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Types of T-shirts

T-shirts are also referenced at tees.

This is generally a short-sleeved casual top that is made of cotton jersey knit fabric and has the shape of the capital letter “T" when spread out flat.  This is a common description but does not tell the complete story.  A t-shirt can be of various shapes, fabrics, and sizes.  They can be manufactured to be loose fitting & boxy or tight fitting so that they are snug to the body.

While the T-shirt began as a plain undergarment, it has evolved to become a piece of clothing that can we worn as an outer garment.  They are designed as solids as well as fashion statements with various graphic illustrations or design work.  Taste may vary based on age or gender, but most people have multiple t-shirts in their wardrobe.  Our closets may contain solid color & graphic T-shirt designs.  Novelty t-shirts are popular for most ages and genders.  Designs can include funny tees, floral patterns, political humor, etc.  This type of shirt can be decorated with printing inks, embroidery, glitter, or other embellishments.

This type of garment has various fit options.  T-shirt fits for both men and women can vary or be similar.  The majority of men have historically preferred a fitted but still relatively loose T-shirt fit that is not particularly clingy or tight.  Many men also wear loose and baggy T-shirts.  Women's T-shirts can be specially designed with curved seams to fit a woman's body snugly to show off the natural curves of a women’s body.  They can also wear loose fitting t-shirts similar to the menswear counterpart.

A basic T-shirt or solid t-shirt generally refers to a t-shirt that is one solid color.  For example, solid white, black, red, blue, etc.)  A basic T-shirt can be found in any sleeve style and for any gender in various sizes.  This is a very popular item that is sold in large volume.

A graphic T-shirt is one that has an image printed onto the fabric. This is a very popular style for both men and women.  Often, images are screen printed.  For example, rock band t-shirts.  Graphically illustrated tees may also be referenced as novelty t-shirts.

Traditional t-shirts have short sleeves which go approximately half way down the wearer’s upper arm.  However, short sleeve is not the only variety of t-shirt.  The sleeve length can vary from no sleeve, short, three quarter sleeve, to long sleeve and everywhere in between.

All age groups and genders wear this type of garment. At most fashion retailers you can find men’s t-shirts, women’s t-shirts, kids tees (boy’s & girls). They are often sold in toddler sizes.

Fabric Categories: cotton jersey knit is the most common, but t-shirts can come in a wide variety of fiber or fabric construction.

T-shirts can be defined by the type of sleeve.  Here are a few examples:

Sleeveless – The sleeveless t-shirt style leaves the shoulders bare and has straps over the shoulders. These straps can vary from thin to almost covering the entire top of the shoulder.  For example a tank top.

Cap Sleeve Tees  - This sleeve covers the top of the shoulder but then does not extend around and under the arm.

Short sleeve t-shirts: this is the most common and traditional type of T-shirt sleeve. It covers about half of a person's upper arm, but this can vary slightly.

3/4 Sleeve T-shirts: This sleeve usually falls just below the elbow although the length can very slightly and may range from just above the wrist to just above the elbow.  A variation on the 3/4 sleeve is a dolman sleeve (or batwing sleeve), which is very loose and flowy at the upper arm but then becomes snug around the elbow.  

Long sleeve t-shirts: this type of t-shirt for both men and women obviously has a sleeve that extends all the way down the arm to the wrist.  These sleeves can end in a cuff that is tighter around the wrist, or they can have a loose open wrist.

Raglan Sleeve t-shirt: A raglan sleeve does not refer to a length of sleeve but rather the style of the sleeve. In this style, the sleeve is attached to the shirt on a diagonal instead of a straight up-and-down seam.  Often, this style uses different colors of fabric for the sleeve and the bodice to emphasize the lines. This distinctive look is also referenced at times as a baseball T-shirt because the style is used often for baseball uniforms.  Learn more about the Raglan Sleeve.

T-shirts can also be categorized by neckline shape.

The shape of a t-shirt's neckline has several variations. The type of neckline selected by a consumer is usually based on personal preference regarding comfort as well as sense of style.  For example, some people find a v-neck to be more comfortable than a crew night.  However, some people prefer to only wear the crew neck for various reasons.

The round neckline (crew neck) is the most traditional and probably still the most common T-shirt neckline. This type of neck shape allows the fabric to sit just under the base of the wearer's neck.  Because of the round shape is goes around the neck rather uniformly.  This makes it the most modest type of neckline because it does not drop down to expose any portion of the chest.   This is a very common style found in most wardrobes.

V-neck T-shirts form a pointed V at the neck. This gives the neck a little more space, and it also looks a little more stylized than the basic round neckline.  The depth of the V shape can vary by designer or brand.  They can create a revealing drop or a more modest version.  Selecting the v-neck depth is based on consumer preference and trends of the time.  Typically the men’s v-neck t-shirts have less options than the womenswear versions.

The scoop neckline is a wide and low rounded shape, often falling around or below the woman's clavicle.  Very exaggerated scoop necks can even extend the neckline to the edges of a woman's shoulders or down her back.  This type of t-shirt can be flattering or possibly create the opposite effect depending on the wearers body type.  Scoop neck t-shirts are primarily used on women's t-shirts.  However, they can obviously be worn by any gender if so inclined.

Ringer T-shirt (Ringer Tees) – a tee with a separate piece of fabric sewn on as the collar and sleeve hems.

Learn about different types of shirts.

T-shirts are massively important to the fashion industry.  They are used by fashion designers & brands to be sold in luxury stores and mass merchants.  They are also utilized by schools, sports clubs, and local businesses.  T-shirts are truly an important aspect of society.

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