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What Shirt Size are MOST People


Ordering a batch of merchandise to sell or give-away to the public is a lot different than ordering specific shirts for specific people, like you would for a small-business.

This post is going to give you a great catch-all sizing breakdown, some tips on learning about your target market and some thoughts on how many mens/womens shirts to order in a typical order.

It’s tempting to order a lazy split of Smalls, Mediums, Larges and XL’s, but whether your goal is to make a clean and tidy profit from your merchandise or to ensure there’s no left-overs from your give-away, you need your shirts to move relatively evenly.


Straight to the worst-case-scenario, if research, demographics and past years data are something you don’t have and can’t get, we won’t leave you without advice. Over all the years we’ve been doing this, one sizing split has stood the text of time – the golden ratio.

Great for bands, events and general merchandise, this break down is perfect when you simply don’t have enough information and need to place the order anyway. 

Events co-coordinators running massive world-wide concert tours that work with us swear by it and use it regularly.

10% S : 20% M : 30% L : 30% XL : 10% XXL

That ratio is great and will cover you in a pinch, but even with that in-hand, we stress that size breakdowns are very dependent on your audience and it pays to know them. Each audience is different.

A example of a specific niche would be a hunting apparel company we’ve worked with. Hunting apparel companies have customers who are physically big. It’s a stereotype sure, but to pretend it’s not true is asking to have left-over Small sizes for years to come instead of Large’s and XL’s that turn-over fast.

There’s no argument that this sizing breakdown is not typical in the rest of the population, but for a hunting company (and probably other demographics like Bikers or Football fans), it’s a balanced split and moves product evenly. With time, you’ll learn this with your own audience through trial and error.

A sub-culture niche example: a good breakdown for a hunter demographic can be 10% M : 35% L : 35% XL : 15% XXL : 5% XXXL.



Aside from sizes, another important point to consider is the ratio of women’s products to men’s products.

Often we get people coming in with the idea to order in a 50%/50% split for Men and Women. Few people realize that most T-shirts (up to 70% of all T-shirts) are actually bought for men. Women have more options when it comes to clothing and, unless your audience is mainly women, men will usually wind up slightly ahead as your main customer.

It’s also important to realize that a woman can wear a unisex men’s shirt comfortably (and will do so if she likes the shirt and it’s her size). A man wearing a dainty women’s tee? Comedy gold, but not likely to happen.

Don’t get us wrong – we’re not advising against women’s shirts, but it could be a smart move to include some overlap between unisex and women’s only fits – even when targeting women only.


We’ve had bands in the past put up a facebook post with a mock-up of their new design and take pre-orders before they ever printed.

Once they had a good estimate of what sizes their fans wanted, they ordered what was pre-sold and doubled down on their original order ordering 100 more in sizes they were confident in. By going this route they created data they could use to predict what sizes their actual buyers were.

  1. Statistically Men wear more Tees than women.
  2. No two markets are the same in terms of sizing breakdowns.
  3. Do your homework. Find out who your customers are and their sizes. Get creative with it.
  4. Unisex shirts can be sold to men and women so don’t overinvest in women’s fits.
  5. When in doubt – 10% S : 20% M : 30% L : 30% XL : 10% XXL


Our printed shirt design studio makes it fast and simple to order your custom shirts.
Just select your product / colours and get your estimate.
Easy as can be and hassle free!

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No stress no mess. We do all the work.

Online business being what it is, we know that as a smart customer you need to check us out. 

We’re always looking for ways to build trust with new potential customers who are looking to place their first order.

It’s possible you’re local to us and have seen our team in person, but since we service all of Canada there’s a chance we won’t have the opportunity to meet you… but we still want to show that we are experts who process orders securely and efficiently.

Here's how we build trust at the Ottawa Custom Clothing team:
  • We’ve got a photo of our actual shop with our company banner and a cute dog. (Hey we actually exist!)
  • When we take photo’s of shirt orders we throw an Ottawa Custom Clothing card on them so you know our shop actually handled and printed the order.
  • We have a whole wack of positive reviews from customers on different review websites (in fact most of our business is from local referrals).
  • We are shared and liked by companies and non-profits who’ve used us in the past on facebook.
  • We do our best to talk the talk. We write out ordering guides on the website and other useful information to help you place a good order.
  • And – best of all – you can hop on the phone and chat with us. Nothing beats hearing from a real person 🙂
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More than anything we are shirt printers and embroiderers focused on our craft.

We want to use our skill and knowledge to help as many Canadians as possible receive cool custom shirts, uniforms, sportswear and whatever other apparel they might be looking for. We are excited and passionate to be a guiding force in how our country looks and what clothing they wear.

At the end of the day the first order is the hardest to give the go-ahead on for customers, once we get through that then we can grow together!

If there’s any questions you have about placing an order we’d be happy to help!

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