There are times when matching shirts are really helpful, nifty or just practical. For your sports team, your family reunion, your work picnic, your family reunion, your charity event, even a trip to Disney World so it’s easier to find each other. Matching shirts are awesome.
Figuring out what sizes of shirts to order for an event can be confusing. A common mistake first-timers make is ordering the same number of shirts in each size. This spells disaster because you’ll run out of some sizes and have plenty left over in other sizes.
The average American has gotten bigger since 1970, in fact, men have grown taller by an average of 3 inches and women 2 inches. Bigger people means that you need to slide the size scale up, rather than down for most groups. Think big, not small.
If you have a group of people that are pre-defined, that is, you know who they are, you can have each person give you their size and order based on the number you have for each size. It’s also a good idea to order extra shirts in the most common sizes in case someone under-sized himself or herself and their shirt won’t fit. It’s rare for anyone to over-estimate his or her size so you don’t need to order extra in the largest size. Depending on the size of your group, you should order an extra 5% in the most common sizes.
If your group is not predefined or you don’t know who will be showing up for your event, you are going to have to order shirts based on less information. You can randomly order sizes and hope for the best or you can try one of two methods for sizing – the two-size method and the statistical average method.
The two-size method is exactly what it sounds like; you order shirts in only two sizes. In a group, people fall into a wide range of sizes, so the two-size method sounds like a pretty bad idea, doesn’t it?
It’s a good idea if you are ordering shirts for an athletic event where the participants in the event tend to have a certain build that goes along with the sport. For example, if you are ordering shirts for a football team you will want to select larger sizes as football players tend to be bigger than elite runners are. In this example, you might order a third of the shirts as X-Large and the remaining two-thirds as 2X. For the runners, who tend to be slimmer in build, you might order half the shirts as Medium and the other half as Large.
Obviously, there are some drawbacks to the two-size method. The most obvious one being that there will be people who are smaller than the smallest size and larger than the largest size. You will most likely end up with a few people who are swimming or squeezed tightly into their shirts.
The other problem is getting the mix of the two sizes right for the group. If you go 50-50 on the size, you may end up with big people and only small shirts to give them. This is why you should always order 20% more than you think you need in the larger size, because as mentioned earlier, Americans tend towards larger sizes rather than smaller sizes.
The statistical average method is more complicated but usually is more accurate with less dissatisfied people wearing the wrong size shirt. Most shirt companies have spent some effort in trying to figure out what the “average” group consists of, and what sizes that group would wear. The problem with statistical averages is, most people aren’t average!
A more complex method involves looking at the demographics, or height and weight, of your potential group to figure out what percentage of the shirts should be what size. If your group is mostly younger women, they now tend to be larger than their mothers so size upward. If your group is mostly lower income, they tend to be heavier so size upward. If your group is affluent men or women, they tend to be taller but not heavier, so size mostly for Medium to XL. If your group includes mostly children, most children will fit in an adult Small shirt with only a few needing the smaller sizes.
It may be a good idea to avoid ordering X-Small in a child’s size because children can wear a larger size, and very few children are that small. And never order an adult 3X size unless you know someone who will be attending your event can wear it – very few people need a shirt that large. So study the group you need to order for, and determine whether you need to size up or down. If you aren’t sure, it always safer to size up because people can wear larger sizes but not smaller ones.
The final consideration in sizing shirts has to do with whether the shirt is 100% cotton or a 50/50 blend of cotton and a synthetic material. Cotton shirts tend to shrink more so they should be sized up a size so that when the shirt is washed it will still fit properly. The 50/50 blends usually won’t shrink, but don’t wash as well, so they tend not to maintain their appeal like a cotton shirt does. The brand of shirt you choose to buy will also determine the sizing. Your silk screener can tell you which shirt brands tend to run small and which ones are properly sized, so ask about the different brands.
There are many things to consider in purchasing shirts. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance if you need additional help through the process.We can activate our years of experience to help you pick the right shirt sizes so no one in your group is unhappy with the fit of their shirt.