There is a lot involved when it comes to buying shirts. The easy part is deciding upon whether your shirt is long sleeve or short sleeve, or whether it is anything from a cheap t shirt to a quality formal tuxedo banded collar or button down dress shirt. Do I save money with cotton fabric or desire convenience with easy care - low maintenance polyester blend? How do I determine if the shirt is the right fit? If the shirts are for your staff or family, does the brand offer youth, men's and women's companion styles? Do I go into a store and try the shirt on or use the website's online size and color charts? Then there is a matter of time. How quickly do you need to have this shirt? Can you save money and have greater choices by buying online? Do I need a custom screen printed logo, or an embroidered monogram or business logo embroidery service?
For most the other part of the purchase puzzle is price. How much credit or cash do you have for this effort?
That being said, the smart money has a lot to do with the total cost of owning shirts. As a certified purchasing manager and buyer for both JCPenney and a catalog retail chain, I offer some advice that does impact just how well spent your money will be on that shirt purchase.
True to Size Apparel was the only clothing company to exhibit at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Attendees and exhibitors alike would pass our booth and ask us how we were ever let into the show, considering that none of our items for sale used electricity or software. LOL.
My answer was that there is a lot of technology built into a lot of the fabrics our clothing is made from. Staying with the shirt topic, your choice of fabric will impact how comfortable the shirt feels on your skin. That fabric may wick moisture, keep you warm, save you time and money by requiring less ironing or washing and may last longer so that you do not need to replace it so frequently.
For the serious buyer I would recommend our 23-page Apparel Dictionary, sold on Amazon.com and given away on our TruetoSizeApparel.com shopping cart. If you have ever looked with confusion at the ingredient label on food packages and then on apparel, most of what is featured is not easily understood without that dictionary. You can shop for fabric and garment features, then compare garments for the right price for the right shirt. For example, most clothing buyers do not realize that there is such as thing as brushed cotton, a fabric that is brushed to remove all excess lint and fibers from the fabric, leaving an ultra soft, smooth finish.
For everyone else who chooses not to devote so much time into the purchase of a shirt, we shall stay with a short cut to buying.
Most people like the feel of cotton and many businesses such as financial institutions insist upon their staff wearing cotton shirts at work. Egyptian cotton is considered the best cotton in the world and is grown in Egypt's Nile River Valley. I used to buy custom made dress shirts using this fabric, and Egyptian cotton is found in high-end towels and linens.
Polyester is great for shirts when you want to reduce maintenance and is known as easy care. You spend less time ironing and drying this fabric as polyester does not absorb water. Polyester is also great for allowing moisture generated by your body (known as sweat or perspiration) to escape through the weave and not be trapped. Cotton fiber will swell when it is wet and trap both body odor and sweat.
As a business person and owner, I know that an employee works with a better temper and will not be tired so quickly, if that worker is not uncomfortable in their environment where temperature is a factor. You can get increased productivity at work where the temperature is not controlled if the fabric is a polyester.
As to how to buy a shirt to fit, you must ask if you want a fitted or loose shirt? Spandex fabric is great in a blended shirt fabric to show off a girl's curves or everyone's abs. Loose fits are best for those who do a lot of moving, stretching, bending and do not want to be confined by their top. When selecting for fit, the retail stores have changing rooms to get that fit before you pay. I learned the hard way that if one shirt fits when you try it on, and you buy several of the same packages with the same size marked, that the fit is very likely to not be the same. There is no such thing as true to size and that is very apparent when you open a package of t-shirts or briefs. Pick up a name brand package and compare the edges to see that they are all slightly different, even though the package says they are identical!
When buying shirts online, depend upon the measurements chart more so than just selecting a size. Pull a shirt from your closet and get a tape measure, then compare the website's size chart measurements to your favorite shirt to get an approximate size. Unless our wife or mom is still buying our shirts, we have learned that a size small in one brand may have the same fit as a size medium in another. When asked if a size runs big or small, there is no easy answer as the comparison can only be made between what you own and what you are thinking of buying.
There is a lot to consider when spending your hard earned money, as you thread the needle in deciding what your needs and wants. You may consider our cheap prices on screen printing or embroidery of your custom logo, it would look so good on you.