Types Of T Shirts | A Visual Guide

There is a high possibility that you have stumbled across this article in search of inspiration or to learn about the different types of t shirt names. Surely there are more options than just the standard crew neck, right? There are more types of t shirts than you probably knew existed.

So let’s jump in and take a look at all t shirt types, feature by feature to see if we can help inspire your next collection.

A Brief History

T shirts have been a staple garment and a lasting fashion icon in homes across the world for a better part of 70 years. But where did it all start?

Believe it or not. The t shirt legacy began forming back in the 19th century. In a bid to stay cool blue collar workers would tear the sleeves from their jumpsuits in the warmer months of the year.  

By the early 1900’s the US military started issuing t-shirts as part of their uniform. T shirts were worn as undergarments at that point. Fast forward to the 50’s and the new fashion evolution was ushered in and went mainstream with the assistance of figures such as Marlon Brando and James Dean.

70 years later t shirts are dominating sales to this day with a whopping $38 billion in revenue according to Statista. Convenient online stores fulled by social media and catchy marketing has escalated the craze. T shirts still remain a highly profitable style of clothing to sell right to this very day. 

Let’s take a look at some different types of tee shirts.

Decorative Styles:

There are 4 main decorative styles of t shirts. Decorations or embellishments are purely aesthetic and don’t change the functionality of the garment.

Basic tee

Basic t shirt

A basic t shirt is the most common style of clothing. It’s main characteristics are 1. its shaped like the letter ‘T’ having room for a body and 2 arms. The adjective “basic” infers that the shirt is minimalist and very plain. Technically, it wont have any embellishments or graphics.

Graphic tee

Graphic t shirtGraphic t shirts can be any style of tee that has a graphic printed on. The style of shirt is extremely popular amongst brands and companies as they are used for marketing and promoting messages. Humans become walking billboards or expressions of art. The are many methods of printing graphic tees which include, screen printing, digital printing, heat transfers and sublimation printing.

Embellish t shirt

Embellish t shirtEmbellish means to “make something more attractive without changing the functionality”. Therefore a graphic tee still falls in the category however this style does include additions such as embroidery, decorative attachments and labels.

Distressed t shirt

Distressed t shirtDistressed clothing refers to any piece that has purposeful rips, tears, slash or worn features. Generally a sign of when to repair or replace however this trend kicked of in the 70’s and then was adopted by high fashion in the 2000’s.

Functional Styles

Some t shirts have added functionality. Meaning the offer an extra benefit or usefulness to wearing it.

Pocket t shirt

Pocket t shirtThe pocket tee, has both aesthetics and added functionality. It is the exception for our demonstration just because we didn’t have any other category for it. A pocket tee is basically any kind of t shirt with a pocket sewn on.

Hooded t shirt

t shirt hoodieA hooded tee has a hood that can be worn down or to cover the head. This is both aesthetic and to keep your head warm. The hooded tee comes in many styles but is most common in the hooded muscle tee

Different Sleeve Styles

The sleeve of a t shirt starts from the apex of a shoulder and covers the arm at different lengths according to the style of sleeve.

Cap sleeves 

Cap sleeve t shirtA cap sleeve t shirt is descriptive of the sleeve just capping or covering the shoulder. The sleeve is tighter than a regular tee and tapers to nothing under the arm.

Long sleeves

long sleeve t shirtAny style of tee can have a long sleeve variation. A long sleeve t shirt can have fitted or loose cuffs.

Raglan sleeves

Raglan t shirtA raglan sleeve t shirt or more commonly know as a baseball tee is distinct from other styles. The sleeve starts from the neck collar and extends right the way through covering the shoulder and finish’s under the arm.

Yoke sleeves

Yoke t shirtA yoke sleeve t shirt is a variation of the raglan tee however instead of finishing under the arm. It finishes around the chest. The top and the bottom of the shirt is generally different colors or tones.

Short sleeves 

A short sleeve t shirt has many variations of length. However the description is just referring to a shirt that has short sleeves which is what a t shirt is.

Three quarter sleeves 

A three quarter sleeve t shirt is between a short sleeve and a long sleeve. The sleeve finish’s just after the elbow.


Sleeveless t shirts or sometimes referred to as muscles tees because they finish at the shoulder exposing the bicep.

Different Neck Styles

The area of fabric that follows the contour around the base of a neck is referred to as the neck line. The neck line of a t shirt in particular has many variations according to its style.

Round neck

Round neck t shirtA round neck t shirt is the most common style of neck. As the name says, the neck opening closely fitted to the contour of the neck. This style of shirt has a collar which is usually made from contrasting ribbed fabric. It can also be referred to as as “classic t shirt” or a “basic half sleeve t shirt”.

Crew neck

Crew neck t shirtA crew neck t shirt is almost the same as a classic t shirt. The only difference being is that it doesn’t have a collar. This style of shirt was worn be rowers in the 1940’s. The name is historically based on the demographic who wore it rather than its style or functionally.

Ringer tee

Ringer t shirtA ringer tee is comes in either a round neck or a crew neck that has a contrasting colored neck. The other additional feature is it will also have contrasting colored arm cuffs to match the neck. They mostly come in white with different variations of collar for the neck and collar.

V neck

v neck t shirtThe front neck drop of a v neck t shirt is lower and converges to form a sharp v shape.

Scoop neck 

Scoop neck t shirtA scoop neck t shirt is very similar to a round neck shirt however the front neck drop is positioned far lower, scooping down which exposes the chest.

Boat neck

Boat neck t shirtThe sides of a boat neck t shirt neck line are extended out closer to the shoulder. The front and back neck drops can also be lowered. This forms a shape from a birds-eye view that looks like the hull of a boat.

Off the shoulder

Off the shoulder t shirtAn off the shoulder t shirt is an extended variation of the boat neck however instead of resting on the shoulder it tightly hugs the upper bicep.

Henley shirt

Henley t shirtA henley t shirt is a combination of many styles. The neck is similar to a crew neck in the sense that it doesn’t have a collar however it does have a front placket with buttons like a polo. The style is usually made with long sleeves.

Polo shirt

Polo t shirtPolo shirts are almost in a category of their own due to their unique neck features. The are usually made from heavier fabric and are more expensive. The have a firm foldable collar and a front placket with buttons that makes them a more formal option. They are the only type of causal shirt that is acceptable at golf clubs or country clubs.

Turtle neck

Turtle Neck t shirtA polo neck, roll neck or skivvy are all terms used to describe a turtle neck t-shirt. This style of neck is more commonly associated with sweaters but also comes in t shirt form. It has a distinct collar that extends half way up from the neck base.

Different Hem Styles 

A hem is the edge of a piece of cloth on a garment that requires folding under and finishing with stitching to prevent the fabric threads fraying or unravelling. There are many different sewing techniques of finishing a hem however a single fold under, stitched with an overlock machine are most common for t shirts.

Classic hem

A classic hem is a straight horizontal finish just below around the hip line.

Long line hem

A longline t shirt extends past the hip and finish’s on the upper thigh.


Crop top t shirtA crop top t shirt is a feminine style of shirt where the hem line is cut on or above the belly button exposing the belly. The cropped hem come in many different styles of shirt

Curved hem

Curved hem t shirtA curved hem is not a horizontal finish. The sides remain at the same height however the front and back drop proportionately given the hem a curved appearance.

Split hem

Split hem t shirtA split hem is most commonly seen on polo shirts. The vertical side seams converging at the bottom hem line are left un-sewn by 2 – 3 centimeters, are folded in a finished. Looking at the side profile the hems appear to be split. The other common variation for the split hem is to have the rear hem lower than the front hem.

Tie hem

tie hem t shirtA tie hem is a feminine finish to a shirt that is designed to be tied up around the waist. The center front hem usually has a vertical split and longer handles which allow enough room for the shirt to be tied. The other variation is a wrap t shirt. It still has a tie however it may wrap around and tie and the rear of the shirt.

T Shirt Fits

The size of a garment and the fit of a garment are two very different things. The fit of a garment is created in its design.

In theory if you wanted a loose fitting t shirt, you shouldn’t buy a larger size, you should buy a different style. The style you would buy is a “loose fit or relaxed fitted shirt”.  A perfect example is a “boyfriend t shirt” that is based on a males shirt but is designed for women.

Slim fit t shirt

slim fit t shirtA slim fitted t shirt has a reduced ease between the shirt and the body meaning it fits on or closely to the body. Slim fitted t shirts are still cut relatively straight with little shape. This can be a risky fit of clothing to design as it highlights aesthetics appearance of body types.

Classic fit t shirt

classic fit t shirtA classic fit is designed for a combination of aesthetics and practicality. The fabric ease is close enough to the body to compliment it and not so loose that you loose mobility from access fabric.

Relaxed fit t shirt

Relaxed fit t shirtA relaxed fit or loose fit is for a combination of aesthetics and comfort. A relaxed fit is more forgiving of body shape but very comfortable because the fabric doesn’t hug the body.

Tapered fit t shirt

tapered fit t shirtA tapered shirt follows and highlights the contours of the body. It’s tightly fitted and is best compliments muscular or slim build curvy body types.


There you have it. We hope this article has been useful in educating and inspiring your next collection. If you feel we missed any types of t shirts, please leave a message in the comment section below and we will update our article to help the next person.

If you want to know where to get custom t shirts manufactured. Check our Yoke Apparel Manufacturing, they can help bring your ideas to life.

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