So you’ve been tasked with ordering the new onboarding shirts for new hires within your company. Your boss tells you he wants a blue polo shirt, emails you the logo, and tells you to have them embroidered. Easy enough, right? Sure, until we ask what color blue you want the shirts to be. Navy? Royal? Carolina Blue? You’d actually be surprised at how many blue’s live in the land of apparel, and even we don’t know who the heck came up with names for the insane number of shades of blue, so we’ll just stop there. Once we narrow down the color, we ask about fabric. Are you looking for a cotton, a cotton/poly blend, a performance polo (which by the way is just another term for a 100% polyester polo and not to be confused with a cotton/poly blend) and if you do want the blend, are you thinking 50/50 or maybe a 60/40? Confusing, right? And we haven’t even gotten to the decorating options yet…
With wearables taking up nearly 36% of the overall promotional products market space, it’s no surprise that the styles and fabrications within said styles are seemingly endless. Naturally, this means the decorating methods for wearables is just as vast, but we’ll break those for you next time. Not to worry, as we continue our (insert series name here) we’ll break down some of the common terms you’ll see when going through the process of choosing the right apparel for all of your branded merchandise. We want you to feel more confident with what you’re getting from us every time, and we’ll turn you into an apparel branding expert in no time. Your boss can thank us later.
ACTIVEWEAR – Clothing designed to be worn for sports, exercise, and outdoor activities, although today activewear has become an every day trend, often referred to as athleisure. In the retail world, think Lululemon, Fabletics, Alo Yoga… the list goes on.
BUCKRAM – Liner which adds support to the front of a hat (aka cap). Structured hats that are harder and more sturdy in the front have a buckram liner.
CHAMBRAY – Not to be confused with a denim shirt, chambray is an alternative fabric typically in a dress shirt style, although it’s lighter weight, has a softer feel, and is typically only found in light blue or grey in color.
DRESS SHIRT – You might hear us refer to this as a woven, button-up or button-down shirt, but either way dress shirts are (usually) long sleeve shirts with a collar and a full-length front opening that buttons from top to bottom.
GARMENT WASH – Process of washing garments after they have been assembled, which helps with softness as well as pre-shrinking, so they don’t shrink nearly as much (if at all) when you wash them yourself.
HAND – Not to be confused with what you use to give high fives, hand refers to the feel of fabrics perceived by sense of touch, i.e. softness, stiffness, scratchiness, etc. Don’t worry, we would never put you in anything stiff or scratchy.
HENLEY – A shirt with a buttoned placket at the neckline with no collar. Basically, a henley is a tee shirt with a few buttons below the neck.
INTERLOCK – Referring to the way the fabrics are woven together, interlock gives you the same feel and touch on the inside of the shirt as well as the outside. It is the tightest weave, giving interlock apparel the smoothest surface and the finest hand.
MICROFIBER – Made of a super fine polyester and typically only found in outerwear, microfiber fabric is durable, water-repellent, windproof, and retains its color and resilience while having a buttery soft hand.
OMBRE – Design that has graduations in color, usually shadings of a single color family. We’re not sure if ombre became a trend when girls everywhere started dying their hair to fade from dark to light, but it sure makes for some awesome apparel options, so we approve.
OUTERWEAR – Just as you’d think, outerwear consists of jackets, jackets and more jackets. Did we mention jackets?
PIGMENT DYED – A dye used to give the garment a faded, worn-in look. Because old is the new new.
PIQUE – A type of fabric that has a somewhat textured, but course feel to it. Pique is old school – help us help you get you into something that looks cooler and is much softer against your body.
POLO SHIRT – Commonly referred to as a golf shirts, polo shirts have a collar and placket with two or three buttons, are usually short sleeve, and sometimes have a chest pocket.
POLYESTER – A fabric that’s versatile in weights and textures, mostly seen in polos and tees. Commonly referred to as performance fabric, polyester resists wrinkling, won’t shrink, and has incredible shape and color retention.
TEE SHIRTS – We think it’s safe to say everyone knows what a tee shirt is, but what everybody doesn’t know is that tee shirts are in a category of their own. Stay tuned for a future edition of our (insert series name here) where we take you through the world of tee shirts and why they’re the number one walking billboard for your brand.
TWILL – Twill weaves are used to produce a strong, durable firm fabric, really only used in dress shirts.
Stay tuned for more of our education series, where we’ll take deep dives into the various art files and coloring systems mentioned, as well as decorating methods, apparel fabrics, and so much more as our capabilities to amplify your image continue to evolve.
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