To the T: Paying for Fashion

The most popular article of clothing to customize is the t-shirt. T-shirts became a global style icon many years ago, and they still work in just about any scene. For comfort and versatility, they can’t be beat. Whether it’s hanging out on the beach or partying all night, a t-shirt fits the bill. For this reason, t-shirt customization for frats, sororities, or just for personal style has become a hot business. That said, one of the biggest issues about t-shirts is how much they should cost, and whether it’s better to buy shirts out of more expensive material, or to go for cheaper. The following presents the pros and cons of each side in the argument:

Michigan T-Shirts by juplife, on Flickr

Cheap Customization:

  • Pros:Whether selling in-bulk to stores or directly to individuals, mass production saves money. So while going bottom-of-the-barrel cheap is never a good idea, it make all kinds of sense to go with a lower priced material when producing large quantities of shirts for groups like sororities and frats. Also, designs that contain multi-colors do better in production if mixed with less expensive, sturdier blends. And lower cost materials hold up when washed repeatedly on gentle cycles, so design peeling doesn’t happen. They have a good reputation for durability, so getting rid of recurring party stains won’t cause problems, plus they retain the shape, important factors for hip partiers.
  • Cons:Sometimes, less expensive materials cause allergic reactions. Also, if going super cheap, these styles might make a person look heavier, because of thicker and coarser material. Since no one wants to look dumpy, it’s important to focus on the cut.

Expensive Customization:

  • Pros:More expensive materials create sexy t-shirts that can be worn any time, and that set off other clothes, like mini skirts or leather jackets. They caress the body in a way that highlights curves or muscles, depending on who’s wearing it. In addition, high-quality material feels luxurious next to the skin. Expensive t-shirt material gets a person noticed for caring about luxury and feeling good. It’s important to remember that the material makes as much of a statement as any customization.
  • Cons:Designs with multiple colors tend to break down expensive materials, so using less color in the design works better. That means the shirt might not be an immediate eye-catcher. And more expensive materials might not handle multiple washings well, even on a gentle cycle.

In-Store Criteria

Buying t-shirts in person means not falling for all the hype. No matter what designer or graphic is on the label, take a close look at the stitching. Make sure the sleeves are even, and that the hem isn’t sweatshop- lopsided. Often, the price isn’t indicative of the material, especially when t-shirts are mass produced without a personal touch. Buying cheaper, pre-packaged t-shirts in the men’s section work just as well. Women can buy sizes made for smaller men for a hot, fitted look.

When it comes to t-shirts, there are lots of options for looking good. It could even turn out that more than one option works better. It all depends, but one thing’s for sure: t-shirts will always be a global fashion icon.

Stephanie Chin is a style-savvy freelance blogger. Interested in all things fashion, Stephanie recommends for stylish, customizable t-shirts.

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