The Magic Ratio for Choosing T-Shirt Sizes

Your customers often come to you for your expertise as a garment decorator since you’ve “been there, done that”. You should have some insight as to what sizes the group should order to cover everyone who might purchase a custom t-shirt from you. Learning from experience is one of the best tools you have. If you are new, or have a new customer or sales opportunity, trying to swing for the fences with every detail requires questions answered. Whether you own a storefront or sell at an event or online, there is nothing worse than not having your customer’s size and potentially losing that customer.

After the artwork is finalized and your vision is coming to life, your next question usually is, what size t-shirts should I order?

The Heat Printer’s Magic Ratio for T-Shirt Sizes

Unfortunately there’s no OSFA option when it comes to deciding what size tees to order for your unknown customers. We wish there was a tool, or a rule, or a genius with the answer to this question, but there isn’t. Many decorators use a 1-2-2-1 ratio (S:M:L:XL) to follow, which is great if you are starting fresh. If selling to a general audience, this rule of thumb is perfect. By assuming a majority of consumers fall somewhere in the middle sizes could be the right way to go.

size ratio for tshirts

Not every order is so cut and dry which is why knowing your customer base is better than any magic formula for t-shirt sizes. You will find a more fitting ratio that is best for your sales.

Get to Know your Customers

Stop to think who your customer is or who will ultimately be wearing the shirts. What type of demographic do they fit in? In this situation, it is OK to stereotype even though you have been taught not to otherwise. If you were creating shirts for a high school cross-country meet, you would want to take into consideration many of your customers are physically fit and have a more slender build. So when placing an order for shirts, I would opt for weighing the ratio towards Small and Medium shirts. On the other hand, if you were decorating shirts for an auto show where many of the customers are adult men, we would weigh our sizing ratio towards more XL’s and 2XL’s. Know Your Customer

Being honest about who your audience and demographic is will help meet the needs of your customers and give you the best opportunity to make a sale!

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 5 comments

Very interesting article! You are providing the best info to choosing the t-shirts. Thanks for sharing the great article.

Dealer Services

Thanks, Amanda! Glad it was helpful. If there’s anything else you’d ever like to see us tackle, let us know! Have a great weekend!


I like your idea to consider customer demographic. If you have a lot of health enthusiasts you’re targeting you can make assumptions on the sizing needed. That’s why targeting in marketing is useful- it tells you about the customers you’re attracting.

Dealer Services

Thanks, John. You absolutely nailed it. Whether it’s determining shirt sizes or figuring out how to market your business, figuring out your niche is key.

Ethan Hansen

Thanks for pointing out that you should know your audience so you can properly choose shirt fittings! My wife and I want to make shirts for our upcoming family reunion, and we wanted to know what sizes we should order. We’ll be sure to keep your tips in mind as we do more research on sizes!


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