Screen Printing, T-Shirts

How To Choose Shirt Sizes On Your Next Order

The Simple Formula We Use for Size Distribution

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Size Distribution T-Shirt

Your design is complete, you're ready for screen printing, but you have some questions as to how many shirts and what sizes you should order. We'll walk you through how to best make an educated decision on your first order based on our experience with thousands of clients. 

How To Choose Shirt Sizes On Your Next Order

Push Towards Larger Sizes

For the sake of simplicity, let's assume you're ordering 100 shirts to get started marketing your brand, selling at an event, or promoting the better mousetrap you announced at the last board meeting.

Typically, t-shirt buying patterns in the U.S. follow a simple bell curve slightly skewed towards larger sizes. I recommend following this pattern for two reasons: First, Americans tend to be a bit larger than the global average. Canada and Mexico also generally follow this North American standard.

Secondly, a shirt that's too small for someone will sit in their closet forever, whereas a shirt that's a bit too large may still be worn.  In general, it's better to get a shirt that's maybe a little too large for someone rather than too small. 

 With this general rule-of-thumb in mind, if viewed as a standard bell curve, the size distribution should always peak over Medium and Large with a slightly more gradual line on the back end of the curve (Extra Larges) than on the front (Smalls). 
How To Choose Shirt Sizes On Your Next Order

If you're ordering 200 pieces or more, I might recommend throwing in a couple of XSs in place of some 2XLs if the garment style/color choice offers them.

How To Choose Shirt Sizes On Your Next Order
How To Choose Shirt Sizes On Your Next Order

Track Your Sales

When you get to 1000+ piece orders, the initial curve changes very little. You may throw in a few 3XLs and larger if you think people will want them. However, by this point, you should have worked out what sizes your fans prefer and order accordingly. How do you do that?

Everyone's audience is going to be a little different. Once you have shirts to sell, pay attention to what sells out first and second. Order more of these next time and fewer of the sizes that don't sell as quickly. After a few cycles of sales tracking and re-stocks, you'll have a custom size distribution curve that should fit your market exactly.

How To Choose Shirt Sizes On Your Next Order

I hope you found this guide on sizing distribution helpful.

If you have questions or need more detailed guidance on sizing for your next project, don't hesitate to shoot me an email at