At BELLA+CANVAS, we always say there are two crucial factors to consider when selecting a tee — the fit and the feel. During our design process, we do technical fitting, so every size and style is carefully crafted to those specific measurements. In this post, we’ll break down some key things for you to keep in mind when looking for the best fitting men’s T-shirt and women’s T-shirt. After all, what’s the point of putting your awesome and thoughtful designs on a T-shirt the end customer doesn’t want to wear?
Men’s and Unisex Fits
Oftentimes, men’s and unisex tees are lumped into one category. Why is this? Well, the answer is pretty straightforward — ladies can fit into men’s tees, but men can’t fit into ladies’ tees. So if a company only wants to create one shirt, then their best option is to go with the unisex styles that you see prevalent in the market. But while women can make do with a “unisex” style, these tees aren’t ideal in terms of fit (we’ll get come back to this topic!).
So what makes a good fitting men’s tee? First and foremost, side-seams. There are two basic types of construction when it comes to a T-shirt — side-seamed and tubular. Tubular tees are cheaper to construct because they require less sewing. But while you may shave some pennies off the price, tubular tees don’t really fit right on people because our bodies aren’t tubes.
On the other hand, side-seamed tees create the tailored structure a tee needs to fit correctly. Although more expensive to make, these are the only type of tees you’ll find in a retail store, so selecting a side-seamed tee is a no-brainer.
Once you have narrowed down to a side-seamed tee, you’ll have to choose between a boxy fit and a more tailored fit. This really comes down to personal preference. Men’s fashion has swung in the direction of a more slim-fit look, but we are seeing a resurgence in oversized styles — as evident by the popularity of the Men’s Long Body Tee.
Twenty years ago, a women’s market did not exist in the wholesale industry. BELLA+CANVAS (or “Bella” back then) started the company by introducing the first wholesale tee made specifically for women. The founders saw the incredulity in the fact that women were just supposed to wear an oversized “unisex” tee and understood the importance of catering to women, specifically. They introduced quality tees, tailored the fit to a women’s body — tees that flattered and showed off their curves.
Since then, there has been explosion of women’s styles, satisfying a variety of tastes and preferences.
Slim-fit tees gained massive popularity in mainstream fashion of the late ’90’s and early 2000’s, and we saw this translate into the wholesale industry. Our slim fit styles are designed to lay close to the body, which is great for showing off a women’s curves.
Over time, there’s been a gradual shift towards a more relaxed look. Women now seem to want T-shirts that are a bit looser that don’t accentuate every curve.
We are constantly expanding our collection of women’s styles to evolve with the changing tides of fashion, developing entire collections based on different fit preferences. The Relaxed Fit is a collection of looser-fitting, retail jersey tees — a feminine take on your boyfriend’s favorite tee. This collection offers styles with a more generous size spec. These styles generally feature a wider body, relaxed neckline and longer looser sleeves. Our 6400 is actually the only true relaxed fit fashion tee for women.
The Flowy Collection is made up of modern, fashion-forward silhouettes designed to flatter all body types. At BELLA+CANVAS, flowy refers to both the fabric and fit. Designed with an elevated poly-viscose fabrication, it’s intended to drape away from the body. These styles tend to be more loose and slightly oversized, which allow you to outfit a diverse range of sizes.
Within the Flowy Collection, we offer several Slouchy Fit styles. These are made in our signature poly-viscose fabric but feature an even more oversized body. These silhouettes are extremely generous and forgiving, which is inline with the current trend for a slouchy-cool look.
Choosing the right fit should never be about chasing the latest fad. It’s about finding a style that flatters your body and makes you feel confident. Make sure to evaluate the range of options out there, order samples of different styles, and then narrow down to your favorites. A great-fitting tee is the foundation for your designs and ultimately the foundation of your business, so take the time to consider the various factors we just outlined and choose wisely!
Check out our Fit Guide for more info on our different fit options available!