To a Tee
One of the most diverse items in the promotional industry, T-shirts present so many buying decisions that picking out the right one can be daunting. The number of choices are sure to increase as innovation introduces new kinds of T-shirts, like those made from transitional or slub cotton, with more and more frequency. Add the ever-changing winds of fashion to the decision mix, and picking the right tee for a given promotion can quickly become complicated.
Luckily, three T-shirt suppliers were kind enough to discuss with Promo Marketing one of their products in depth. Their insights provide not only a better look at the items in question, but also a framework of general questions, points and features helpful in sorting through the growing number of choices out there when shopping for a T-shirt.
The Anvil Ringspun Fashion Fit T-Shirt
From S&S Activewear
Margaret Crow, marketing director for Bolingbrook, Illinois-based S&S Activewear, described Anvil's Ringspun Fashion Fit T-Shirt as a "great advertising T-shirt." The shirt has a nice balance between fashion and universality, and as Crow noted, "It's a fashion-fit, but it's also a basic." She explained that the shirt's slight tapering and light 4.5 oz. fabric weight put it right in line with today's fashion trends, but not so much that it's too trendy to fit into non-niche programs. Crow noted that the shirt's pricing and high size range of up to 4X also help make the item practical for a wide range of promotions.
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The shirt is fitted both at the body and the shoulder. "It's fitted, but it's not tight," said Crow. "It's forgiving."
A 30s weave makes the shirt more durable, and gives it a sleeker appearance and softer hand. "Customers are really into the hand of a shirt, how it feels and how comfortable it is," said Crow.
Available in 15 different colors, including "independent red" (shown).
100 percent, pre-shrunk combed ring-spun cotton.
Guys distressed antique silicon wash crew neck short sleeve tee
Jessica Clifford, marketing for Kavio!, Commerce, Calif., explained some of the perks of the Guys Distressed Antique Silicon Wash Crew Neck Short Sleeve Tee. "Guys don't have the same amount of options as women when it comes to T-shirts," she said. "The distressed antique look goes a long way in providing an alternative vintage look for guys."
Clifford explained the shirt's worn-in and aged look can make for an easy way to add a touch of fashion to an outfit. "It adds style to a look without effort," she said. "Just thrown on with jeans it beats the basic tee any day of the week."
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With a 4 oz. fabric weight, the shirt is not only light, but soft due to the distressed detailing and antique silicon wash. "The soft fabric takes to imprinting well," explained Clifford.
Available in brown (shown), charcoal, indigo or white. "The antique silicon wash also creates a slight variation to coloring, adding interest and texture," said Clifford.
Fabric is distressed around the neck line, sleeve edges and bottom hem.
Classic crew neck silhouette for a comfortable fit.
Adult 5.4 oz. Ring Spun Recycled Tee
From Delta Apparel
"This is our first recycled shirt," said Greg Brown, vice president of marketing and promotional products for Delta Apparel, Duluth, Ga. Brown explained that the increasing popularity of the green movement caused Delta Apparel to consider the benefits of offering eco-friendly apparel. "We thought this would give an opportunity to see how this would fit into our market," he said. "So far the product [has been] successful."
The shirt is a 50/50 cotton/poly blend, the poly portion made from about five plastic bottles worth of recycled P.E.T. It is available in white, navy, royal, black, grass green (shown) and red. Sizes range from S to 2X.
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"It has 3⁄4" seam rib-neck collar, so you have a smaller, more fashion-driven neckline," said Brown. "That is what is seeing growth in the market, even though the numbers are smaller in total volume." The collar also features a tear-away back label in case end-buyers want to rebrand the shirt as their own.
The inclusion of recycled material does not affect the colors Delta Apparel is able to offer, but it does alter slightly how said colors come out. "Any time you're using anything that's a recycled product, you might have some color variations," explained Brown.
Recycled P.E.T. behaves like standard polyester, contributing to a softer hand and reducing potential shrinkage, while handling embellishment identically.