Oct 26, 2015

The Complex Conundrum of Choosing a Plain T-Shirt

 Marlon Brando and James Dean made rocking a t-shirt cool. But you know what? They had it easy.  They didn’t have to pick from umpteen makes, brands and styles.  They simply left the overshirt at home and called it a day.

You, on the other hand, live in the world of customization. You do not have that same luxury. Today the basic white has become a fully fledged wardrobe staple fit for any occasion — and finding the right shirt can be quite the challenge.

Thankfully we know a thing or two about clothing. Searching for the perfect white tee? We’re here to help!

First thing first - What’s the style? There are many t-shirt styles to choose from. We’re all familiar with short-sleeve versus long-sleeve, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Choose your style below.

•    Fashion Tees – This covers everything from heathered V-neck tees to Raglans and ridiculously soft crew-neck shirts. Shirts in this category are designed to make a statement — regardless of whether you add printing.
•    Pocket Tees – The pocket adds a nice accent to a basic t-shirt. Plus, that pocket is a great place for some standout printing.
•    Performance Tees – Athleisure is on trend in the world of customized clothing. The mix of lightweight and moisture-wicking material is perfect for exercise.
•    Ringer Tees –Instead of the standard seams around the sleeves and neck, ringer tees have extra material sewn on to accent the overall color.
•    Tank tops and Sleeveless Tees –Who said a t-shirt needs to look like a T? Tank tops and sleeveless tees are popular alternatives to your standard t-shirt, perfect for warmer weather and outdoor events and fundraisers.

Next Up - Which fabric? Once you figure out the design, it’s time to select the fabric. Though you’re probably familiar with the names, it’s helpful to know what actually differentiates polyester from blended fabric.

•    Preshrunk Cotton – Shirts made with this type of cotton are generally the cheapest options. Usually considered heavier in weight, these shirts are more rigid and less form fitting.
•    Ringspun Cotton – As a step up from preshrunk cotton, ringspun cotton is used in fashion shirts. It’s lighter weight and has a softer fit.
•    Polyester – This is commonly used for athletic wear. Shirts made of 100% polyester are best for keeping cool and wicking moisture (think “dry fit” clothing).
•    Blended – Combination fabrics have gained popularity over the years. Known as “blends,” these fabrics combine polyester and ringspun cotton. The benefit? An undeniably comfortable shirt with the best qualities of cotton and polyester.  If you want an even softer shirt, keep an eye out for tri-blends which has added in rayon for additional comfort. 

Final Step - What decoration method?  Whether it’s a batch of employee uniforms or a set of matching shirts for an upcoming event, adding decoration is an effective way to get your message across.  When it comes to putting your designs to fabric, you have a few options to consider. These options may change depending on who decorates the shirts, but in general, there are a few choices you’re likely to run across.

•    Screen Printing – This has been around for centuries and is a staple for any custom t-shirt.   Essentially, it is pressing ink through a screen and stenciling it directly onto the shirt. The ink is then cured with heat, and the process repeats for every color.
•    Digital Printing – Imagine printing a document with your home printer. Digital printing is the exact same process, except it’s on a t-shirts instead of a piece of paper and the printer is quite larger. Though more expensive than screen printing for large orders, digital printing’s strength is in its ability to print multiple colors at the same time.
•    Heat Transfer – Instead of ink, heat transfer printing uses iron-on images to add designs to shirts. Because the entire image is added at once, there isn’t a need to run the process multiple times. Heat transfer printing works well with logos and names.
•    Embroidery – When adding small logos and brand names to shirts, hand- or machine-stitched designs are still quite popular. When exploring embroidery as an option, keep in mind that you should keep the designs small due to the way embroidery pre-stitched fabric warps.

Complete these three steps in your decision making process and you'll be amazed at how much easier it will be to decide on a basic t-shirt for your needs!

Anything else?
If you have additional questions about basic t-shirts for any need whether it be personal or processional, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us. After all, we do call ourselves Apparel Gurus for a reason!
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Oct 19, 2015

The Freshest & Newest Ideas for Your Company Swag from Swagology

The Coolest Products and Trends from Swagology

Our first-ever Swagology is in the books! Hundreds of our clients stopped by to check out the latest and greatest in company swag — all showcased by 25 hand-selected vendor-partners. 

The historic 1880 Trolley Barn in Atlanta’s Inman Park neighborhood served as an idyllic setting to share the future of swag. To keep track of our favorite finds and share the spirit of Swagology with everyone who couldn’t attend, here’s a rundown of a few of the coolest products we came across throughout the day. Enjoy!

The World of Athleisure

Customizable clothing is a staple of the swag industry.

The latest trend in customizable clothing falls between corporate wear and fundraising apparel. It’s a thing called “athleisure,” and it’s all about looking good while staying fit. Here are some standouts from branded athleisure.

This is the belt you always wanted but never knew you needed. Made from snowmobile-grade thermoplastic (yes, you read that right), these fully customizable belts are highly durable and made to take a beating.

Mix and match colors to your heart’s content with these one-size-fits-all designs. Need something printed on the belt in specific colors? No problem at all — that comes standard. Best of all, these belts give back to the charity of your choice. How cool is that? 

This jacket from SanMar is the poster child of modern athleisure. Remember the “heather movement” from a while back? It led to the birth of interwoven fabrics and muted, textured color design. Digi stripe takes that design a step further.

The Digi Stripe Fleece Jacket bridges comfort, style and versatility. We can’t emphasize enough how comfortable this jacket is. And with three zipped pockets and full customization options, it’s built for anything.

Trimark’s Okapi Knit Jacket goes wherever you need it to go and says whatever you need to say. Want to toss on a heat-transferred design? No problem. Want to go with laser printing or embroidery? Those options work, too.

This popular piece of athleisure wear packs all the usual benefits of athletic wear with the customizability of the greatest corporate uniforms. Just choose a base color and dig into the variety of available branding options.

New & Cool Promotional Products for 2016

Coolers have arrived in the world of promotional products. They’re perfect because they actually fulfill a need and get your name or brand in front of people — especially at outdoor events.
This one from Showdown Displays comes with a truly unique feature: interchangeable cooler wraps.

The form-fitting covers are designed to fit Coleman coolers perfectly without getting in the way of everyday use. These dye sublimated wraps are machine washable, meaning you can take the coolers wherever you want without any fear of ruining your product. 

These sunglasses from Hit Promotional Products combine sun-protecting eye wear with a bottle opener. Two seemingly unrelated features joined together in a seamlessly intuitive way.

Sunglasses are often used as promotional products. That’s for good reason: people use them. And with these sunglasses, you’re bound to make more than a few heads turn.

The glasses pack the usual customization options: various base colors, standard silk-screen colors, UV400 lenses providing full UVA and UVB protection and the option for multi-color printing.

Customizable Power Banks and Chargers

Battery life is the bane of mobile tech. We have amazing technology at our fingertips — we just can’t keep it charged. Thankfully power banks and chargers have made dead battery fear a thing of the past.

In the past few years, we’ve seen battery packs become major players in the world of company swag. These customizable lifesavers are a surefire way to get your brand in the hands of people across the world.

Power banks and chargers were everywhere at Swagology. However, there were two products from Sweden-based company BrandCharger that really caught our attention.

An LED back light illuminates a company’s printed logo, making this charger a striking, yet useful flashlight and charger.

Ranging from 2200-5200 mAh, these chargers run the whole gamut in terms of price and versatility — not to mention they’re compatible with any USB-based charger. 

BrandCharger BC2 Sound USB Car Charger

This car charger allows you to program up to 20 seconds of customized audio that will play at the beginning of every charge. Have a catchy brand jingle people will recognize? Or maybe a brand message you want people to hear? So long as it fits the 20-second window, creative freedom is all yours!

The car charger comes with two USB ports capable of charging two tablets or mobile devices at once.

Looking Forward

We saw a lot of awesome products at Swagology, and there’s no way we could recap every piece from every vendor. All we can say is the new trends in swag are something worth getting excited about.

And thanks again to everyone who came out. If you missed the event, make sure to stop in for our next one!
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