There's a bit of a double-standard when it comes to gendered clothing. Pretty much anything a man can wear, a woman can wear, too (and often look better). However, female-specific clothing on men tends to be more noticeable.
As a result, men's clothing is effectively unisex whereas women's clothing is their own.
When it comes to custom apparel, choosing a unisex option often makes the most sense -- after all, it serves 100% of the population instead of just half of it. However, there are still plenty of great reasons to go with women's shirts.
Unisex vs women's shirts - do the differences matter for clothing customization?
While unisex custom tees are a popular choice because the styles work across all genders, the option doesn't make as much sense when you're ordering exclusively for women (since it's a usually more flattering look).
The biggest differences between unisex and women's shirts tend to be readily apparent.
For example, women's styles are more likely to feature plunging necklines, so a v-neck would drop a lot further.
Another feature is shorter sleeves. While there may not be agreement over how the shorter-sleeve trend started, nowadays it's associated with more feminine t-shirt styles.
Women's styles also tend to feature a tapered look, making them a bit more form-fitting. (Seen above is Sport-Tek's LST360, available in 8 colors.)
6 tips when buying custom women's t-shirts
#1 - Double-check the size on custom women's tees because the fit can vary
Most women have a pretty good idea what size clothing fits them. In fact, some are absolutely certain of it... and that's where they can get into trouble.
The sizing of custom women's t-shirts can vary based on the company, brand, style, etc. In many cases, women's sizes are smaller when it comes to custom t-shirts.
First, always check the sizing chart. If you do just one thing, always check the sizing chart. Always. Even if you're confident that you know your size because you've been the same size for years and everything you usually buy in that size fits you perfectly, you're going to want to check it -- in fact, you may especially want to check it. Always.
Otherwise, you might get an order where everything is way, way too small.
The sizing chart is usually at the bottom-right-hand corner of the screen. It takes maybe a minute or two to check, but it can save spare you some major headaches.
Second, when in doubt, buy a sample. If you're really worried that a shirt might not be the right fit, you always have the option to order a generic printed sample. This is also a good way to make sure the ink color works with the garment color.
Ordering a sample might cost you a few bucks, but it can save you from making an expensive mistake.
The "Buy Sample" button is at the bottom right of a product page (right below that size chart you should always check). As you'll notice, the price for a generic printed sample is listed under the price-per-quantity. In this case, ten bucks could help you avoid a $180+ error.
Finally -- and most importantly -- never just guess. Not only is there no reason to guess, but you're turning ordering shirts into an unnecessary gamble.
#2 - Choose a shirt style
While short-sleeve t-shirts tend to be the go-to option for custom tees, there are a LOT of other choices (across multiple categories). And, depending on the use, some may be much better than others.
A long-sleeved t-shirt works in many of the same settings, but it's going to be a little warmer. Some women might prefer a long-sleeved shirt if they get cold in air-conditioned environments (like an office) or because they like the look.
One potential downside with long sleeves is arm length can vary so, where a short-sleeved t-shirt will fit all women, there's always a chance a long-sleeve could be uncomfortable.
Polo's make great work uniforms. If you're outfitting employees for your small business, these will be among your best options. An embroidered logo on a polo is a tasteful decoration that makes employees identifiable while giving them a professional appearance (to hopefully go along with their professional demeanor).
Women's tank tops offer a lot more variety than men's. Some are close to their masculine counterparts (as seen above) where the only real difference is the arm holes tend to be further up (since otherwise a woman's bra may show) and maybe the neckline has more of a plunge.
Other tanks might feature thinner shoulder straps, a race-back, a thin strap for a back, tapering for a closer fit, and more.
In short, it's a HUGE selection. (Meanwhile, men just get a few very basic styles -- is that fair?)
Of course, tanks aren't for everyone. You may want to customize a sleeved performance shirt instead. After all, while a tank top is fine for a personal workout, it'd look odd if used as a team uniform.
If you're looking for performance tees, Sport-Tek is among the top athletic brands. Be sure to checkout our full selection of moisture-wicking shirts.
The final major option is a button-up (or dress) shirt. These are more geared towards professional wear, such as uniforms.
Port Authority has a great ladies button-up shirt (LW102; available in 5 colors). It's made with a stain-resistant poplin fabric.
#3 - Consider the various parts of the style (such as with a custom v-neck)
Women's custom apparel has a lot of options, which may or may not be practical depending on your needs. Besides that, however, is the matter of degrees.
You could pick a v-neck with a slightly plunging neckline, but there are also v-neck styles where the neckline plunges almost to the point of indecency (and, for that matter, probably ones that cross it -- although you won't find those here!)
The thickness of the material can also be relevant. People who keep in shape tend to prefer sheer fabric options whereas heavier individuals might be less comfortable with an extremely thin material. (And some people might be more modest or have body image issues.) As such, something that's a little too stylish or uses very thin material might not get worn by everybody. That's why it's important to understand who's going to be wearing the shirts.
If you're ordering custom apparel for a bachelorette party, that might be easy -- after all, it'll likely involve people you know. The same is true if you're giving them out as gifts (with the obvious exception of giving customers a free gift with their purchase). Otherwise, it can be a little trickier. However, if you're in doubt, you may want to go with a relaxed fit or other casual option.
Of course, if you're wondering about garment thickness or other features, you can always buy a sample shirt.
#4 - Will you go with a specific brand?
For some people, brands can be a big deal. And, in many cases, the value provided by brands is far more than just a name.
Gildan, for instance, is known for producing incredibly consistent apparel. Because the company has an incredible amount of vertical integration, they're able to control the process from start to finish.
Three of Gildan's best-selling custom ladies t-shirts are the Ultra-Cotton tee (2000L; available in 15 colors), the 5000L (seen above, available in 18 colors), and the soft-style junior fit (64000L, available in 13 colors).
Of course, if you want a more stylish look, Bella+Canvas has some great options as well.
The Bella+Canvas 6004 (available in 13 colors) is a ring-spun cotton, junior-cut ladies t-shirt with a fantastic look -- although that's unsurprising, considering the company is known for its stylish apparel.
Fruit of the Loom offers a custom women's t-shirt with a slightly more plunging neckline (L39VR, seen above -- available in 5 colors).
#5 - Choosing custom shirt printing or custom embroidery
How do you want to customize your shirt? Will you choose a gorgeous printed design? Or maybe some fancy embroidery?
Your customization choice will affect the kind of shirts you can pick. Not all shirts are thick enough for embroidery, which limits you to print in those cases. Likewise, some shirts may be too thick to print on.
The benefit of printing is you can get a huge design where the individual details show up well. The downside is having a lot of colors in your design will add to the price.
By contrast, embroidered designs usually need to be small (especially since larger thread counts cost more), but the number of colors won't impact your cost. While you can embroider a t-shirt, it's often reserved for polo's, jackets, sweatshirts, hats, and beanies.
It's a great option for a company logo, especially if you plan on using a custom shirt for a uniform.
#6 - Picking a customized t-shirt that's available as either unisex or women's
If you're ordering for a mixed group, you could shop for a t-shirt that comes as either men's/unisex, women's, or even a kids size.
The advantage is you'll have more of a consistency across everything despite going with a mix of styles.
For example, the super-popular Gildan Ultra-Cotton tee (2000; see above) is available in unisex, ladies, and kids styles -- and comes in a whopping 60 colors). It's a great option whether you're promoting an event, advertising your business, or just giving them away as gifts.
Create your own custom apparel today
Looking to put your own design on some shirts? Maybe you have a one-of-a-kind design idea for ladies t-shirts or are looking to toss your company logo on some women's custom polo's. Whatever the case, Bolt Printing is here to help turn your design ideas into design reality.
You can upload artwork directly into our online design studio or select something from our massive clip art collection (and find matching fonts).
Bolt Printing has experts who can customize a wide variety of apparel -- everything from tees to sweatshirts, hats and beyond. When you order from us, you're getting amazing promotional merchandise at incredibly-low prices.