For most people, a T-shirt is just a T-shirt. It’s a standard piece of clothing we throw on under something else, or when we head to the gym, or when we’re hanging around the house, or, pretty much whenever we want.
But what if someone told you that T-shirts aren’t just T-shirts and that there was a lot more to them than meets the eye? Maybe your mind would explode. Or maybe it wouldn’t. Tough to say.
Nevertheless, choosing the right T-shirt for you and your personal style involves some thought. There’s a lot more to consider than you might have ever thought. Here’s how to do it:
The first thing you need to decide when choosing a T-shirt is the material. In general, you have three options: cotton, polyester, and blended fabrics. The differences between these fabrics are subtle yet significant.
A natural fiber, people have been making clothing out of cotton for thousands of years if not longer. And for good reason. It’s light, soft, and breathable, making it a great choice for pretty much any occasion.
However, cotton has two downsides. First, it holds onto moisture, so if it gets wet, it tends to stay wet longer. For this reason, it’s not a great option as a bottom layer when heading out in colder climates. If you sweat, the shirt will get damp and then can make you colder.
The other downside is that it shrinks when exposed to heat. If you wash it in hot water or run it through the dryer, it will never look the same again. The good thing is that if you do this once, it won’t shrink again. But if it fits just right, chances are you won’t get to wear it again.
Cotton T-shirts are great for casual wearing. Your everyday tee if you will.
The next most common type of T-shirt material is polyester, which is a synthetic fiber that is meant to look and feel like cotton.
It has a few advantages over cotton. For one, it doesn’t shrink or stretch, meaning it will keep its shape forever. It also does not absorb moisture, and it’s relatively stain resistant, which makes it an ideal choice for those who live an active lifestyle.
In reality, the only disadvantage of polyester is that it isn’t natural. It’s not quite as breathable as cotton, nor is it quite as soft. For some, the fact it’s made in a lab might also be a turn off. But for most people, the polyester tee is a great choice.
If a T-shirt isn’t made from cotton or polyester, then it’s likely a blend of the two. Shirts that are 70/30 cotton polyester combine the breathability and comfort of cotton with the moisture wicking and shape-holding qualities of polyester.
Some t-shirts are blended with cotton, polyester, and rayon, which is a synthetic version of silk. This makes it even softer and also helps it dry even more quickly. Again, blended tees are a great choice for an active life.
Next to material, making sure you choose the right size T-shirt is important for picking the right one.
In most cases, you can go with your normal size. But if the shirt is 100 percent cotton and you plan to wash it (or don’t trust yourself to keep it out of the dryer) consider buying one size up so that you can still wear it when it shrinks.
Another thing to keep in mind is where you buy the shirt. Sizes in the United States tend to be different elsewhere. For example, if you wear a medium in the US, you will probably be a large in the US.
Choosing the right cut is also critical to finding the right T-shirt. Today, there are dozens of different T-shirt cuts, but here are some of the most common to help you decide
- Crewcut — This is the standard cut for a T-shirt. It has a circular neck that fits tightly.
- V-Neck — A growing trend, the V-neck looks, well, like a V. The hole cuts down and reveals a bit more of your chest.
- Slim Fit — These t-shirts are cut smaller to fit more closely to your body.
- Muscle Shirt — This is a slim fit shirt except it’s even slimmer. The sleeves are usually narrower because it’s designed to show off your guns.
Choose the Perfect T-Shirt
That’s pretty much it. Of course, design, color, and price will all play a role in your decision. But if you keep these factors in mind, the perfect T-shirt is right around the corner.