PRODUCT REVIEW: Carhartt Original (Loose) Fit vs Relaxed Fit

 

UPDATED June 2022: We have had lots of feedback over the course of the last year or two as Carhartt has changed over all of its product from Original Fit to Loose Fit as well as adding Relaxed Fit into some of their styles. And here is what we have learned: When it comes to the workwear pants, there has not been a huge difference between the change from Original Fit to Loose Fit. A lot of the specs have stayed the same. While we always here that items "are not what they used to be," we can say that the pants are very similar to how they have been made for the last several years. 

Where the difference has come in has been the Carhartt T-Shirts and Work Shirts. The K87 (their classic Pocket T) has definitely changed and so has some of their sweats. We will do a deeper product review on the Tees and Sweats soon, but here are some measurements on the tees: 

K87 Loose Fit Pocket Tee in a Medium - 6.75 ounce fabric (but the Heather colors may feel lighter), across the chest measures 22 inches, and the center back measures 30.25 inches

104616 SS Force Tee in a Medium - 5.75 ounce fabric (all colors are blended poly-cotton), across the chest measures 20.25 inches, and the center back measures 30 inches

ORIGINAL POST September 2020

There doesn’t seem to be an industry standard when it comes to naming the fits of products, and Carhartt is no exception. We want to try to give you a better understanding of how the different Carhartt workwear fits will ultimately fit you.

Short Story: As a workwear company, Carhartt has never made a “regular” fit. Their t-shirts, hoodies, coats, and pants have all seemed to be larger than average. The fit that you may have come to know is called “Original Fit” (and more recently Original Loose Fit). However, because of trends and a call for a slimmer version, Carhartt now has “Relaxed Fit,” which is closer to what we would call a “Regular Fit.” Confused? So were we. We will do our best to try to make it more clear!Carhartt work pants original fit vs. relaxed fit at Dave's New York

Long Story:

Original Fit - This is the most prevalent fit in Carhartt’s workwear line. It encompasses all of the classic t-shirts, hoodies, work jackets, and work pants. Original Fit is a looser fit, and if you are not used to it, you’re in for a surprise. In terms of t-shirts and hoodies, this means that whatever size you read on the tag, it fits one or two sizes larger. For example, I wear between a Large/XL in a Hanes or Gildan tee, but I can easily wear a Medium in a Carhartt K87 Original Fit pocket tee. The same is true for our manager John, who wears a Large in his Dave’s tee, but can wear a Small in the Carhartt K87 t-shirt. When it comes to a measurement of the tops, please see the table below for approximate sizes:

Fit

Small

Medium

Large

XL

2XL

3XL

Carhartt Original Fit

40” chest

42-44”

46-48”

50-52”

54-56”

58-60”

Hanes/Gildan/Dave’s Tee

36” chest

38-40”

42-44”

46-48”

50-52”

54-56”

For pants it means that the waist sits higher up and that the leg is wider throughout. The classic canvas carpenter and double-knee pants are all in Original Fit. This means that they are looser, have a longer rise, and sit higher on the waist. The wider leg allows for more room and comfort while working, and to some that is a benefit and to others it may be too much fabric. 

Relaxed Fit - This is a newer fit and has been in the line for a few years, but it is growing in terms of the number of products that come in Relaxed Fit. Though it is called relaxed, the fit is more close to what you may find in a regular fit in other brands. Some of Carhartt’s newest t-shirts, performance shirts, and work pants are being made in relaxed fit, for a fit that is closer to the body, and more consistent with other brands of clothing. For tops this means that you can get your “normal” size. Here is a chart below that show the difference between Original Fit, Relaxed Fit, and other brands of tees:

Fit

Small

Medium

Large

XL

2XL

3XL

Carhartt Original Fit

40” chest

42-44”

46-48”

50-52”

54-56”

58-60”

Carhartt Relaxed Fit

36-38” chest

40-42”

42-44”

46-48”

50-52”

54-56”

Hanes/Gildan/Dave’s Tee

36” chest

38-40”

42-44”

46-48”

50-52”

54-56”

In regards to the newer Relaxed Fit Carhartt pants, these have a more normal waist (sits below the natural waist), similar to a classic Levi’s jean. They also feature a more regular shape to the seat and thigh and a straight leg that fits over work boots, but it is not too wide. It allows for room to move during work without being restrictive. Since we have received these newer styles, we have seen an increase in Relaxed Fit sales and a decrease in Original Fit. From what we hear, people like to be comfortable on the job, but not to have too much fabric and room that it feels cumbersome. The Relaxed Fit really checks off the box of being in the middle of a slimmer fit but allowing room to work.

Either fit can be great and can work for you, but it helps to know what size will fit you in each model. The best option would be to try things on, but that is not always possible. So in these times, we are here to help you get the right fit that you need in the items that you want. If you have any questions on the size or style, reach out to us and we will get back to you with the best information that we can.

Shop our Carhartt workwear collection

Like this post? Check out some of our other Carhartt blog posts:

TRENDING PRODUCTS: Carhartt Double Front Work Pants

PRODUCT REVIEW: Carhartt Force T-shirts

PRODUCT REVIEW: New Carhartt Detroit Jacket

Adam, Dave’s New York

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Next article PRODUCT REVIEW: Red Wing 10875 vs. 405 Moc Toe Work Boots

Comments

Roger Boire - October 23, 2022

I was Carhart all the way but with this new shirt sizing I am switching brands. Loose fit is not the old classic, bring the old carports back

Leif - October 23, 2022

First Carharrt discontinued the casual shirts I liked and bought frequently. That was about 15 years ago and I was still a customer buying the B25 work shorts and the K87 shirts, then the B25’s went away and I reluctantly switched to the B147 shorts. Not bad but didn’t fit as good and don’t last anywhere near the older version. Now this, they have changed the work shirt I have worn for nearly 20 years and replaced it with a thin stretchy nightgown with a huge sagging neck hole….
Goodbye Carharrt, it was fun while it lasted.

Darvis Lee - July 24, 2022

The loose fit shirts neck is saggy unfortunately I will be looking for a new brand!

Ken - June 25, 2022

I’ve worn only Carhartt tees for decades. The new K87’s aren’t even close. The fabric is thinner and the necks are sloppy loose … that’s why I did this research. My wife gave me half a dozen new K87’s for Christmas. The necks were so loose and sloppy that I gave two of them to the Salvation Army after after wearing them once and determining that washing them didn’t help. Time for a new, quality work T.

Tony - June 25, 2022

This is malarkey. After returning several tee shirts due to poor fitment, I no longer have time to accommodate Carhartt’s logic. I will waste my time finding a new quality garment. See ya!

Karina Shorten - June 25, 2022

The new “loose fit” is definitely bigger than their old fit. I’ve been wearing the old regular fit for years. I’m a size two. And with the sizing up of the new looser fit, which they are claiming is the same, and even has the same style number, they simply don’t fit anymore. They are NOT the same, no matter what they say. They’re so much bigger that since I already wear the smallest size they sell, I can no longer wear Carhartt pants. This is a travesty. Why would you mess with success? I’m actually pretty livid and have some choice words for them!

Ryan - June 25, 2022

The “Loose” fit are twice as loose as the “Original” fit and I feel like I am swimming in the same size loose fit. It’s so loose that an undershirt is needed, which honestly completely defeats the purpose.

Jerry Dugal - June 25, 2022

I recently purchased regular sized tshirts because the tall ones are ridiculously long. Fine if I’m tucking them in.. The regular fit tshirts seem just as long, I’m 6’3’ and they even seem long to me. I can’t imagine how they fit on shorter guys.

I’ve also been wearing the contractor polo shirts for 20 some odd years, the ones I’ve purchased recently are much thinner and smell after just a couple of hours. The oldest ones never did that.

John Effertz - March 8, 2022
Please bring back origional fit tees, loose fit is like a night shirt to long if worn outside pants.
Terry - February 21, 2022

I’ve worked in Carhartt shirts for over 30 years and the new sizing has totally screwed up a great product. I too am looking for a rugged work T to replace these sorry shirts.

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