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5 Tips to Finding High-Quality T-Shirts

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A high-quality t-shirt makes a world of difference. It fits in a way that empowers you with confidence. It feels super soft and thus gives you comfort. It holds down any outfit and enhances any look. It just upgrades everything, honestly. [This is pretty much the foundation of Fresh Clean Tees.]

But actually finding that high-quality t-shirt, whether it’s a crew neck t-shirt or a v-neck t-shirt, isn’t the easiest of tasks as it turns out. A lot of clothing brands hype what they don’t have. So how can you find a high-quality t-shirt (without your arms falling asleep from trying on every single t-shirt you come across)?

Well, it comes down to knowing what to look for and that goes beyond simply looking over the t-shirts in a squinted attempt to decipher if it is, in fact, high quality. Finding a high-quality t-shirt doesn’t have to be such a mystery. With the five tips below, you should be able to find what you’re prowling for and rock a finely fitted, super-soft, high-quality t-shirt in no time.

1. See if there’s a backstory.

If a t-shirt is crafted with high-quality material, the company will typically promote the fabric makeup, rather than treat it like an ingredient list on a condiment bottle. It’ll also talk about what went into the shirt’s quality manufacturing. These details suggest the team pays close attention to the t-shirt’s material and assembly — how it’s sourced, what goes into it, and how it’s processed.

With generic brands and low-quality t-shirts, the end result is often the entire presentation. The fact that the t-shirt exists is more or less the selling point. But there’s a backstory with high-quality apparel. For every high-quality t-shirt, there was a journey that required expertise, prowess, standards, and a discerning eye.

If you’re really looking for a high-quality t-shirt, you’re likely being selective and not simply browsing whatever store is closest to you. You’re making an effort to research and compare your findings. So you have plenty to work with online, as brands regularly offer up insight into their decision-making process, from production to supply chain.

This kind of information makes for competitive value props, differentiating quality brands from one another. So if a company isn’t readily offering that information up, it’s likely because it’s not something to write home about. High-quality brands are the ones making high-quality t-shirts, so if there’s little to no information about a t-shirt beyond the fact that it simply exists, then it’s likely not high quality.

2. Check the return policy.

If a company offers an easy, breezy policy for returns and exchanges, it’s banking on the quality of its product. The company’s team isn't expecting mass returns and exchanges. They anticipate that the vast majority of their customers will be delighted with their t-shirt’s fit and feel.

When it comes to high-quality t-shirts, a single sale isn’t the goal; the goal is a long-lasting relationship between customer and brand.

Even if you take great care of your clothes, a new high-quality t-shirt may always be on the horizon, whether the company’s offering a new style or you’re looking for a new outfit. You want to buy quality t-shirts from a quality company. You want a customer service team that knows how to ensure your post-purchase life remains simple and satisfactory.

So a return and exchange policy that doesn’t read like some 19th century multi-volume Russian novel typically means that the team heartily believes in what they’re selling. It means they care about the shopping experience and that they’re looking to cultivate a rich and long-term relationship with their customers.

Likewise, with an uncomplicated policy for returns and exchanges, a company is practically inviting you to try on those t-shirts at home. In fact, at Fresh Clean Tees, we outright suggest buying two t-shirts if you’re even somewhat on the fence about your proper size with us, so you can return the one that isn’t for you.

Although buying t-shirts online makes a lot of challenging aspects of shopping easier or outright disappear, you just can’t beat trying on clothes, no matter how good your imagination is. So, even if the company store is online and not in a brick-and-mortar shop, an easy, breezy policy for returns and exchanges ensures that you still get to keep the easiest way of finding a high-quality t-shirt, by actually trying it on.

3. Read the reviews.

To score a good idea of what an apparel company is really about and if its t-shirt is indeed high quality, you have to read the customer reviews.

This may seem like a lot at first. There may only be a few reviews, it could be hundreds, or it might be somewhere in the thousands. No matter the count, you really just need to read enough — enough to make sure it’s not just a handful of gushing reviews clearly written by the company itself and enough to gain a sense that the t-shirt delivers on its promises.

Given how honest and subjective customer reviews can be, you have to sort through the outliers and make the call yourself if it seems like the vast majority of reviewers are delighted. Some will prioritize fit, some will prioritize material, some will prioritize price, and some will prioritize customer service. It’s up to you to decide what lines up. But if it’s a bad shirt, the customers will absolutely, certainly let you know.

4. Consider if it’s their specialty.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it’s definitely worth weighing in your decision. A clothing company can make lots of great products. There’s nothing stopping them! But there’s hefty potential for a huge difference between a startup that focuses on t-shirts and a massive company that makes every kind of shirt, jacket, pants, and accessory under the sun. You want a brand that dedicates real energy to making a high-quality t-shirt.

Department stores suit shoppers who are looking for the most clothes, not necessarily the best clothes. When you’re looking for a high-quality t-shirt, you want the brand to be one that really focuses on t-shirts. The brand could certainly make more than just t-shirts, but t-shirts will stay in the foreground of branding efforts if they’re really top-notch.

5. Look at how the brand operates.

While there are so many apparel brands, there’s also so much information to help you make your decision. Buying a product means supporting a brand, and you naturally want to support brands that you agree with. See how the company carries itself. Quality begets quality.

So check out what goes into the brand as a whole. Evaluate how they carry themselves across their website and social channels. Are they after a quick buck? Are they independently owned? Do they believe in making sustainable t-shirts? Do they provide certifications? What are they about?

With this, you gain an idea of who’s wearing the brand as well. You learn what type of models are featured, which offers insight into who the brand sees wearing their t-shirts, and you ultimately come to understand what kind of customers typically support the brand.

High quality doesn’t come cheap, but it doesn’t have to be expensive either. It’s really just about knowing what to look for and evaluating what you discover. Doing the research, whether basic and preliminary or extensive and comprehensive, provides you with a much better idea of what brands are selling high-quality t-shirts.

A high-quality t-shirt is something to invest in, since it’s something that’ll last and it’s something that can upgrade your entire style game. One high-quality t-shirt eventually leads to a closet full of high-quality t-shirts.

Once you find a brand you like, stick with it. That way, you know you’re always buying quality.

— Jake Kilroy

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