Selecting the Best T-shirt
T-shirts used to be pretty much all the same when I was younger (back in the old days :-) , but have become increasingly more complicated, with new ways of processing cotton. There are a variety of types, fits, and thicknesses, and weights now, making choosing a tee a more complicated than ever.
Types of Cotton Tees
- Regular 100% pre-shrunk cotton: This type of cotton is made by twisting the fibers together to make yarn which is then woven into cotton material. I call these tees old skool tees, as they were around as long as I can remember, and are an industry standard. Although old skool cotton is not as soft as the other types of cotton, these tees usually have a relaxed fit and are less sheer that the other types of t-shirts, making them very popular with a lot of people.
- Ring-spun cotton: This type of cotton is made with strands that are twisted really fine and soft, in a process which results in a more durable type of cotton. This type of tee is usually softer and more sheer than regular cotton tees.
- Combed cotton: Combed cotton has gone through a process in which fibers have been combed out of the cotton, making the material softer, finer, and more compact. It is considered to be a higher quality cotton than cotton that hasn't been combed.
- Ring-spun-combed cotton: This type of cotton has been ring-spun and combed to make a premium soft cotton tee. They tend to be a little more fitted and popular with the younger crowd.
Added to the various types of cotton, are various weights, which can make choosing a t-shirt even more confusing. In the U.S. fabric is measured in ounces per square yard. T-shirts usually run from 4.2 oz. through 6.1 oz. Back in the day, t-shirts were judged by their weight, meaning a heavier weight tee was more quality than a lightweight tee. But not so any more. Now you can buy a lightweight tee and the quality will be just a good as a heavier weight tee, depending on the type of cotton it's sewn with. For instance I have regular cotton tees and ring-spun-combed cotton tees. I find the lighter ring-spun-combed tees soft and comfortable, and even though they are more sheer than the regular tees, they feel like they are just as thick as the regular tees. However, if I am working in the garden, I prefer the regular cotton tees because they seem cooler and not as clingy as the combed ring spun ones.
T-shirts come in all types of fits too. Some of the combed ring spun shirts tend to be a little more fitted than the old skool regular cotton shirts. Here at Pono Artworks we currently have regular cotton t-shirts, manufactured by Gildan, that are a classic fit, and not as fitted as some brands. We chose to go with old skool Gildan tees, as they have been proven to be the most popular sellers among the our customers, and I've found that people (especially the guys) are notoriously finicky about their tees . For instance, my oldest son is all about having a loose and cool tee and my youngest son is really picky about his collar stretching out. They have their favorite brands and I'm sure you do too!
The Bottom LineThe bottom line is, the best t-shirt is the one that you pick according to your tastes. If you have certain preferences or a favorite brand for your t-shirts, leave a comment, as I would really be interested to hear about it, as I scour the web, trying to find the best tees for my website.