Blog, Industry Tips, Marketing, Promotional Products, T-Shirts

The Ultimate Plain White T-shirt Guide


A quick history of the White t-shirt

The t-shirt started as underwear for sailors back in the 1800’s. Then in the early XXth century it was adopted by the working class due to its comfort, but it wasn’t until the 50’s that the t-shirt was considered as a valid option for everyday wear to the masses.

plain-white-t-shirtThe White t-shirt in Pop Culture

Many were the women (and some men) who swooned when Marlon Brando graced the silver screen in A Streetcar named Desire wearing nothing but a tight white t-shirt and a pair of fitted jeans. This wasn’t just an example of how a well measured costume (and rippling muscles) can stimulate the most primitive part of the brain for years (decades!) after, but also how good a person can look in casual wear.

James Dean in “Rebel without a cause”

The next rendition came with James Dean in Rebel without a cause. The similarity of the outfits wasn’t a coincidence it was a reflection of an America that was leaving World War II behind and was on its way to become the most prosperous country on earth, and therefore more comfortable.

How do you find the perfect plain white t-shirt?

Some people would argue that to spend time looking for the “perfect” white t-shirt is a waste of time since eventually you’ll end up ruining it by pouring wine or coffee over it. Unless you’re naturally prone to accidents during the mealtime, I don’t think that looking for that t-shirt you really like is a total waste of resources. If you take care of it, a good quality tee can last up to years.


Most t-shirts nowadays are cotton, polyester, or either a mixture of both. Usually speaking, the more cotton they have then the more expensive the end product will be. That is because cotton is a natural fabric that breathes much better and is more conformable than polyester and therefore more sought after.


Clothes that are more carefully produced have more stitches than those that aren’t. The more stitches a garment has then the more expensive it will be not only because it takes longer to produce, but also because it will last


Different brands use different methods which may result (as strange as it may sound) in different shades of white. Of course one may never find that out on the shop. The only way to tell is to compare different t-shirts from various brands next to each other in a place with a natural light.


You’re the only one who can find the perfect fit that works for your body and the only way to do this is to try on different brands.


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

Related Posts