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Promotional Apparel Sizing Guidelines

Are you heading to a trade show or hosting a big event? Promotional clothing is a terrific way to connect with attendees and raise the overall visibility of your brand in your industry or community. 

When recipients decide to keep and wear promotional t-shirts, sweatshirts, or jackets, they will generate about 2,500 impressions over the course of the clothing item’s lifespan. Because of this, promo t-shirts are among the most cost-effective promotional items you can choose for your next giveaway. 

Size Matters

When placing a bulk order for promotional clothing, ideally you’ll know the exact distribution of sizes you need. This is true when ordering branded swag for your employees or when sending complimentary shirts to longtime customers. At a promotional event however, you will need to be prepared for the unknown.

Should you evenly distribute your order between small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes? What is the magic combination ensuring everyone that stops by your booth will get a t-shirt in their size - even at the end of the event? Arm yourself with a general breakdown of the best apparel sizing distribution below. Keep on reading for important caveats, context, and points to consider. 

Apparel Sizing Guidelines 

Do you have an upcoming event where you plan to give away promotional apparel? If you know your order quantity but are unsure of the sizes, use these guidelines to inform your purchase.

Men's Vs. Women's Apparel

As noted in the infographic, for major events you want to ideally order 20% of your shirts or apparel in women’s sizes. “Adult” sizes are generally men’s sizes, and women’s shirts will feature a taper at the waist for a traditionally feminine silhouette. Men’s shirts, on the other hand, will have a larger, “boxier” shape.

Why not order 50% women’s sizes? Many women will still opt for the roomier men’s garments, especially for casual tees. A split of 80/20 will help you appeal to everyone at your event while minimizing the number of leftovers..

Consider the Context

The percentage breakdown in the infographic should be seen as a starting point instead of a hard-and-fast rule. When preparing your large order of promo clothing, you might change the apparel size breakdown based on a variety of factors:

  • Age — The percentages above represent a size breakdown of adults. If you are attending an event where children and teenagers will also be receiving branded apparel, shift your order accordingly. Order more extra-smalls and smalls to account for the wide variety of heights and sizes of people at your event.

  • Demographic — When you have concrete information about your target audience, you can move from generalizations to more specific orders. For example, if you are an athletic gear company marketing to athletes and bodybuilders, order a higher percentage of larger sizes. If your brand is popular with petite women, adjust your order to include smaller sizes.

  • Brand The brand and style of the shirts you order will affect the cut of the apparel, which means you may need to alter your size breakdown. Some brands fit smaller or larger than others, and it pays off to do your research. If you want a tailored look for your large order and want most of your shirts to be worn, we recommend ordering samples of the sizes and apparel styles you are considering. 

If you still feel uncertain about the size breakdown of your order, simply turn to the expertise of your HALO Account Executive. We’ll work with you to recommend the best combination of sizes for your needs. 


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