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

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

Adam, Dave’s New York

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