What's In A T-Shirt?

Imagine coming home from a long day at the office to change into the ultimate comfort item: an ultra-soft, flowy T-shirt. In the world of men's fashion, very few items are more essential than a basic, wearable tee. With so many choices for materials, how do you choose the best one? Here are some of the most common T-shirt materials:

Linen: This textured-weave material is made from a flax plant and is common for summer clothing due to its breathability. It's lightweight and dries quickly. Unfortunately, it can often wrinkle.

Polyester: This common fabric is a synthetic blend of acrylic, nylon, and acetate. Polyester maintains its shape without stretching, making it ideal for athletic wear. This material also dries quickly.

Lycra: Also known as Spandex, this material is often combined with others to add stretch and ease of movement. Lycra is found in athletic wear as well as shapewear.

Rayon: Fibers from trees, plants, and cotton are combined to produce this machine-made silk alternative. Known for being breathable and silky-soft, this material is also ideal for athletic wear. However, like linen, it is prone to wrinkles and is not necessarily environmentally friendly.

Cotton: Cotton is by far the most commonly used T-shirt fabric. Available in combed cotton, organic cotton, slub cotton, Pima cotton, and Supima cotton, this natural, renewable resource is an obvious choice for eco-conscious consumers. Out of all the varieties, Pima cotton has the highest quality due to its long fibers. It is also the most durable and resistant to fading, pilling, and stretching. Supima cotton is the variety of Pima grown in the US. Cotton boasts the additional benefit of being ideal for sensitive skin since it doesn't require chemicals. However, cotton is more expensive to produce, which raises the price for the consumer. It's also not as durable as synthetic fabrics and is prone to damage but can age better than synthetic textiles. 

Since cotton is the popular choice for a soft tee, here's another word on the stuff; a higher price tag doesn't mean a higher quality product. A claim of "100% cotton" doesn't necessarily mean high-quality cotton. A good rule of thumb is that a tighter weave will last longer than a looser weave. Feel the shirt for a firm, soft construction that doesn't wrinkle when crumpled.  These basic guidelines will help you choose the tee you'll want to reach for again and again.

Keep these different fabric options in mind when next looking for a men's ultra-soft flowy tee-shirt.