Your Guide to Promotional Shirts

  • Jun 20, 2024

If you've ever run a 5k or attended a basketball game, chances are you've got a promotional shirt in your drawers somewhere. According to PPAI's 2019 Consumer Study, wearables are the #1 most popular promotional product category. However when it comes to wearables, there's an abundance of options that can make it daunting to choose the right item for your brand. With this guide, you’ll be one step closer to choosing the perfect promo apparel.


Tee ShirtThe t-shirt is probably the most popular promotional wearable of all. From restaurant uniforms to charity event giveaways, these items are the perfect fit for hundreds of applications. Since the t-shirt is defined by its shape - a T made with the arms and body - the main differences between tees come down to materials.

Cotton is the most common material to find in a t-shirt. It's soft, affordable, and breathable for casual wear. The one drawback with cotton tees is that they tend to shrink after the first time they're washed. This can be avoided by choosing a pre-shrunk cotton tee.

Polyester is a man-made synthetic fiber commonly used for sports and performance tees. It is quick-drying, breathable, and wrinkle-resistant. While polyester is a great choice for activewear, it is generally not as soft or comfortable as natural materials.

Poly-cotton blends are usually a 50/50 blend of polyester and cotton fibers. These tees combine the best qualities of both materials into a breathable and soft shirt. Poly-cotton blend tees also tend to be very budget-friendly and generally less expensive than a 100% cotton shirt.

Polo Shirts

Polo ShirtLike tees, polo shirts are a classic silhouette. Polos are commonly used for company uniforms and events that call for something a little less casual than a t-shirt. These shirts come in two main styles that are based on the materials they're made of. Performance polos are made of polyester or a poly-cotton blend and are designed to be moisture-wicking and fast drying for optimal comfort in active situations. Classic polo shirts are generally made of cotton or a blend. Both styles are available in short and long sleeve lengths.

Button-Up Shirts

Button Up ShirtDid you know that there's a difference between a button-up shirt and a button-down shirt? Similar to how all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares, all button-down shirts are button-ups, but not all button-ups are button-downs. A button-up shirt is any shirt that is closed with a row of buttons on the front. Button-down specifically refers to shirts where there are two buttons to fasten the collar to the shirt itself.

The main differences in the styles of button-ups come down to formality. On the least formal end of the spectrum, you have button-ups with double pockets on the front and softer, unstructured collars. In the middle, there are business shirts with stiffer collars and cuffs often made from a thinner cotton twill or poplin weave. On the dressier end of the spectrum are dress shirts. They are the thinnest of the button-ups because they are designed to be worn underneath suits. They have stiff collars and may also have collar stays, which are plastic or metal pieces inserted into the collar to keep it stiff.

Now that you've got the basics down, you're ready to choose the perfect wearable for your brand. No matter what kind of promotional apparel you're looking for, we have hundreds of styles available to suit your needs! Contact us today to learn more.

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