A t-shirt has always been a wardrobe staple. T-shirts are indispensable for staying fresh during workouts, feeling comfy at home, and, of course, since recently t-shirts are also a fashion statement. Smart casual means rocking a premium quality tee with a sport coat or even pairing one with a sharp suit; street style epitome is a plain white tee to let sneakers and accessories shine. In short, everyone seems to be elevating their t-shirt game. And so, we will be looking into which are the best t-shirt brands to sell your own designs and which styles are doing great!
If decades ago, I’d told you a t-shirt was about to become the ultimate wardrobe statement, you’d call me nuts. T-shirts used to be the uniform of rebels, representing everything they stand against: the white-collar corporate world. But today, the role of a t-shirt has changed for good.
The best modern t-shirts are made of premium materials that keep you comfortable all day, with flattering, trendy fits and features labels, pockets, rips & tears, you name it. If you want to feel like a million bucks, all it takes is a high-quality t-shirt, a pair of perfect jeans, and cool sneakers.
What are the Best T-Shirt Brands?
Bella+Canvas 3001 and Gildan 5000 are the print on demand staples. As a new merchant, you can’t go wrong with picking these brands for your print-on-demand business. And speaking of which, I’m working with Printify, one of the most prominent players of the print on demand drop shipping game. And if there’s something we here at Printify know, it’s t-shirts, for we sell thousands upon thousands of custom tees every month.
As I said, Bella+Canvas and Gildan are the most popular t-shirts in the world. In fact, 80% of the volume sold at Printify is made up of Bella+Canvas 3001 and Gildan 5000, as well as Gildan 18000.
Then there are other blank t-shirt suppliers, such as Next Level Apparel. It’s smaller, but also a good quality premium fit tees. Of course, I can’t not mention my own personal favorite, the Champion t-shirt, which has exceeded all my expectations regarding custom t-shirts. You can read more about Champion tee in my work buddy Riley’s article here. In short, I love having a custom t-shirt with my artwork on it but still sporting the Champion logo on the sleeve, which stands for quality and comfort above everything else.
Go Green or Go Home
Printify is also notable for including sustainable items in the catalog. Phone cases, travel mugs, and, yes, organic cotton t-shirts. I particularly would like to highlight Stanley Stella organic cotton shirts that slowly but surely are conquering our merchants’ online storefronts because there’s barely anything as trendy (and important!) as going green wherever possible. Stanley Stella’s mission has always been to create high-quality garments most responsibly and ethically. They work hand in hand with their suppliers to source only the best materials, grown or produced as to not harm people, animals, or the environment. Their t-shirts are 100% GOTS certified organic cotton from India.
But now, let’s take a closer look at the #1 selling t-shirt, Bella+Canvas 3001.
Why is Model 3001 the Best-Selling T-Shirt in the World?
If you’re a proud owner of a Bella+Canvas 3001, you probably already know the answer to this question. But if you haven’t, you might be wondering what all that fuss about is. So here are 5 reasons why it is the number one t-shirt in the world:
First of all, it’s the material. In 3001, they use a material that’s called Airlume cotton. It’s the highest quality combed and ring-spun cotton you can get. Clean cotton, long-staple fibers, and an eco-friendly dying process are what make this cotton different from other fabrics on the market.
The second thing is the fit. Upon buying a t-shirt, you always want to check the side seam because side-seemed t-shirts are the most flattering to the human body.
Originally, 3001 comes in 95 different colors, which is an insane amount. With Printify, based on the print provider you choose, it comes from 1 to 53 base colors to choose from. In my opinion, black, white, plus five base colors are more than enough as sometimes customers might get overwhelmed upon seeing 24+ different color options. So black, white, and grey, plus a couple of additional neutral colors, should suffice.
Fact: According to a study conducted in 2000, it’s more sensible to offer fewer color options, as the customers are more likely to make a purchase when offered a limited number of choices.
Black and white, of course, are the dominant colors. It’s a classic choice that will never go out of style. Regarding the other neutral colors, what our printing partners and manufacturers stock up most with are:
- Dark Grey Heather
- Athletic Heather
- Navy/Heather Navy
- Sport Grey/Grey
- Soft Pink
These options work well with all demographics.
Made in USA
If the facts above are not enough to sway you, let me tell you this: Bella+Canvas 3001 tee is made in Los Angeles, Ca. And for me, it’s always a selling point to know my apparel is made in the USA since it almost always means top-notch quality. So 3001 are made in LA, including dyeing and cutting. They also have partners in Central America, who helps them out.
The 3001 is awesome for just about any decoration technique, but especially direct-to-garment (DTG) because the tee’s surface is smooth. They also use high energy dyes, which are resistant to discoloration and won’t fade even after many wash cycles. However, they do not overdye our fabric, making both solids and heathers great candidates for discharge printing.
Here’s a bonus reason: the price. Depending on the print provider you choose, the 3001 starts from $6.76 (or even less, if you’re a Printify Premium subscriber). People at Bella+Canvas call the 3001 their ‘gateway shirt,’ and I agree. This price point lets you experiment a lot and see what works and what doesn’t.
Let’s Talk Gildan 5000
Gildan shirts are known for their soft texture and comfort, which is why our customers have chosen Gildan as the second most popular t-shirt brand. Gildan 5000 heavy cotton t-shirt offers the classic cotton look and feel. It’s casual yet elegant and finds a place in nearly every wardrobe. With the 5000 model, you’re getting a comfy, breathable, printable shirt. The 5.3 ounces make it heavy enough to feel like a high-quality fabric while being light enough to breathe and feel comfy no matter what you do. The tear-away label is also a lovely added bonus to stop your neck from itching.
Gildan shirts are perfect for any weather and activity, from summer heat to winter chills, from lounging to jogging in the park.
In the Printify catalog, Gildan shirts come from 5 to 49 colors, but the same rule as with Bella+Canvas applies: less is more. There’s no need to overwhelm your customers with twenty shades of red and blue.
Just like with Bella+Canvas 3001, Gildan 5000 is a relatively cheap shirt, with a price starting from $6.80, which, again, lets you experiment a lot, order a lot of samples to see if the end product matches or exceeds your expectations.
So Who Wins?
Between these two best selling t-shirts, the winner quality wise is definitely the Bella+Canvas 3001. The 3001 is super smooth cotton, and the weave of the fabric is a tighter knit which provides a flatter printing surface. This makes for sharper lines and vivid print. Out of all Printify’s best-selling shirts, 3001 has the most luxurious, high-end feel.
The Gildan 5000, on the other hand, is a real bang for your buck. It’s perfect for workwear and promo t-shirts. Because it’s a looser weave and more rigid fiber, your print will not ‘pop’ as much as with B+C 3001. I don’t mind the dimmer print, in fact, some of the band t-shirts that I’ve acquired over the years are Gildan 5000, and after each wash, they gain that nice vintage feel. If you design band t-shirts, this is a fantastic option, as the 5000 model lets you create a higher profit margin and benefit during times your band can’t tour like it’s right now.
When choosing which t-shirt brand to add to your online store, it’s worth thinking about your demographics, the artwork you’re thinking of printing, etc. Bella+Canvas 3001 will look lovely even under a suit, whereas Gildan 5000 will look better with jeans, as it is a more casual style. That’s why it’s always important to sample your goods before offering them to your customers. On each shirt, the design will look differently, will wash differently, will wear, and fit differently. But with the right artwork, the right technique for the specific blank tee, you can create someone’s wardrobe staple even with the cheapest shirt on the market.
Loved this? You might also be interested in our Best Dropshipping Websites for Your T-Shirt Business 2020 or our Best Print-on-Demand Websites: The Definitive 2020 Guide.
Best T-Shirt Brands & Styles for Your POD Business
Read which are the best t-shirt brands to sell tons of designs for your business. We reviewed the most selling t-shirt brands and styles and why they are so popular!Design a T-Shirt Now!