are only good for sleep. Either way if they aren’t worn in public then nobody sees them which defeats the purposes of a promotional tee!

Saying that, more people are willing to fit in a shirt that’s too big than too small so err on the bigger side. At a very minimum offer two different sizes, medium and XL, which will fit most people.

Standard T-Shirt Sizes Breakdown
Having compiled quite a bit of t-shirt data, we figured out the average percentages of each t-shirt size ordered, giving you an educated launching point when getting your t-shirt size breakdown together.

You’ll see that medium and large are the clear standouts followed by small and extra large. Sizes are going to vary based on all kinds of factors. Wrestlers probably skew towards the larger end of the spectrum, while cheerleaders probably will involve smaller sizes. So if you know your audience might be an outlier like that, feel free to adjust accordingly.

It’s important to check in advance, because some shirts have far wider ranges of sizes than others. Not everything comes in XS and not everything comes in 4XL. So make sure your chosen shirt is actually available in the sizes you want before you put your t-shirt order together.

T-shirt ordering size ratio chart
The ratio depends on your audience and market but the below t-shirt sizing distribution chart is a helpful starting point for most groups. To be on the safe side, it’s always a good idea to order a few extra and you can always use them at future events. One thing to note, however, you know your group best. If you know your group will be larger people or smaller people, you should stagger your order based on that knowledge. Lastly, keep note of what you ordered and use the data to reorder next time.

Standard Adults/Men’s Shirts
S - 10%
M - 25%
L - 30%
XL - 25%
XXL - 10%

Ladies Shirts
XS - 10%
S - 25%
M - 30%
L - 20%
XL - 10%
2XL - 5%

Teens/Early Twenties
XS - 5%
S - 25%
M - 25%
L - 20%
XL - 20%
2XL - 5%

Sizes for Big Orders (with no way to guess sizes)
If you are placed in charge of ordering a lot of t-shirts for a group or business where it's impossible to determine the right sizes to order because you can't get the sizes from everyone who will receive a t-shirt (i.e. for a free giveaway, to get initial inventory for reselling later, etc.), we recommend a size breakdown that looks like this:
XS - 5%
S - 15%
M - 25%
L - 25%
XL - 20%
2XL + Up - 10%

Sizes for Smaller Groups
This is a lot easier, but probably requires more manual work on your part because if you don't get the right sizes, someone can't wear their t-shirt. Here is one simple rule to follow:

“Whatever sizes people tell you they are, believe them... but be just a little skeptical.”

Seriously, it's going to be in your benefit to order a few extra per size just in case. This will go a long way if that person who believed they are a Small is really a Medium they'll not only get a t-shirt, but more important, not feel left out of the group pictures and you won't need to manage a re-order of just a few shirts.

Last but not least, make sure to include a size breakdown for each shirt style you are choosing to use as well as each design you’re wanting to get printed.

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