The classic tee-shirt is an icon of a casual clothing design – and we’ve got a huge range for you to choose from. Whether you’re looking for something stylish to wear in the skate park or on the mean streets of the city, or a more technical tee that can turn its hand to sporting pursuits, read on to find out more about the different types of tee-shirts available and which one might be right for you.
The main consideration when buying a tee-shirt is whether it is purely for casual wear, or if you want to wear it when running or riding. In the case of the former, it’s completely down to you, your style and your favoured brands, but it is worth noting that a good-quality cotton tee will be be more durable than a cheap alternative, with colourfast dyes that stay bright wash after wash, a tight weave that will hold its shape, screen-printed graphics that won’t disintegrate in your washing machine and cotton fibres finished to a superior standard. Meanwhile if you are going to be racing or training in your tee – or want to wear it on sunny days in the skate park or a warm afternoon jog – you might want to consider technical fabrics with the ability to draw moisture away from your skin (wicking).
• Materials: Most casual tees are made from 100% cotton, which is soft and comfortable close to the skin and doesn’t require much in the way of specialised care. Technical tees, on the other hand, may be made from synthetic materials such as polyester which have much better wicking properties than cotton so moisture can evaporate. Some tees may be made from a blend of both – ‘polycotton’ – for a balance between comfort and technical performance.
• Cotton weight: When browsing cotton tees you might notice the term ‘GSM’ (grams per square metre), which is a measurement of the density/weight of the fabric. Most quality mid-weight tees will typically clock in at around 180-190 GSM but you might want to consider something lighter for summer wear or heavier for cooler conditions. GSM is not, however, a measure of the overall quality of the cotton, as this depends on multiple other factors including the finish of the fibres, but it will give you a rough idea of how thick the fabric is before you buy.
• Casual or sports?: As above, cotton is not generally the best choice if you want to play sports in your tee. It absorbs moisture rather than allowing it to evaporate, meaning cotton tees that get soaked (from rain or sweat) stay soaked, and quickly get cold, heavy and clammy. Also – sweaty cotton stinks. A lot. If you’re going to work up a sweat in your tee, get a technical fabric.
• Cut and collar: The classic ‘crew cut’ round neck is typical of most casual and technical tees, but the button-and-collar polo neck is also an option. For technical tees, look for flatlocked seams to prevent chafing and irritation.
• Sleeves: Long, short or none at all? It’s up to you (and the weather).
• Graphics: Want to make a statement with your tee, or just advertise your favourite brands? Quality screen-printed graphics will make sure your message is heard loud and clear.
The classic, 100% cotton crew-cut tee for off-bike wear.
Synthetic fabrics with improved moisture management – for when you want to work up a sweat.
The sleeveless, summer option for when life’s a breeze. Look for a lightweight, low-GSM cotton.
Cut to shape the female form.