Understanding Different Types of T-Shirts

February 1, 2022
Nicole Rollender
Different types of shirts hung up on a rack

V-neck t-shirt. Scoop-neck shirt. Raglan-sleeve t-shirt. Crop tee. Yes, the sheer number of different t-shirt styles and features could make your head spin. If you’re new to decorating clothing or you’re starting your own t-shirt business (congratulations!), you could use a quick crash course in men’s, women’s and unisex styles. We cover the most popular t-shirt features and styles to give you an idea of what types of basics are available to you from a t-shirt supplier like Threadsy.

There are so many different t-shirt styles that choosing the right one for you can be overwhelming, if you haven’t searched for t-shirts before. We’ll outline the features you need to know (along with best-selling styles!) so you can browse our top product recommendations.

Whether you’re outfitting yourself, your family, your employees, customers or team members, the most important aspect is choosing the right basics that deliver optimal fit, comfort and style. The t-shirt styles we sell are perfect to wear blank, or to decorate and customize for a one-of-a-kind or branded look.

Tips for Choosing the Right Shirt for You

When you’re looking for the right t-shirt style, there are several aspects you should consider, including function, fit, neckline, sleeve and fabric types. There are so many types of t-shirts, so you should understand the anatomy of a basic tee and how to tell the difference between styles. That way, you can narrow down your choices and select the right shirt for your needs. 

Pro Tip: Note that throughout this article we’ll be sharing examples of t-shirts utilizing their brand names (often called a “mill” in the industry) and style numbers. Among commercial printers and manufacturers, T-shirts are often referred to by only their style number since each mill has a unique set of style numbers. You can click on any of the style numbers in  this article to see up-to-the minute pricing, size range, color range, and inventory levels.

Choosing for Function

Function: Depending on how you or your wearers will use the t-shirts, you can choose between regular and premium tees. A regular t-shirt is usually your everyday, soft classic crewneck t-shirt. Some regular t-shirts have a tubular shape (no side seams) in order to keep manufacturing costs low. Some of Threadsy’s most popular regular t-shirt styles are the Hanes 5280, Gildan G500, and Fruit of the Loom 3931

  1. Unisex 5.2 oz., Comfortsoft® Cotton T-Shirt
    Unisex 5.2 oz., Comfortsoft® Cotton T-Shirt
  2. Adult Heavy Cotton™ T-Shirt
    Adult Heavy Cotton™ T-Shirt
    Also Available in Women's, Youth and Long Sleeve!
  3. Adult HD Cotton™ T-Shirt
    Fruit of the Loom
    Adult HD Cotton™ T-Shirt

A premium t-shirt is a higher-quality shirt that offers a smoother, silkier feel and fits the body in a more tailored silhouette. Premium t-shirts cost a bit more, but they’re better quality: more durable; made of a softer, thicker fabric; and have a more tailored fit and sleeve. We like US Blanks US2229, Champion CP10 and the Bella+Canvas 3413C for premium t-shirts.

  1. Men's Short-Sleeve Made in USA Triblend T-Shirt
    US Blanks
    Men's Short-Sleeve Made in USA Triblend T-Shirt
  2. Adult Ringspun Cotton T-Shirt
    Adult Ringspun Cotton T-Shirt
    15% off with code POLO15 at checkout!
  3. Unisex Triblend T-Shirt
    Bella + Canvas
    Unisex Triblend T-Shirt

Choosing the right t-shirt also depends on your budget, how many people you’re outfitting and what you’ll be using the t-shirt for; for example, a regular t-shirt is perfect as an informal event giveaway whereas a premium t-shirt would be more appropriate for upscale fundraisers as a thank-you gift.

Selecting T-shirts Based on Fit

There are lots of fits to choose from, which is great, since you can find a style that flatters your body type. However, you do need to know the difference between them: 

  1. Regular-fit t-shirts are an average fit, so these tees aren’t too loose or too tight. In fact, they’re usually just right for most people. Regular fit is also called classic fit. (Ex: Gildan G800)
  2. Retail fits hug the body more than a regular-fit t-shirt. You’ll also hear this fit referred to as modern or contemporary fit, fashion fit and premium fit. A retail fit enhances the body, so it’s the opposite of a loose, drapey t-shirt. (Ex: Bella+Canvas 3001C)
  3. Relaxed fits have a wider body and neckline, and longer sleeves. These t-shirts are looser, but still casual and flattering to the body. (Ex: Comfort Colors C1717)
  4. Flowy-fit t-shirts are modern, flattering and fashion-forward silhouettes. The fabric drapes away from the body, so flowy t-shirts are looser and slightly oversized. Designers pay attention to making the shirt effortlessly swing and hang on your body. (Ex: Next Level Apparel N1530)
  5. Slouchy t-shirts are generous, making them ideal for plus-size t-shirts or for layering. (Ex: Next Level Apparel N3900)
  6. Boxy fits are sometimes referred to as the men’s version of slouchy since it has a fuller, roomy cut. A boxy t-shirt is often a tubular tee, so there are no side seams, making it a more affordable style. (Ex: Hanes 5180)
  7. Unisex styles for adults generally fall between men’s and women’s traditional sizing. These shirts are universally flattering because they’re designed to fit and flatter the widest spectrum of sizes and body types. (Ex: Gildan G640)
  1. Adult Heavyweight T-Shirt
    Comfort Colors
    Adult Heavyweight T-Shirt
    15% Off with code LOVE15 at checkout!
  2. Ladies' Ideal Flow T-Shirt
    Next Level Apparel
    Ladies' Ideal Flow T-Shirt
  3. Ladies' T-Shirt
    Next Level Apparel
    Ladies' T-Shirt

Different Types of T-Shirt Necklines

There are several different necklines you’ll see on the widest selection of t-shirts. These include:

  1. Crewneck tees have a round neckline with no collar. This is the most common t-shirt neckline out there. The neckline piece is sewn on separately, and is designed to absorb sweat and prevent chafing. Most people have casual crewneck styles in their closets, and they wear them under sweaters and leather jackets. (Ex: Gildan G200)
  2. V-neck t-shirts have V-shaped necklines of varying depths. The point of the V is either mitered or folded for different looks. Men’s V-necks are a more standard length, while women’s V-necks can range from crewneck length to several inches down. Women can find a V-neck that fits with their accessories, or shows off a camisole they layer underneath. (Ex: Bella+Canvas 3005)
  3. Scoop-neck tees, generally only seen on women’s styles, have a neckline that’s rounded and wider than the base of the neck, often falling below the clavicle. While this is a flattering cut, it’s also very daring, and probably not for everyone or all situations. (Ex: Next Level Apparel 5030)
  4. Boat-neck tees have a slimmer, and wider, scoop neck. This neckline skims your collarbones horizontally and accentuates your shoulders. (Ex: Anvil by Gildan 2455L)
  5. Wide-neck t-shirts have a large neck opening that makes it look like you’re wearing an off–the-shoulder top.
  6. A henley t-shirt is a blend of the crewneck and V-neck designs. Henleys are collarless shirts with a round neckline. There’s a placket below the neckline with three to five buttons in a row, a functional and fashionable detail. (Ex: Bella+Canvas 3125)
  7. Polo collar t-shirts have a traditional polo collar and a placket neckline with two or three buttons. (Ex: Jerzees J100)
  8. A ringer neckline has a contrasting color ring to the shirt. These shirts often have rings on the sleeves as well. These shirts can morph into retro, sporty and classic looks. (Ex: Alternative Apparel 5103BP)
  1. Unisex Jersey Short-Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt
    Bella + Canvas
    Unisex Jersey Short-Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt