How to Choose Fabric for Men’s T-Shirts

How to Choose Fabric for Men’s T-Shirts

T-shirts are tricky. It may look like the simplest outfit humans ever created: one piece, versatile uses and very much comfortable. However, how many times have you shopped for a t-shirt only to find out that it’s not that comfortable?

Maybe the material is too hot for you, or it makes you itchy because the surface is rather coarse, or maybe it just looks unflattering on you? Meanwhile, there is this one t-shirt that seems to make you comfortable as well as flattering  your body-line.You like it so much you wear it so often until it becomes too washed away.

Do you know what makes that one t-shirt and the others so different? The answer lies in the fabric that is used for making the t-shirt. There are many types of fabric and each type has different appearance, feel and uses.

Image: Pixabay

In this article, you will learn about those many types of fabric usually made for men’s t-shirt. You will learn how they differ with each other and in the end you will also be able to recognize which kind of fabric is most suitable for you. No more ‘wrong’ t-shirt in your closet.

The Fabric Weight of T-shirts

Fabric has weight and fabric determines the appearance and feel of an outfit. You determine the fabric weight by its gsm (gram per square meter). 1-150 gsm makes light weighted fabric, 150-350 gsm makes medium weight, and 350 gsm and upward makes heavy weight.

Of course, there is easier way to roughly determine fabric weight rather than actually weighing them for real. Simply look the fabric’s thickness. Thin fabric such as chiffon, organza or silk are light weight fabric. They are popular material for underwear and women’s wear.

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Medium weight fabric are thicker than those fabric. The example for this are velvet and cotton. These are the most common material for shirt, blouse and dress.

Heavy weight are thick fabric, such as wool felt, denim and twill. Usually, they are used for outerwear.
T-shirt fabric weight

Image: Pixabay

For men’s t-shirt, the best fabric weight is medium weight. If it is too light, the t-shirt may look slightly transparent and usually it outlines men’s nipples as well. If it is too heavy, it will be less comfortable as it is warmer than a t-shirt should be.

However, if you want the sheer color to be the t-shirt’s point, then choose the light weight fabric.

The Fabric Type of T-shirts

Fabric falls into two general category knit and woven. Knit fabric is made by looping and interlocking thread with each other. In the end result, when you look at the fabric closely, you will find the patterns look like tiny row of braids.

Woven fabric is made by crossing threads on each other in right angles. If you look closely at the fabric, you will find the tiny squares occupying the fabric surfaces.

For t-shirts, usually manufacturer and designer go for knit fabric. Knit fabric is more wrinkle resistant and elastic; therefore it offers more comfort than woven fabric.

Knit fabric itself comes in many different types. Some of the most popular types for t-shirt are below.


Jersey is stretchy with moderate elasticity. It is usually made from a mix of wool, cotton and synthetic fibres. It is the most popular choice for t-shirts. Jersey itself is categorized into four more categories: single jersey, double jersey, interlock jersey, jacquard jersey and clocqué jersey.

Among them, single jersey, double jersey and interlock jersey are the common type for t-shirts. Single jersey is lightweight. The back side and the front side of the fabric look different.

Double jersey is a lot like single jersey, except it has two layers instead of one, therefore it is thicker. Interlock jersey has the tightest knot of the threads, giving its appearance a very soft, firm and absorbent feel.

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Rib is even stretchier than jersey, because it has ‘rib’ on the surface. Even when the t-shirt is made of jersey, designer often adds rib band on the collar to prevent that particular area from losing the shape. Rib is available in various weights.

Double and Fleece

Double and fleece are another type of knit, however it is rarely used for t-shirt. Double knit has moderate leaning to heavy weight, and is more suitable for suit or pants. Meanwhile, fleece is mixed with polyester, making it durable and wrinkle-resistance, and more suitable for blankets and athletic apparels.

Image: Pixabay

The Fabric Mix of T-shirts

Usually, men like to see the label of 100% cotton. It sounds much more masculine rather than, say 100% spandex. However, it can’t get no further from the truth than that.

Fabric made from cotton mixed with other material can be more practical and more stylish. Below are several examples of other materials that are commonly used in t-shirts.

100% Cotton

It doesn’t mean that 100% cotton is not good. It’s still the material of choice for the basic white t-shirts because cotton is soft and cool to the skin. It’s breathable and doesn’t cling to your skin, therefore it is really cool and comfortable to wear during sunny days.

Cotton – Polyester Mix

100% cotton fabric is easy to crease. With a mix of a little polyester, the t-shirt’s tendency to crease will decrease. Also, you don’t have to worry about getting your t-shirt shrinking up after washing, because the polyester mix will not let that. However, polyester is not breathable and it can be a bit warm to wear.

Cotton – Spandex Mix or Cotton – Lycra Mix

The spandex or lycra in the mix will make the fabric more stretchy, that’s why it’s an ideal material for tight fitting t-shirt because it will hug your body nicely. However, don’t try to make a loose shirt with spandex or lycra mix, because the drape from the material will not make flattering figure.

Image: Pixabay

Cotton – Rayon Mix

Rayon is more known as viscose. This material is made from plants fiber, usually from tree and other woody part of the plants. The end result of this material will feel soft, silky in hand. However, viscose is known to wrinkle easily. It is also quite drapey or clings to your body, although not as heavy as spandex or lycra.

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Cotton – Bamboo Mix

This is another fiber mix. The material is made from, obviously; bamboo fiber – although usually the synthetic one from bamboo cellulose instead of from real bamboo fiber. It creates a very smooth fabric. It still looks good even without ironing and amazingly comfortable, but it is quite pricey.

The Fabric Color of T-shirts

Usually, black, white, grey, dark color and earthly colors are considered masculine – therefore they are more popular for men’s t-shirt. However, it’s by no mean a thumb rule.

In fact, men in pastel color t-shirt such as mint, peach, or baby blue can look fresh as well. In fact, light color will make you look friendly, excitable and approachable instead of gloomy and calm like darker color would.

However, always remember that there is no rule or restriction in color. Everybody has their own taste. If you think bright stabillo color matches your personality, then by all means choose them.

Image: Pixabay

The Prints of T-shirts

Just like in color, there is a belief that men’s t-shirt should be plain instead of wearing prints. This is not true at all. In fact, print can be the focal point of your overall appearance, and it can emphasize your personality according to the print you choose.

The common prints for men are stripes, chevron or plaid. However, you can choose any prints you want for more creativity in your appearance. Native print usually makes a great fashion statement.

With the information above, we hope you know what kind of fabric you should choose a men’s t-shirt. A T-shirt may be simple apparel, but with the right material and design, it can be the main item in your overall appearance, as well as an item that shows your personality and style. Choose the material that suits your personality, preference and function!

8 thoughts on “How to Choose Fabric for Men’s T-Shirts

  1. It got me when you said that a knit fabric is better when it comes to t-shirts because they are more elastic and wrinkle resistant, thus more comfy to wear. I will get this kind of shirt for my brother for his birthday. After all, he is a gamer, and I know how irritable he is when he is playing. He needs to wear something comfortable and easy to move around in.

  2. People mostly focus on women’s wear and their different styles. This blog is unique and impressive because we ignore men’s fashion and do not concentrate much on the material and style that suits men. Thanks for sharing this article. I will surely use these tips next time I shop for male friends or relatives

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