This article’s purpose is to discuss Carhartt t-shirt sizing so you know how Carhartt t-shirts fit. In my experience, I have always ordered my normal sizing for Carhartt t-shirts and not had an issue. Many of their shirts have a loose, relaxed fit, but some have more of a standard fit.
*UPDATE* – Carhartt now offers their own size and fit guide for t-shirts to help you find the best fit. This is where you can view it at Carhartt.com (affiliate link takes you to Carhartt.com).
I own what are probably the two most popular styles of Carhartt t-shirts:
- Carhartt K87 Pocket Short-Sleeve T-Shirt – This is probably Carhartt’s most popular tee. It is made with heavyweight cotton and has a front chest pocket. Durable to last the long-haul. This shirt has a very relaxed, loose fit. If you prefer a slim fit, you may need to size down. Here is my size medium compared to a size medium t-shirt:
- Carhartt Force Cotton Delmont Short Sleeve T-shirt – This is more of a summer shirt. It wicks away sweat to keep you dry. Cotton/poly blend fabric. This tee runs true-to-size with a standard fit. This shirt is not as baggy as the K87 shirt above. I still ordered my normal sizing, but if you prefer a baggy fit you may need to size up. Here’s my size medium compared to a medium t-shirt:
In this article we will discuss Carhartt t-shirt sizing so you know how Carhartt t-shirts fit. The Carhartt K87 short-sleeve t-shirt is Carhartt’s most popular t-shirt, and I will use photos of the Carhartt K87 t-shirt that I own. We will also discuss the possibility of shrinkage. Do Carhartt shirts shrink?
***Don’t forget, we also cover Carhartt hoodie sizing, and what type of warmth you can expect from each type of Carhartt hoodie. To read more, visit our article How Do Carhartt Hoodies Fit? To read about summer work shirts, visit our article about the best summer work t-shirts and the best summer long-sleeve work shirts.
Carhartt T-Shirt Sizing
How Do Carhartt T-Shirts Fit?
As we discussed earlier, most Carhartt t-shirts have a standard or roomy cut. Carhartt does not want to make slim, small, tight work shirts that restrict movement and don’t have enough length for bending.
The Carhartt K87 is a popular work t-shirt because it has the classic, crew-neck style combined with heavyweight cotton that lasts over time.
Here is a look at my Carhartt K87 t-shirt:
The K87 is what Carhartt calls an “original fit”, which is their most-relaxed fit. Do not expect a slim fit. If you order your normal sizing, expect a bit of extra room built-in. That said, I don’t recommend sizing down unless you just can’t stand baggy t-shirts.
But do expect the Carhartt K87 to have more room than many standard t-shirts. Again, this allows you plenty of room to twist and work, and also builds in a little extra size for shrinkage (expect shrinkage to be minimal).
Carhartt also makes a long-sleeve version of this heavyweight tee, and expect it to fit very similarly to the short-sleeve version (loose, relaxed fit). The style number for the long-sleeve tee is K126.
Both the Carhartt K87 (short-sleeve) and the K126 (long-sleeve) are offered in a wide variety of colors and sizes (including big and tall). These shirts are the perfect solution if you are looking for a standard, unassuming, clean work shirt that can stand up to tough work sites and not snag and rip easily.
Here is a look at me wearing a size medium Carhartt K87 short-sleeve pocket tee (6’3″ 200 pounds):
Here’s a look at my size medium Carhartt K87 tee compared to a size medium Hanes undershirt straight out of the package:
As you can see, the Carhartt K87 has a lot more space built-in than a Hanes undershirt. Again, I do not recommend sizing down, but if you are looking for a tighter fit, you will either need to size down, or find a slimmer work t-shirt.
If you are wondering how the Carhartt K87 compares to other types of popular work t-shirts, here is the Carhartt K87 size medium sitting underneath a size medium Dickies Heavyweight T-shirt that I own:
As you can see, the Dickies work t-shirt runs a bit smaller than the Carhartt K87 work t-shirt. This may give you an option if you don’t like the sizing of the Carhartt K87. You can also consider the Carhartt Force Cotton t-shirts.
The Carhartt Force Cotton T-shirts have a more standard cut than the Carhartt K87 shirts do. Deciding between the two may come down to fit. Do you like a relaxed, baggy fit (K87) or more of a standard fit (Force).
Of course, there are other differences. The Carhartt Force Cotton tees are actually a cotton/poly blend and they wick away moisture from your skin, making them a nice summer work tee.
Another popular Carhartt t-shirt is the long-sleeve Carhartt K231 that has the Carhartt logo down the sleeve. I would caution you that in my experience, the Carhartt K231 runs very loose. If you’d prefer a tighter fit, I’d size down.
I also wear the Carhartt Force Cotton Delmont T-Shirt a lot during the summer months. It is designed to wick sweat and has a lightweight, breathable feeling to it. My size medium weighs only 0.43 pounds:
Below, I have my size medium Carhartt Force Tee compared to a size medium undershirt. As you can see, this Carhartt Force Tee is not as loose as the Carhartt K87 tee we discussed earlier.
I still ordered my normal sizing and it worked fine, but if you want a loose fit, you may need to size up.
Do Carhartt T-Shirts Shrink?
When discussing Carhartt t-shirt sizing, you must also consider the possibility that your shirt shrinks. Shrinking t-shirts are a pain, and can wreck sizing. But what about Carhartt t-shirts? Do Carhartt t-shirts shrink? And specifically, do Carhartt K87 shirts shrink?
While, yes, Carhartt t-shirts will shrink a little bit, the overall shrinkage that I have experienced in my Carhartt t-shirts is quite minimal and does not cause the shirt to no longer fit.
Carhartt T-Shirt Sizing: My recommendation is to stick to your normal sizing in most circumstances when ordering Carhartt t-shirts. The extra room is nice to have on a job. If you prefer an in-between fit that is not too baggy or too tight, I would recommend the Carhartt Force Cotton Tee.