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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