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T-Shirt types – choose the right one

T-shirt types

The design printed on the t-shirt is the most important, but the t-shirt type (also known as style) is also very important.

So, what t-shirt types exist? And how to choose the best for your business?

This theme is long and technical, but we’ll try to simplify it as much as possible, giving only the information you need.

When looking at a t-shirt, there are 3 aspects to consider

  1. Sleeve
  2. Neck
  3. Body

So let’s take a look at each of these, in detail.

1 — Sleeve

There are 3 types of sleeves:

  • sleeveless,
  • short sleeve,
  • long sleeve.

Sleeveless t-shirts

Sleeveless t-shirts are also called tank tops. You can find them for men, such as:

T-Shirt types - tank top for men
Sleeveless t-shirt for men. Also known as tank top.

But they are more popular for women.

T-shirt types - tank top for women

Tank tops for women exist in different types. Here’s another one:

T-shirt types - tank top for women

Short Sleeve

Let’s take a look at short sleeve t-shirts.

For men, these are the best-selling t-shirts (and by far). For women, they are also the most sold. But in countries with a warm climate, tank tops sell the most.

But not all short sleeves are the same. There are three types of short sleeve:

The regular (and as the name indicates, is the most used). Here is an example:

A regular t-shirt

Then there is Raglan sleeve. This is a model that was made for baseball players. They are more comfortable for playing most sports. However, they are used in sports and outside sports.

When sleeves and body have a different color, the effect is quite interesting. Some years, Raglan sleeves are fashionable, other years, they are not. So, go to a popular fashion store, and see if they have them. If you see a lot of raglan t-shirts, this means they are fashionable this year.

Here’s an example:

T-shirt types t-shirt raglan
T-shirt with raglan sleeves with colored sleeves and white body. But any combination of colors is possible. It all depends on the designer’s imagination.

Another variant of short sleeves, is the Ringer T-shirt. It’s not a widely used type, but sometimes it’s fashionable. I personally think it makes a beautiful t-shirt for women.

In a ringer t-shirt, the end of the sleeve has a different color, and also the neck.

Here’s an example:

t-shirt types - women ringer
A ringer t-shirt in white and blue.

Long Sleeve

Long sleeve t-shirts, come in two different types: regular and raglan.

An example of a regular long sleeve t-shirt:

t-shirt types - long sleeve for woman
A regular long sleeve t-shirt

And a raglan example:

t-shirt types - long sleeve raglan t-shirt for men
A raglan long sleeve t-shirt

2 — Neck

There are two types of t-shirt necks:

  • Round neck
  • V neck

The round neck is the most used. Please note that the size of the neck is important. Some years customers want more tight necks, Other years they want wider necks. It all depends on fashion trends.

However, you should be more concerned with the size of the neck if you sell lady’s t-shirts. For men t-shirts, use a regular round neck.

The V-neck, as the name implies, is a neck with a V shape. Here’s an example:

T-shirt types - V neck for woman
A V neck t-shirt for women.

3 — Body

About the body of the t-shirt, we must consider two fixtures:

  • Side seams
  • Shape

Side seams

Some t-shirts have side seams. This means that the front of the t-shirt is stitched to the back of the t-shirt.

Other t-shirts don’t have side seam. In this case, the body of the t-shirt is only one piece. These t-shirts are also called seamless t-shirts.

In general, women’s t-shirts almost always have side seams.

For men, inexpensive t-shirts usually don’t have side seams. More expensive t-shirts usually have side seams.

However, most of your customers won’t bother if the t-shirt has side seams or not (for men and boys).


Men’s t-shirts, have a straight body shape.

t-shirt type - regular not fitted
A t-shirt with a straight body

But for ladies, the shape is important. And it’s important for two reasons:

  • Women’s body is not straight.
  • Usually women prefer fitted t-shirts.

So my advice is to always test ladies t-shirts. Ask several women (with different types of body) to try on the t-shirts. If the shape of the t-shirt is incorrect for your type of clients, you’ll have problems.

t-shirt type - fitted for lady
A fitted t-shirt for women

How many, and what t-shirts types, to choose from?

Now that you know all the t-shirt types that exist, it’s time to choose how many t-shirt types you want for your collection, and what t-shirt types.

As I said, the most important feature of a t-shirt is the design (the print). But of course, you can add a bit of fashion if you have more than basic t-shirt types. So, I’ll show 3 combinations of t-shirt types:

  • Emphasis on printed designs
  • Design and fashion
  • Emphasis on fashion

Emphasis on printed designs

This is the most used type of collection. Your focus is on the design of the print, so you should have few and basic t-shirt types. This way, you make your customer focus on the print and not on the t-shirt itself. This is especially important in men’s t-shirts. Men don’t find the t-shirt type so important .

Here’s the best choice:

choosing t-shirt types - example of an emphasis on printed designs

For men: a basic t-shirt (round neck)

For women: a basic t-shirt and a tank top

Design and fashion

In case you want to add a bit of fashion in your t-shirt types, you should have at least 2 or 3 different t-shirt types. For men, 2 t-shirt types is enough, for women, 3 types.

Here’s a good choice :

choosing t-shirt types - emphasis on printed designs and also fashion examples.

For men: a basic t-shirt and a tank top

For women: a basic t-shirt (round neck); a regular t-shirt with V-neck; and a tank top

Emphasis on Fashion

The last type of collection is for someone who wants to focus on the t-shirt itself. You will be competing with fashion stores, and not only with t-shirt stores.

choosing t-shirt types - an emphasis on fashion- examples

For men: a regular t-shirt with round neck; a t-shirt with a V neck; a tank top; and a raglan t-shirt, like a baseball t-shirt. But in this case only if raglan t-shirts are trendy.

For women: A regular round neck t-shirt; a V neck t-shirt; 2 types of tank tops; a ringer t-shirt (if trendy)

Reduce your inventory

The more t-shirt types you add to your collection, the bigger your inventory will be. And more capital you’ll need. So, you should use screen printed heat transfers. This way, you can present a wider collection of t-shirts, with lots of printed designs and also with several t-shirt types. And (this is important) without having to buy a lot of t-shirts.

Want to know which t-shirt colors are more popular?

Read this article:

What are the most popular t-shirt colors