Rush Order Tees Logo


T-Shirt Size Breakdown for Group Orders: How To Order The Right Quantity

Imri Merritt

January 3, 2022

Design Custom Gear

Personalize a custom t-shirt with our easy-to-use Design Studio

Start Designing

Are you planning to place a large group order for t-shirts but are unsure of what sizes to get?

Determining the appropriate sizes for a group order can be challenging, especially when you want to ensure that everyone in the group can receive a shirt that fits them well.

This article will provide you with the information and tools you need to make the right size choices.  Whether you're buying bulk for branded merchandise, outfitting your staff with company logo shirts, or organizing an event, our expert advice and resources will help you confidently choose the right sizes for your group t-shirt order.

Group t-shirt order size distribution

Graphic showing our recommended t-shirt size distribution for group orders

Our recommended group size breakdown is based on our experience processing 500k+ group shirt orders. In our experience, most shirt recipients will wear Medium, Large, or Extra Large sizes, but it's wise to include other sizes too.

Pro tip: It's better to err on the size of larger. Our staff has found that a shirt that's too small stays in the drawer, while a shirt that’s too big can still be worn.

Other factors for selecting group t-shirt sizes

Our recommended t-shirt size distribution is based on years of experience and sales data, but other factors can affect your order. Differences in order size, the intended recipients, fabric shrinkage, and t-shirt fit can have a significant effect on the numbers of each size to be ordered.

Consider these other factors to ensure your customers, employees, family, followers, and fans are happy.

Order size

There are differences based on order size. If you're ordering for a smaller group, XS and 3XL sizes may not be needed. Our advice for smaller group orders is as follows:

  • SM = 10 %
  • M = 24 %
  • L = 32 %
  • XL = 24 %
  • 2XL = 10 %

A simplified t-shirt breakdown for smaller orders is: 1 – 2 – 3 – 3 – 1

Fabric shrinkage

Depending on the t-shirt selected, the fabric can shrink and alter the fit requiring a change in order sizing. 100% cotton t-shirts shrink approximately 2%, while shirts made from 50/50 poly-cotton blend, tri-blend fabric, or 100% polyester t-shirts won't shrink. When in doubt, we recommend adjusting ordered sizes to be larger.

Learn more about fabric selection in our blog post: Polyester vs. Cotton vs. Blends: Choosing The Best T-Shirt Fabric

Intended recipients

Three different styles of t-shirt fits.

Slim/fashion fit (left), semi-fitted (center), and standard fit (right).

Consideration of the characteristics and preferences of the people receiving a shirt will affect the size distribution. Fit, or the way the t-shirt contours the body and feels on the wearer, is one example. Another is adjusting the size distribution based on the type of event; skewing ordered sizes to be larger for a BBQ festival and smaller for a  yoga retreat would make sense. 

Learn more about fit in our blog post: How a T-Shirt Should Fit

Men's vs. unisex vs. women's sizes

Gender-specific sizes should be strongly considered when ordering t-shirts, especially when a significant portion of the group is female. Our sizing recommendations are based on unisex sizing, which differs from women's sizes. 

Men's and unisex cuts are basically the same, with slight variations between brands and individual products. Women's cuts are much different: narrower shoulders, contoured torso, shorter and tighter sleeves, tapered waist, flared hips, and relatively longer at the bottom.

Men's/Unisex vs Women's/Ladies t-shirt cuts

Learn more about women's t-shirt sizing in our blog post: The Essential Women's T-Shirt Size and Fit Guide

Based on our experience, some women prefer the unisex cut to the more form-fitting women's cut. Unfortunately, it's difficult to determine a specific breakdown, but those that are younger, fit, or fashion-conscious tend to show a strong preference for women's sizes. Consider this: the boyfriend tee is a popular item, and it's essentially a men's cut marketed to women.

How our group t-shirt order size breakdown was determined

To create our shirt order size distribution, we combined a variety of information and vetted it with RushOrderTees' lead sales managers. The result is a size breakdown that can work for any large shirt order. Let's consider the information sources to understand our recommendation better.

The best t-shirts for large group orders

Ordering for a large group means that the shirts need to fit a broad range of needs. For example, a standard fit, 100% cotton t-shirt will fit well and feel good to most people. In addition, a balance of other factors (quality, price, brand, etc.) make a t-shirt stand out: 

With those things in mind, here are three great options for group orders:

Gildan SoftStyle Short Sleeve T-shirt
Fruit of The Loom Heavy Cotton T-shirt
Hanes Perfect-T T-shirt

Ordering t-shirts for a group made easy

Deciding on a size breakdown for your group shirt does not need to be difficult. Simply use our basic 1 – 2 – 3 – 3 – 1 ratio and make adjustments relevant to your situation to produce the right number of shirts at each size for your group or event.

Imri Merritt

About the Author

A graduate of the Multimedia program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Imri Merritt is an industry veteran with over 20 years of graphic design and color separations experience in the screen printing industry.