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How a t-shirt should fit

How a t-shirt should fit

Photographed: MVP t-shirt (£18); Edwin jeans (£140)


Great fit is like magic. Put a man in a t-shirt that's too big and he looks like a kid playing dress-up in dad's clothes. The same guy in a too-small t-shirt looks uncomfortable and out of proportion, as if his clothes have shrunk or he's suddenly expanded. But get it right? Suddenly, you're James Dean. You look slimmer, fitter and just, well, better. You look right. Which is a pretty incredible trick, from a couple of feet of thin fabric.

Actually getting great fit is trickier. For one, you have to know your own sizes and shape (which is where a tape measure is invaluable). Two, all brands cut their tees differently. A medium in one can fit like a large in another. Fortunately, our stylists are intimately acquainted with the nuances of every brand on Thread. If you don't know which is the best for your body shape, then you can drop your stylist a message and they'll find you a brand you'll love. "When you've got your perfect fit, commit," says stylist Alexander McCalla. "Buy all your basic tees from that brand and they'll always be just right."

But what exactly do we mean by perfect fit? Though no two guys are the same shape, there are a few universals that apply equally to jockeys and prop forwards. Here's how to know when your t-shirt looks like it was tailor-made.


1. Collar

“Always go for a crew neck. It should sit against your shoulders at the base of your neck, with an inch or so of give. If you can see your pecs or collarbones, it’s too loose.”


2. Shoulders

“The stitching should sit at the end of your shoulder, at the right angle where it meets your arm. That means you can move without the fabric pulling. If it falls down your arm, it’s too big; if it’s nearer your collarbone, it’s too small.”


3. Sleeves

“It should hit around the middle of your biceps. If you want a sportier look then you can roll it a couple of times, to around the middle of your triceps. Anything longer throws off your proportions – a sleeve that ends near your elbow makes your arms look like sticks.”


4. Chest

“You don’t want it too tight on your chest or it pulls under your armpits. There should be some space to breathe and move around. If you get a hint of the body shape underneath, that’s perfect. If you can see every bulge and divot, size up.”


5. Hem

“Around the middle of your fly is perfect. Any shorter and it will ride up when you move around. Too long and it won’t layer properly – you’ll see it peeking out from under jumpers and jackets.”