A Definitive T-shirt Buying Guide

A t-shirt is a classic in every sense of the word. From hikes, to games, to work uniforms, everyone needs a great quality t-shirt for any situation. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover why the t-shirt is so well loved and how to find the right fit for your team. 

Why you should have custom tees

Custom tees are a great option to uniform your team. T-shirts are a common, recognizable piece of clothing. Their simplicity provides the perfect base for you to showcase your brand without sacrificing the comfort of your team. 

Popular Custom T-Shirt Brands

Custom t-shirts tend to be a staple of many common clothing brands. Brands such as Broken Arrow and Custom Ink are examples you may see pop up on the internet. Thread Logic provides custom embroidery for t-shirts and more, all with an easy three step order process and tailor made for the perfect logo. 

Things to look for when you’re buying a t-shirt

The t-shirt is deceptively simple. From cut to fabric, there are many factors to consider when finding the best shirt for you. We’ll take you through all the important elements of the t-shirt, taking all the guesswork out of finding your perfect t-shirt. 

Fabric type

The type of fabric is an incredibly important factor when choosing your new t-shirts. A comfortable shirt starts with comfortable fabric. Here are a few of the most common fabric choices.

  • 100% Cotton. Cotton t-shirts are a fairly universal find, often seen populating both shelves and online storefronts. Cotton has been used for clothing for over six thousand years, providing a long history of comfort and effectiveness. The natural fiber composition of cotton makes for a breathable shirt that is also soft to the touch. 
  • Polyester. Polyester is often found as a blended fabric, meaning it is usually combined with at least one other type of fabric to create a garment. A notable feature of polyester is its ability to wick sweat from the body, making it an especially popular choice for outdoor use. 
  • Linen. Linen tends to be a bit of a rare find when looking for a t-shirt, but its properties make for excellent wearability. Linen tends to be a bit thinner than a cotton, polyester, or blended t-shirt. They also tend to have a bit of a drapier look than a traditional fitted cotton t-shirt. Linen t-shirts can be a great option for those looking for a lighter take on a t-shirt. 

Size & Fit

The size and fit of a t-shirt are another important factor to consider when buying a t-shirt. Since people tend to have vastly different heights, widths of shoulders, and collar sizes, many different sizes of t-shirts have been created to cater to all of their needs. 

There are several different scales that are used to determine t-shirt size. Some companies use a lettering system, designating S for a small size, M for a medium size, and etc. Other times, a numerical system may be used, typically going from 0-16 in standard stores. To find out what size will fit you best, simply take measurements of your neck, arms, and waist and find the corresponding size for you. 


The cut of a t-shirt tends to come down to two factors: neckline and sleeve type. We’ll dive more into different types of necklines shortly, so for now let’s focus on the sleeves. 

The traditional t-shirt sleeve tends to come down to about halfway down the bicep. The Gildan Ultra Cotton T-Shirt is a great example of the classic t-shirt cut. Note the sleeves that hit right around the middle of the bicep with a straight hem. 

The varsity cut tends to resemble the traditional t-shirt, with a colorful twist. The varsity t-shirt often features sleeves that are a different color than the rest of the t-shirt. Check out the District Ladies Game V-Neck Tee for an example. 

Although we tend to think of t-shirts as being short sleeved, long sleeved t-shirts can be a great alternative. Long sleeved t-shirts, such as the Gildan Long Sleeved T-Shirt, follow the same general form as a short sleeved t-shirt with a fuller sleeve covering the whole arm. 

Neck Type

The cut of the neck is also an important factor when choosing the perfect t-shirt. Here are a few of the most common necklines. 

The crew neck is the most common neck line for a t-shirt. It typically comes up to the base of the neck in a circular shape. These shirts strike a perfect balance of coverage and comfort.

The v-neck is another popular neck line. As the name suggests, the v-neck features a cut in the neckline that resembles an inverted triangle or a v. These tops add an angular look to the traditional t-shirt. 

Another common type of t-shirt is the polo. Oftentimes, polos feature a collar and buttons. The polo is most commonly used for sports and other outdoor events. Polos can add a formal touch to the traditional t-shirt. 

Fabric Quality

Fabric quality can easily separate a quality t-shirt from a bad one. As we touched upon when we covered the most common types of fabric, cotton is typically the fabric most associated with t-shirts. Typically, a label marking 100% cotton is a good indicator of high quality fabric. The use of pima cotton is another excellent way to determine quality fabric. Pima cotton is known for durability and softness. 


Shoulders are an important element of a t-shirt when determining the proper fit. Here are a few types of fits for shoulder cuts that you’ll typically see on the shelves. 

Shoulder seams

Shoulder seams are an important indicator of how a shirt will fall on the shoulders. A great fitting t-shirt should have a shoulder seam that meets the corner of the shoulder bone. Make sure to watch out for the fit of arm holes as well. An ideal t-shirt will allow for a full range of motion in the arms. 

Broader shoulders

Those with broader shoulders should look for a t-shirt with a longer shoulder seam. A 

v-neck is a great choice for broad shoulders as the neckline allows for a free range of motion. 

Sloped shoulders

Those with sloped shoulders should look for a more closed neckline, such as a crew neck t-shirt or a polo. The coverage on the base of the neck creates a more cohesive line throughout the shoulder area.


Different occasions can call for different types of t-shirts. The classic t-shirt tends to be associated with a more casual style, thus should probably be used for casual events or uniform style. A polo is a great example of a t-shirt that can easily be dressed up to suit a more formal occasion.


An important part of t-shirt shopping is picking out the right color. Neutral tones such as white, black, grey, or tan can be a great base for a customized t-shirt, matching any logo. If you have a particular color that suits your brand, t-shirts can also often be found in brighter tones such as red or blue. 

Why customize t-shirts?

Customized t-shirts are an excellent way to personalize one of the most common wardrobe staples. T-shirts are a great choice to build a uniform for your team, providing comfort while communicating a clear message to your clients. From a crew neck to a polo, the t-shirt is the perfect place for your brand to make a home. 

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About Jeff Taxdahl

With over 20 years’ experience in embroidery and business ownership, Thread Logic owners Jeff and Wenda Taxdahl, and the Thread Logic team, know what it takes to make custom logo embroidered apparel that people are proud to wear.