One shirt is as good as another, right? That isn’t exactly true. Don’t we all have our favorite shirt that seems to fit better, feel softer, and hang nicer? So which will be the perfect shirt for your event?
There are so many options to choose from…let’s get started.
Most importantly, you want to look at what the shirt is made of. There are a lot of materials to choose from and we are going to look at the three most popular; cotton, blend, and polyester.
100% COTTON: It’s a classic.
Pros: As one of the most widely used natural fabrics, 100% cotton is a great option. Because of the natural fibers, the shirt will be soft, comfortable and have a good drape. Cotton shirts, when compared to blends and polyester, will feel slightly heavier. This is why cotton is great for the trade industry or for outdoor use…the heavy fibers will stand up to the beating of manual labor. When it comes to decorating (putting your brand on) a cotton shirt, they do well with almost all types of decoration, especially screen-print. The smoothness of the fibers
allows a really crisp and clean imprint.
Cons: 100% cotton tends to shrink when you wash it. Even preshrunk options will shrink slightly. And they tend to wrinkle more easily. Cotton also doesn’t play well with the decoration technique of dye sublimation.
Great 100% Cotton Shirts:
- Port & Company 5.4 oz. T-shirt – PC54
- Gildan – Heavy Cotton T-shirt – 5000
- Next Level Apparel Premium Fitted Crew – 3600
50/50 BLEND: Welcome to the future… 50% cotton and 50% polyester blend.
Now it doesn’t always stay at this blend ratio…sometimes you will find it at 65/35 or vise versa. For this article, blends include basically 50/50 and slight variations of that.
Pros: This blended fabric is the fastest growing in popularity. This fabric stands out because it is lightweight and fits very well. It is shrink and wrinkle resistant, making it an awesome shirt to hand out because it will look great instantly. Blends are very breathable and allow for high activity, without getting sweat tacos. The blend is also great for all decoration, including a few dye sublimation techniques.
Cons: If you want your shirt to keep you warm, the blend won’t do it. Besides that, we haven’t found a real weakness of the 50/50 blend shirt.
Great 50/50 Blend Shirts:
- Port & Company – 50/50 T-shirt – PC55
- Gildan – DryBlend 50/50 T-shirt – 8000
- Next Level Apparel CVC Crew – 6210
- American Apparel Poly-Cotton Short Sleeve Crew Neck – BB401
100% POLYESTER: This is the Lance Armstrong of fabrics, minus the steroids.
Pros: Polyester is a performance material that allows your body to breathe to keep you cool, and wicks sweat away. Opposite of cotton, it will not soak up sweat. If you love science, this is your shirt…it is a man-made fiber. It is perfect for any race or athletic activity. It has a great drape because the shirts are lightweight. This fabric looks really great with discharge and dye sublimation. It is naturally wrinkle resistant.
Con’s: Since this is your performance shirt, you might want to stay away from screen-printing because the ink doesn’t allow the body to breathe. You should also be aware that after numerous uses, 100% polyester sometimes retains the smell. One important concern is to make sure the shirt is as snag resistant as possible because, if not done right, these shirts can snag and bunch up.
Great 100% Polyester Shirts:
- Sports-Tek – Competitor Tee – ST350
- JERZEES Sport 100% Polyester T-shirt – 21M
- A4 Adult Cooling Performance Crew – N3142
There you have it! Hopefully you now have some new things to think about when choosing the perfect shirt. This is the first installation in “Picking the Perfect Shirt”…keep your eye out for part 2!