How to Choose the Best Jackets for Embroidery: 5 Expert Tips

How to Choose the Best Jackets for Embroidery: 5 Expert Tips

The best custom apparel will always depend on how you plan on using it. Custom t-shirts, for example, are great for giveaways. Polo's excel as work uniforms. Something like custom hats tend to be split between the two uses, as they're a neat giveaway item yet also work as company branding.

And then you have custom jackets...

woman at a ski shop

 Why a custom jacket?   

Jackets are among the ultimate high-end premium custom items. Giving employees their own custom-embroidered jackets is a great way to acknowledge how much you value them. However, there's a practical side, too. If your team mostly works outdoors -- especially in a visible location -- it's a great way for making your workers identifiable and getting your company's name out there.

If you represent a local sports team or other organization, you could sell custom jackets embroidered with a logo or mascot. Besides giving fans the opportunity to visibly support your brand (and potentially bring in new fans), it'll generate money for the organization.

And, in very rare cases, custom embroidered jackets might be used for high-end giveaways.

 The other benefits of custom jackets   

 Customized jackets can be worn every day (weather permitting!)   

Although a jacket will only be feasible during certain times of the year (unless you live in Alaska), much like custom hats and beanies, jackets are something that can be worn everyday.

Man using a zipper on a moisture-wicking performance jacket

Unlike a t-shirt or other piece of apparel that needs to be washed between uses, there's no reason why jackets can't be worn time and time again (although cleaning may be necessary if they get really dirty). And people are very used to the idea of the same jacket being worn.

Functional, premium items like custom coats are more likely to be kept and used  

What happens to a lot of t-shirts after being worn a few times? Unless the owner really likes them (which can happen when a t-shirt has an amazing design), the shirts may wind up at a bottom of a drawer or on their way to a local Goodwill. Even hats and hoodies might get this same treatment. However, jackets are different.

Men and women alike can wear these top jacket brands when out and about

Because jackets are normally expensive, people tend to hang onto them -- especially when those custom jackets meet their needs. In fact, I'd wager you probably know a few people who wear jackets with designs they don't love simply because that jacket is comfortable, warm, or great in bad weather. (You might even be even that person!)

Custom embroidered jackets look tasteful  

There's something neat about seeing an organization's logo on a jacket. Where t-shirts have a casual vibe and polo's tend to look a bit more professional, jackets are in the middle. They don't seem overly casual (outside of denim jackets) yet won't seem out of place in a casual setting.

Besides looking good, having your logo on a higher-end item suggests that your organization is more established and therefore should be taken seriously. It's an important part of presenting an image, which helps your brand.

 The drawbacks associated with customizing jackets   

Are jackets the best custom apparel choice? Sadly, no. There are a few reasons why custom jackets might not be a great fit for everyone.

Jackets are among the most expensive custom clothing options     

There's no getting around it -- custom jackets, just like regular ones, are expensive. In many cases, very expensive.

While you won't break the bank on custom t-shirts or beanies, jackets may leave you thinking twice. (And, in a way, that's also a benefit -- because it's so expensive, fewer people use custom jackets.)

By the way, if you like the functionality of a custom jacket but can't justify the price, you may instead consider custom hoodies or sweatshirts.

Limited custom design placement (and size)   

When it comes to any design, you need to consider the placement and image size. And, depending on the piece of apparel, there are natural limitations.

Custom jackets have more restrictions than other apparel (although they don't have as many limitations as hats and beanies). For various logistical reasons, you're usually just going to embroider a logo (or other design) at the left-chest. (However, if you choose a jacket style or brand where that company's logo is at the left-chest, you'll instead have to embroider the right-chest.)

While the left side of the chest is the standard placement, a right or left sleeve may also be an option

And because it's a left-chest placement, you're limited in terms of the design's size.

Why the limitations? First, a jacket's zipper breaks up the front of the coat. Even if you wanted a large design, it wouldn't be practical. Second, because you're going with embroidery (more on this in a minute), larger designs are a lot more expensive. Third, large designs on jackets often look tacky. Unless the jacket is for a biker, it's hard to pull off a giant design.

Customization is usually limited to embroidery  

There are a lot of reasons you wouldn't want a print design on a custom jacket. The first reason is style -- given you're spending a lot of money customizing jackets, you want something that'll look higher-quality. However, the second -- and more practical reason -- involves the logistical difficulties of printing on jackets.

A company logo. Embroidery looks amazing on corporate jackets

The ideal print area is a smooth, flat surface. Because jackets have some puffiness (due to their insulation), they don't provide a great printing surface. There's also the matter of the fabrics used. Jackets tend to use heat-sensitive materials that can melt during the screen printing process.

Should these drawbacks discourage you?  

Short answer? It depends.

The longer answer is that custom jackets aren't right for everybody. While they're an incredible promotional tool, they tend to excel under certain uses. For other activities, something like a custom t-shirt might be a better fit. (No pun intended.)


 When you should consider custom embroidered jackets   

There are a number of great uses and occasions for custom jackets. These include:

Branding for charitable groups, such as logo jackets  

Whether delivering meals to the elderly or another public-facing role, a branded jacket can put people at ease.

This is particularly true when assisting people who may have memory issues. Even if they can't remember a person's face, they'll likely recognize the jacket.

Construction worker jackets

Group of construction workers wearing custom work jackets (although the logo design is hard to see in the photo)

This one might need a bit of an asterisk. Although embroidered jackets make a lot of sense for construction workers, your logo could wind up covered by a safety vest. In that case, you might instead consider embroidering the sleeve... or going with an embroidered safety jacket.

However, a lot of general contractors and other workers don't use safety vests. And some work jackets feature safety colors so a vest is unnecessary.

Outdoor work uniforms

There's a major benefit when it comes to giving custom jackets to certain kinds of outdoor service workers. For instance, wouldn't you be more likely to trust a parking lot attendant whose jacket has a company logo on it? And if you saw somebody fiddling around with equipment outside your home or business, wouldn't you feel safer if their jacket clearly identified their company and let you know they're supposed to be there?

Logo jackets are a great way to quickly identify workers

Company jackets make a lot of sense for trust-oriented businesses. Even a door-to-door salesman (rare as they are these days) will make a much better impression when wearing a custom jacket (since the embroidered logo lends legitimacy).

As a super-high-end premium item  

For certain businesses, it might make sense to use jackets as a promotional item. However, considering the cost, instead of doing a giveaway, you might want to sell the jackets.

A durable, insulated jacket. The priority seems to be function more than style (ie, it's no Eddie Bauer)

If you run a brewery, skate company, or other business with a "fun" brand that people want to be associated with, customers might be interested in buying your branded apparel. (Just don't expect a similar level of interest if you own a grocery store or other essential business.)


 Different jackets can have wildly different traits   

Given the design of custom jackets, the differences can be more readily apparent than with other forms of apparel. And it's not terribly surprising, given the level of variation, that certain jackets will excel in some areas so you'll never have a single perfect jacket.

An insulated, lightweight jacket can keep you looking cool without feeling cold

 Tips for choosing the best custom jacket   

Each jacket might be as unique as the snowflakes they keep off you. And, with so many jacket styles to choose from, the possibilities may feel overwhelming. However, by focusing on what you need, you can let those functions guide your design.

After all, whether you're looking to create custom work jackets, corporate jackets, or even custom fleece jackets, you likely have a specific purpose in mind. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

#1 - Insulated jackets (for warmth and weather resistance)  

Usually when somebody wears a jacket, it's to stay warm or protect themselves from the elements. As such, it's unsurprising when this is somebody's focus, particularly when outfitting employees who work outdoors.

Port Authority Challenger jacket (J754) -- a great choice if you want a custom embroidered jacket

Port Authority's Challenger jacket (J754; available in 10 colors) offers a rugged, durable design with a heavyweight fleece lining that'll keep its wearer warm.

However... what if that's not warm enough?

Port Authority Nootka jacket (J792) -- one of the nicer custom insulated coats

Port Authority's Nootka jacket (J792; available in 4 colors) is a step up from the Challenger. Besides offering a bit more insulation, it includes a lined hood.

On top of that, the Nootka has a stylish two-tone design. A deep-gray stripe runs across the sleeves and shoulders -- blending with the hood's lining -- while the body can be one of five colors. More importantly, it's fully seam-sealed for superior waterproof protection, with a 1500MM fabric waterproof rating.

It's an excellent jacket that will keep its wearer dry and warm (AND look good at the same time).

However, what if you want something higher quality? More rugged? More durable? When it comes to high-quality workwear, few companies can even compete with Carhartt. Their jackets are amazing and they have an array of matching items for the outdoors (check out the full collection). 

#2 - Soft shell jackets (for water resistance and breathable versatility)  

Don't need a ton of warmth? Try a soft shell instead.

Soft shells are a lighter jacket option; they won't keep you as warm (because of the breathability) or as protected from the elements, but they serve some of that same function. And the fact soft shells are more breathable makes them ideal for outdoor exercise.

Port Authority soft shell fleece jacket (J317)

Port Authority's soft shell fleece-lined jacket (J317; available in 11 colors) boasts a 1000MM fabric waterproof rating and a 1000G/M2 fabric breathability rating. It's a great option when going on a jog.

Port Authority Glacier soft shell fleece jacket (J970) -- although lightly insulated, it should keep you warm

Looking for something a bit nicer? Port Authority's Glacier soft shell jacket (J790; available in 3 colors) adds a pocket and is advertised as also offering wind resistance.

Of course, if you want one of the warmest -- and most stylish -- jackets, you could always customize The North Face's ThermoBall™ Trekker Jacket (NF0A3LH2; available in 4 colors). This water-repellent puffer jacket is great for all kinds of outdoor recreation.

#3 - Waterproof jackets  

Perhaps warmth isn't an issue. Maybe you just need weather protection. (As may be the case if your employees are expected to work outdoors even during bad weather.)

Sport-Tek JST73 -- a lightweight insulated jacket perfect for custom embroidery

Sport-Tek's raglan hooded jacket (JST73; available in 7 colors) is a super-lightweight, water-repellent coat with a hood.

But what if you want more protection from water?

The J333 is among the coolest rain jackets out there

Port Authority's waterproof jacket (J333; available in 9 colors) has a 5000MM fabric waterproof rating (far more than even the Nootka) and a 1000G/M2 fabric breathability rating. And coolest of all? It can fold into a pouch!

It's a fantastic option for anybody working outside.

#4 - Just a custom vest?  

But, what if you want to keep your core warm without getting too hot? Is there an option for that?

Yes -- vests!

The F219 is a mid-weight fleece vest... although it looks lightweight, doesn't it?

Vests are a great choice for certain weather conditions, providing great breathability since they lack sleeves.

Pictured above is Port Authority's mid-weight fleece vest (F219; available in 5 colors), which features a twill-taped neck and front zippered pockets. It's a fantastic all-around option.

However, what if you want added protection from the elements?

North Face Thermoball Vest (NF0A3LHD)

The North Face Thermoball Vest (NF0A3LHD; available in 2 colors) is a lightweight trekker vest. It'll protect you from wind and offer some warmth while still being super-breathable. To top it all off, the material features a water-repellent finish. It's an absolutely amazing vest (although, as a super-high-end vest, the Thermoball Vest is expensive -- meaning you probably won't use it for giveaways).

#5 - How many jacket pockets do you need?  

Besides insulation and weather resistance, there are other functions to consider. One of the "smaller" -- but certainly important -- features is pockets.

North Face sweater fleece jacket (NF0A3H7). North Face makes incredible fleece jackets

Pockets are an often-essential apparel feature, both for storage and -- depending on the placement -- giving you an option to tuck your hands to keep them warm. In some cases, a lack of pockets can ruin an otherwise great jacket for some people.

Above is North Face's sweater fleece jacket (NF0A3LH7, available in 4 colors), which features two side-pockets and a left-chest pocket. While it doesn't have an absurd number of pockets, this fleece jacket covers the important ones.


 Whatever custom apparel you're looking for, Bolt Printing has you (and your team) covered   

Whether you're looking for warmth or rain protection, pockets or wind resistance, Bolt Printing has the jacket styles you need.

Independent Trading Co EXP54LWZ has a great style

We carry a wide selection of best-selling jackets from many of the top brands. This includes an incredible mix of styles, ensuring that we can put your design on a jacket that your employees, customers, and just about everybody else will love.


 Get started designing a custom embroidered jacket today!   

Can't wait to get a custom embroidered logo on a jacket?

Note: Although the process is for an embroidered logo, the graphic will look printed in the studio

Our online design studio makes it easy to create custom jackets. Besides having the option to upload artwork, we have a great collection of fonts and -- if you need it -- a massive clip art library. (Meaning you're sure to find something on our site you'll love if you don't already have an image.)

 When ordering customized products from Bolt, you can buy with confidence   

Bolt Printing isn't just some anonymous online shop where you're not sure who's really doing the work. We're a family-run business headquartered in Brookfield, Connecticut (it's in the Northeast USA).

Bolt Printing's Brookfield, CT HQ -- because we handle our own production, we're able to offer low prices on custom clothing (meaning you don't have to shop around for a great deal)

All of our work is done on premises by our team of highly-skilled screen printing and embroidery experts. And, because we do the work ourselves (instead of acting as a middleman service like some companies), we're able to pass those savings along to you.

It's also why we don't play games with our prices. Unlike many of our competitors -- some of whom are just middlemen services farming the work out elsewhere -- we don't stick you with setup fees and hidden fees. In fact, we even offer free shipping on most standard orders to a single-address. How do you beat that?

To top it off, our lightning-fast turnaround times mean you'll get your custom apparel when you need it.

So, what are you waiting for? Create your own jacket today!

You'll see this same embroidered logo a lot -- because it's AWESOME!!!