6 Head-Turning Trends to Embrace in Your Winter 2021 Custom Apparel
T-Shirt Trends
min read

6 Head-Turning Trends to Embrace in Your Winter 2021 Custom Apparel

Give the top trends of the season a bit of ~custom flair~ with these tips.

I’m going to start off with a little disclaimer: if you told my mom that I was writing a blog post about fashion trends, she’d say “What? You? The girl with 17 different black t-shirts that you wear on a rotation? Was there no one else?” 

While fashion expert I am not, I’d argue that a black-tee-hoarder is actually the best person to write a blog on fashion trends for a custom t-shirt company. Why? Because I’ve taken what is trendy and translated it into something accessible and actionable so that even those who are fashion-challenged like myself can be on trend this season. So, with that...

Here are the top trends of Winter 2021—and some tips on incorporating them into your next custom apparel purchase.     

1. Vibrant colors

After spending 2 bleak years trapped inside—with neutrals dominating the (basically nonexistent) fashion landscape—I think we’re due for color (and just optimism in general) to make a comeback in the latter part of 2021. 

While we often see seasonal color trends driven by a specific (often gimmicky) shade, this Fall/Winter season there isn’t one color that is leading the charge. Expect to see all shades of the rainbow represented this year, with high saturation being the real trend. Muted tones have had their time in the sun—now high-intensity, vibrant hues are going to mark their territory as we close out the year. 

How to embrace this trend in your next custom apparel order: 

Opt for a base garment in a highly saturated shade, and consider going for a tonal look with the design on top—meaning, the design is printed or embroidered in a shade that’s slightly darker or lighter than the base color. This works especially well with custom embroidery because it provides some depth/texture that allows the design to jump off the garment. 

2. Ski apparel

Ski apparel—think puffy coats, puffy pants, and basically puffy everything (more on “puff” later)—is expected to be a hit as we round out the year. For those of us who live basically-in-the-equator, participation in this particular trend may be limited to a solid one week window—but, by golly, will we participate. 

How to embrace this trend in your next custom apparel order: 

Two words: Beanies & jackets. Custom beanies are a fun and memorable branded swag item for you to gift your teams with this holiday season—and they take so much weight off of you from a design perspective. Since the customizable real estate on a beanie is fairly limited in general, simply sticking your logo (or a short slogan or phrase) on the base of the hat will pack a punch. 

Want to go for something more involved? Custom jackets are another option if you want to offer your team something that’s both trendy and utilitarian. Reach out to the team and we can help find the perfect product for you to customize.

A girl wears a custom embroidered beanie with logo
Your logo on your forehead > an "L" on your forehead.

3. Logos, everywhere

Remember how you used to cringe thinking about the shirts you used to wear in high school with “ABERCROMBIE” emblazoned across the front? Well, Gen-Z has a way of resurrecting even that which we thought was gone forever—in this case, the Highly-Present Logo. Honestly, kind of a win for brands—you’ve invested a lot of money in your logo, and this is the perfect opportunity to show it off (to the point of excess),

How to embrace this trend in your next custom apparel order: 

Have fun with this one, and ride the wave of irony that helped this trend rise from the ashes. Channel the energy that Louis Vuitton brings to their bags by placing your logo in a repeating pattern on a custom tote (example below).

A custom tote with an orange logo multiple times.
...like this!

4. Graphic/slogan tees 

Ok, so—we’re probably biased, but this one’s our favorite 😜 We love when t-shirts are trending, because we think they don’t get enough credit in general. Okay, stepping off the soapbox now… Graphic tees have been having a moment for really the entirety of 2021, but expect to see a lot more of them in the next few months. Catchy holiday phrases, clever puns, and the usual  

How to embrace this trend in your next custom apparel order: 

Custom t-shirts are our bread and butter—which means that we’ve got every tool you could ever need to bring your custom graphic tee to life.

When it comes to deciding what phrase you want to put on your shirt, think through this: What does the team/customer base you’re designing these for have in common? Do they have a sense of humor? Some kind of shared experience, guiding principle, goal, or frustration? One of our amazing customers does a great job of creating hilarious and relatable designs for her target audience of female runners. 

A shirt that says "the race may be virtual but the pain is real"
Basically the perfect slogan tee (c/o Sarah Marie Design Studio)

5. Puff ink prints 

Ok, first: what is puff ink? Puff ink is created by combining regular ink (mixed to the color of your choice) with a heat-activated puff print additive. As your design goes down the dryer, the ink rises above the surface of your garment, adding a three-dimensional look to your design.

How to embrace this trend in your next custom apparel order: 

Want to experiment with a puff look for your next design? We recommend opting for a more simple design so that the puff has the opportunity to take center stage. Simple one-color text prints are a great option here, as well as a single color design with certain elements being printed with puff—which creates a dimensional, layered effect even with only one color. 

Want us to print a puff design for you? Contact one of our printing pros and we will have you on your way to puff perfection in no time. 

6. Collegiate applique 

It’s become clear that “vintage” looks are always on trend—it’s just a matter of how we’re currently defining the term. Another classic look that’s back in the main rotation (and the spotlight) for now is collegiate-style applique lettering. Prepare yourself to see a lot of locations, brand names, movie titles, and more across the fronts of crewneck sweatshirts galore this season. 

Crewneck sweatshirts are always a crowd-pleaser (I currently have about 30 in my closet, and even that doesn’t feel like enough). They’re basically a hug in clothing form. Applique lettering instantly elevates them a bit, so you can feel fancy when you go to the grocery store wearing the exact same thing you slept in last night. This is predicted to be a stronghold of COVID-era fashion—an unwillingness to sacrifice on comfort, even when looking your best. We’re here for it.  

How to embrace this trend in your next custom apparel order: 

Take your brand name, the location of your headquarters, your CEO’s name, or whatever word you want, choose a thread color, and prepare to share the gift that is the intersection of high-fashion and couch-potato with your people.

Pro-tip: tell your customers/employees to order a size up for maximum comfort, and then tell them to thank me later 😉   

In conclusion 

Okay, so—now you’ve got all of the information you need to go out and start designing a piece of trend-abiding custom apparel that will excite and unite teams and customers alike. You’re welcome 😜

Want some help taking the next step toward trendiness? Our team is ready to help translate vision to reality. Feel free to browse some of our top products for inspiration or reach out to a member of our team to get started. 





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