T-shirt Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong T-shirt

T-shirts were originally designed as undershirts, but in the last 50 years, they have become popular as outerwear. T-shirt styles vary widely. When figuring out how to buy T-shirts, think about where you plan to wear the shirt, what T-shirt style will best complement your body and what message you want your clothing to send.

>> Consider the message you want to send

Like all aspects of your physical appearance, your T-shirt helps to create a message about you. If you choose a T-shirt with exposed seams, you might be trying to indicate your interest in contemporary style. If you choose a T-shirt design with unexposed seams, you might be showing that you care about function and classic taste in your apparel.

>> Are you looking for a T-shirt for daily life?

Because T-shirt styles come in many shapes and sizes, you can incorporate T-shirts into most outfits, provided you choose a T-shirt appropriate for the situation. For example, when figuring out how to buy a T-shirt, if you're looking for something comfortable and attractive to wear on the weekend or at a job with a relaxed dress code, different types of T-shirts, such as with messages or beaded embellishments, might be appropriate.

>> How to buy a T-shirt to wear to work

If you work in a job that requires movement, you might wear T-shirts as part of a formal uniform or simply for comfort. Thick cotton T-shirts hold up to frequent washing, which is important if you work in physical labor. One of the most significant benefits for people who wear T-shirts as part of a uniform is the ease of personalization. If you are choosing T-shirts to be worn by a group of people, remember that logos and employee names can be silk-screened, embroidered or iron-transferred on to many different types of T-shirts.

>> T-shirts at the gym

Many people who work out or play sports wear T-shirts while exercising. T-shirts designed for women's and men's active wear are typically simple in appearance, emphasizing their practical application over their design. Some T-shirt designs are made of synthetic materials that wick off sweat easily or have built-in pockets. Some weight lifters prefer wearing men's muscle shirts for workout shirts.

>> Choose a complementary neckline for your body

One of the more variable components of a T-shirt is the style of the neckline. For women, a boatneck helps to balance the appearance of wider hips, and a cowl neck can make a large bust look smaller, while creating the appearance of a larger bust in those who have a smaller chest. Crew necks and V-necks are worn by both men and women. A crew neck creates a classic look, while a V-neck is considered flattering to almost all body types, provided the T-shirt is appropriately tailored. You might appreciate a V-neck T-shirt as an alternative to men's button down shirts in semi-formal situations.

>> Benefits of cotton T-shirts

When figuring out how to buy a T-shirt, you may find that durability and material strength are important concerns. Cotton is the most easily washed T-shirt material, which might explain its popularity. Cotton can be further broken down into combed, pima, organic and jersey cotton. Combed cotton is known for softness, and pima cotton is known for being high quality. If you want to ensure that your exposure to pesticides is limited, you might favor organic cotton. Jersey cotton, made from thin yarn, is the most commonly used type of cotton in T-shirts.

>> What kind of synthetic materials are available when shopping for T-shirts?
Polyester is popular as a result of the fabric's ability to resist wrinkling and retain color. Rayon is a man-made fabric that is spun from cellulose fiber from trees, and is a versatile option for T-shirt uses. Rayon is often used to mimic silk, linen and cotton at a lower price. If you are hoping to find a T-shirt to dye, you might want to consider something made with modal, a type of rayon fabric, known for its water absorbency and its resistance to shrinkage.

>> Consider a unique T-shirt style

Textured T-shirts, such as linen, rib-knit and slub shirts, are typically made of cotton that has been loomed in order to make a weave. If you're looking for variety in your closet, you might enjoy the unique look created by different weaves.

>> The effect of material weight

Depending on the thickness of the weave and the material used in your T-shirt, you will notice that different T-shirt weights affect the look of your shirt. Lightweight T-shirts tend to cling and should be bought in a size slightly too big to compensate for laundry shrinkage. A heavyweight T-shirt can make you appear larger than you are if it is the wrong T-shirt size, and heavyweight shirts should be bought in a size that fits off the rack. Heavyweight T-shirts, like durable cotton crew necks, do not usually shrink in the wash, so it is important to ensure the correct fit beforehand.

>> T-shirt colors
The right color T-shirt helps make your teeth look whiter and your skin look brighter. Many retailers divide skin tone into four "seasons." If you are a person with wide contrast between skin, eye and hair color, you are considered a "winter" and are encouraged to wear T-shirts in jewel tones, like pigment-dyed clothes. If your inner forearm is pale and pink, you are a "summer." Summers tend to look best when wearing T-shirts in pastel colors and muted tones. If your inner arm has golden undertones, you are considered an "autumn" and should buy T-shirts in warm colors. You have a "spring" complexion if you have pale arms with golden undertones. Springs are considered their best in pale colors.

>> Special requirements for T-shirt sizing

Regardless of gender, you might require a specialized store. If you are a tall man shopping for T-shirts, consider men's big and tall clothing for tall men shirts, which are longer than those designed for people of average height. Specialized T-shirt lengths provide a wider range of options for people of all shapes and sizes.

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