1. Consider the Type of Material and Fabric
Take the extra mile to choose 100% cotton fabric without any fabric blends such as polyester. Natural fabric fibers such as cotton are durable, easy to care for, and allows your skin to breathe.
Ring-spun cotton is softer and more comfortable than normal cotton, as are Egyptian cotton and Sea Island cotton. It is heavily advisable to avoid polyester in your shirts. This is because when the fabric shrinks, stretches or thins (which is a given), the polyester will keep its shape as the other material changes form, so your shirt will end up oddly proportioned with some parts tighter than others.
Choose a quality cotton t-shirt. This often comes down to the thread weight that the t-shirt is made from. The higher the thread weight number, the finer, softer, thinner it will be. For men, a 30/s shirt is considered to be a premium quality, fine, soft shirt. For women, a 30/s or 40/s is very common for the premium shirt manufacturers to use. At Twisted Thread our T-Shirt Range uses 100% combed cotton for a super soft feel and a high quality 30 singles thread weight.
2. Check the Size & Measurements
Comfort should be the leading factor in choosing the right sized shirt. It is inevitable that shirts will stretch over time, so select a size that is a slim fit or that is on the small side, not the large side. This allows for a good fit later after a few washes or so.
Avoid misjudging your size and buy shirts that are too big or too small. The easiest solution for this would be to try on the shirt before purchasing it, which is difficult when it comes to online shopping. Most online stores provide size chart comparisons between countries or list out body measurements in accordance with their product sizes. For example, see our Twisted Thread Sizing Guide.
3. Check The Overall Fit
T-shirt 'Fit' and 'Size' are different. You should always be familiar with your body proportions and body type in order to ensure the style and design of the shirt suits you. For example, some people may have a longer waist and would want to opt for longer hemmed shirts.
Shirts usually have labels that describe the fit or type of design. The terminology or naming of the type of fits may differ according to brands, but a basic guideline would be:
- Slim Fit (for those who are petite, this fit is a tailored cut that curves at the waist and is common choice for female buyers)
- Regular Fit (a basic design that fits most people)
- Big/Tall (for those who are taller than six feet)
4. Look at the Stitching and Seams
Always inspect the essential areas such as the collars, sleeves, and hems for loose threads or stitching. Don't skimp out here, it's worth paying for quality, after all, the stitching and seams are what keeps a shirt together.
Inspect the seams, start by running down the side of the shirt, along with the top of the shoulders and around the sleeves. Shirts of good quality usually only have one line of stitching, but some shirts such our Twisted Thread shirts, go the extra mile and have two.
Additional factors to look for would be:
- Loose zipper stitching, if the shirt has a zipper. Make sure that there isn’t any or you will find difficulty in zipping up or the zipper may come loose. Also, make sure that the zipper lies flat and moves smoothly.
- Check the pockets for loose stitching and holes. Give the pocket a light tug upon inspection will make sure it is durable and won’t tear easily as some manufacturers use leftover and lesser quality cloth to make pockets.
- Inspect the sewing on the buttons to make sure the button is tightly secured (if your desired shirt has buttons). Always ensure that the shirt comes with an extra button (usually sewn into the inner seam of the shirt).
- Examine the button holes, an essential inspection point if the shirt has buttons. You want to ensure that the button fits well and that the fitting is neither too loose nor too tight.
5. More than just a Label
The label/tag is incredibly important, this is usually located on the inner back of the collar of the shirt. We advise to always check the label on the shirt for the dos and don’ts when it comes to shirt care.
The t-shirt label material is an important comfort factor. Bad quality shirts will use laser-cut labels that are itchy and scratches the skin. We know you'll feel uncomfortable with constant irritation on the back of your neck, so we advise from personal experience to go for shirts that have woven-edged labels or labels that are printed on the fabric itself.
6. Know your T-Shirt Colours and Prints
Everyone’s fashion sense differs and while solid colours are a common option for tees, patterns and designs are recently an up-and-coming style of this era. Almost any visual design such as patterns, writings or pictures can be printed onto a shirt, provided the material allows for it.
Better fabric allows for more colourful and clearer designs in addition to the designs lasting longer. Patterns and designs are dependable on the material type and quality. There are also embroidered shirts that may be more expensive, but more durable than prints. No matter if the t-shirt is a solid colour or not, the quality of thread will dictate the clarity and longevity of the printed design.
Ensure that the prints are not cracked or peeling as they will not last long and indicate a bad quality shirt. Ensure that patterns line up at the seams to avoid abstract-looking shirts (unless that’s what you’re partial to!). If you opt for the embroidered shirts, thoroughly check the stitching so nothing comes loose and falls out.
7. Think about Brand Quality & Pricing
Keeping up with the latest brands can be expensive. Brands that are well-known and popular are generally reliable and have quality control measures in place, however, this can ramp the price up E.g. Stussy, Levi’s, Nike and Adidas. Prices range according to the brand, so be aware of your budget when shopping! Consider brands like Twisted Thread that offer quality but without passing on additional costs to consumers.