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Real Thread's 2019 in T-Shirts
T-Shirt Trends
8
min read

Real Thread's 2019 in T-Shirts

A data-driven overview of the most popular styles and trends in t-shirts this year.

At Real Thread, we have the benefit of receiving a lot of data about t-shirts. And as the calendar flips to a new year, it serves as a great time to take a look at that data and pull out trends from the previous year.

In this yearly recap t-shirt recap, we’ll dive into:

Let’s jump into it.

The Most Popular T-Shirt Styles from 2019

We pulled the numbers, and these are the 5 most popular t-shirt styles that were printed on in 2019.

#1: Next Level 6210

The 6210 from Next Level is a tried and true classic. From a value standpoint, it’s hard to find a better shirt than this one. A cotton/polyester blend, this shirt is very soft, has a slim fit, and is offered at a great price point.

If you’re looking to up your t-shirt game with something that feels high-end without breaking the bank, this is undeniably a shirt you’ll want to consider.

#2: Next Level 3600

The 100% version of the shirt listed above, the Next Level 3600 is another excellent t-shirt. Stitched together with Next Level’s ring-spun cotton, the 3600 is going to have a softer feel than most 100% cotton t-shirts.

This shirt features over 30 color options, plus it has a Made-in-the-USA counterpart, the 3600A.

#3: Canvas 3001


Bella+Canvas is known for pushing the boundaries of fashion, but this shirt, the Canvas 3001, is about as classic and timeless as it gets.

Made with 100% airlume combed and ring-spun cotton, this shirt has a soft feel, and it shouldn’t shrink as much as most 100% cotton tees.

Though this shirt looks simple, Bella+Canvas continues to produce unique colorways that give you a seemingly endless array of options to choose from.

#4: Next Level 6010

The Next Level 6010 is one of the softest t-shirts you will ever wear. It’s a tri-blend, meaning it’s made out of cotton, polyester, and rayon. Tri-blends are widely regarded as the softest t-shirt fabric out there.

The different fabrics in the shirt mean that the 6010 is going to naturally have a bit of a heathered look to it, making it a great option for more faded, vintage-style prints.

#5: Canvas 3413

The 3413 is Bella+Canvas’ version of the standard tri-blend crewneck.

This shirt only weighs 3.4oz, this shirt is going to feel light, have a slim, drape-y fit, but will still be plenty durable.

The Canvas 3413 feels quite similar to the Next Level 6010 listed above. However, it’s going to have a slightly slimmer fit in the shoulders and underarms. Plus, it’s offered in 44 color options, as opposed to 12 from its Next Level counterpart.

Trending T-Shirt Styles from 2019

Separate from the most popular shirt styles trending means which shirt styles have seen the biggest increase in orders this year.

#1: Canvas 3001CVC


The Canvas 3001CVC gets a boost in this regard in that it didn’t exist before 3001. A cotton/polyester blend, Bella+Canvas used to lump this shirt style under the parent umbrella of the 3001 until this year.

As is typical from Bella+Canvas, this shirt is offered in an array of stunning color options.

#2: Bella 6400

The Bella 6400 is taken off as our most popular women’s style of 2019, and we think we know why.

Ordering women’s t-shirts is notoriously tricky. Female bodies vary much more than male bodies, so it’s harder to have one catch-all fit. And, for some reason, women’s t-shirts always tend to have the same incredibly tight fit.

What’s great about the Bella 6400 is that it fits a bit more loosely than most women’s t-shirts, but it’s still distinctly a women’s cut, making it more flattering than a unisex t-shirts, which always ends up fitting somewhat baggy.

#3: Bella 8803

The Bella 8803 is Bella+Canvas’s female take on the classic muscle tank. This shirt is made out of a blend of polyester and viscose, which makes it exceptionally soft.

This tank is going to have a drape-y fit to it, but don’t mistake that for sloppy, as it holds it’s form well.

#4: Alternative Apparel 1070

Alternative Apparel has long been a favorite brand of ours here at Real Thread, and the 1070 is their most popular t-shirt style.

The shirt features a set-in ribbed neckline that gives this shirt a look that stands out from more standard crewneck tees. It also features tearaway tags that make it easy and affordable to add custom labeling.

Alternative Apparel is typically priced on the higher end compared to its counterparts from Next Level Apparel or Bella+Canvas, but it’s unique features and high-end feel will make it worth it.

The Most Popular Fleece Styles of 2019

Apart from just t-shirts, let's take a look at the most popular sweaters and hoodies from the past year.

#1: Independent Trading Co. SS4500 (and SS4500Z)

The Independent Trading Co. SS4500 and SS4500Z are about as classic of a hoodie as you can get, but don’t mistake it for basic.

This hoodie has unique features like jersey-lined hood, a heavy gauge drawcord with metal eyelets, and 1x1 inch ribbing at the cuffs and waistband, giving this hoodie a look all it’s own.

#2: Canvas 3901

The 3901 from Bella+Canvas was our most popular pullover sweater this year. This unisex raglan crewneck has an incredibly soft feel.

Bella+Canvas’s signature sponge fleece fabric gives the sweatshirt a little bit of puff, but it still has a slim, retail fit to it. This sweatshirt is also offered in unique fabric styles like acid wash and marble.

#3: Independent Trading Co. PRM3500

We love the washed look of the PRM3500 from Independent Trading Co., and apparently, you all did as well.

This sweater is garment-dyed, a process that’s popular for it’s faded, worn-in look. Garment-dyed sweaters carry the look of your favorite worn-in shirt from the first wear.

Garment dye’s unique process actually gives each piece a slight color variation, meaning each one is going to have its own individual character.

Top T-Shirt Colors

  1. Black
  2. White
  3. Charcoal
  4. Navy
  5. Red
  6. Royal
  7. Heather Gray
  8. Military Green

Trending T-Shirt Colors

  1. Mustard
  2. Olive
  3. Sunset
  4. Lilac
  5. Mauve
  6. Forest Green
  7. Cream
  8. Indigo

Most Popular Add-On Services

Add-on services are an awesome way to elevate your brand and make your t-shirts stand out. Here are our most popular add-on services from 2019.

#1: Tag Printing

Custom printed tags are one of the most impactful and stylish ways to reinforce your brand. They add an extra level of customization that makes your t-shirts feel much more valuable and higher-end.

Plus, they afford the opportunity to add delightful illustrations and copy that delight the wearer again and again.

#2: Foil Printing

Foil prints have continued to grow in popularity year over year. The bright, shiny look of foil is a great way to give your shirts some extra pop.

Our most popular foil print colors this year have been yellow gold, rose gold, and silver.

#3: Hem Tags

Hem tags are another t-shirt add-on that are guaranteed to give your shirts a more custom, high-end feel. The added touchpoint has the potential to share your brand in a powerful way.

Popular hem tag attachment spots include the bottom-right hem and the sleeve.

Click here to download our free sets of printed tag templates, hem tag templates, tag care icons, and more.

T-Shirt Predictions for 2020

Based on what we’ve seen in 2019, here’s our best prediction for trends we expect in 2020.

More people will opt for women’s cut shirts

We saw a slight uptick in women’s cut shirt this year, and we fully expect that to continue to rise into 2020.

The lack of representation for women’s fit t-shirts is likely emblematic of a larger social issue, but as people shift in thought to make workplaces and society, in general, more inclusive, we’re optimistic that this means women’s t-shirts will be better-represented on this list next year.

We totally understand that there’s a practical argument for taking the easy route and ordering unisex t-shirts for everyone.

While these statements are true, but being intentional with inclusivity means thinking about these things and going above and beyond to make sure everyone feels represented, even if it’s with something as small as t-shirts.

Eco-friendly will be more mainstream

Globally, there is a strong trend of people preferring eco-friendly products, and we expect to see that trend trickle into custom t-shirts more than ever in 2020.

We’ve added some incredible eco-friendly t-shirt, sweater, and hoodie options to our site in the past year, and it’s very much our hope that these garments, in particular, take off in the new year.

More than just standard unisex crewnecks

You may have noticed some commonalities in our top 5 most popular t-shirt styles in that they’re all unisex crewneck t-shirts.

It makes sense, in that when you’re ordering t-shirts in bulk, you’re often looking for a shirt style that’s safe and will make the broadest group of people happy. However, we think people will start to get choosier with their styles in the coming year.

Not to say that unisex crewnecks won’t continue to be the most popular, but we have a hunch that the overall percentage of shirts we print that are of that style will dip a bit as people begin to search for and find more unique styles.

Whether that be ringer t-shirts, pocket t-shirts, or, like we mentioned earlier, simply more women’s shirts, be on the lookout for a change of pace in shirt styles as we head into the new decade.

Let's Make 2020 an Amazing Year

There's a lot to look forward to in the coming year, and we can't wait to see what you have in store.

Do you have any t-shirt projects coming up in the new year that you could use help with? Talk to our team! We can't wait to talk to you and create something amazing together.