When it comes to picking a t-shirt fabric, cotton and polyester aren’t your only two choices, but they are the two dominate fabrics of their field. They are the Coke and Pepsi of the t-shirt world. Much like the constant debate over soda, many wonder and argue what the superior fabric is. When buying a new t-shirt is it more beneficial to have a cotton or polyester t-shirt? Like everything else in this world, it all depends on the taste of the person who is buying it.
The Cotton Craze
Cotton has been around for centuries, it is the granddaddy of all t-shirt fabric. Cotton was first used for clothing way back in 2500 B.C. Throughout the years it has been the most popular fabric for making clothing. Production of cotton became much more efficient once Eli Whitney invented the Cotton Gin, which mechanically separated cotton from seeds, in the late 18th century.
Today, cotton t-shirts are considered among the highest quality of t-shirt. They are comfortable, easy to wear and breathe easier than other fabrics. Cotton has these advantages because the fabric is softer. They do have some disadvantages. Cotton t-shirts have a shelf life. They are known to shrink when initially washed, meaning that one could be stuck with a smaller t-shirt if they didn’t consider in the shrink factor when originally purchasing the shirt. Cotton fades easier than other fabric, so after multiple washes the t-shirt could start to look old and worn. Many find that these disadvantages are worth the comfort of a 100% cotton t-shirt.
We are a society of artificial advancement. It is no surprise that in the early 20th century scientists figured out a way to make a synthetic fabric called polyester. Ever since this historic accomplishment polyester has become the chief competitor to cotton. All of cotton’s weakness are its strength, but polyester isn’t totally devoid of faults.
Polyester won’t shrink when initially washed, in fact it will never shrink. A polyester t-shirt will stay the same size forever, unless it is physically altered in some way. Polyester t-shirts wont fade as quick, in fact they will last a lot longer. They become much more washable because of the number of wash cycles they can last before they start to show their age. One of the biggest benefits of polyester is that it doesn’t wrinkle. Wear a 100% polyester t-shirt and there is absolutely no need to iron it because it will already be wrinkle fee straight out of the dryer. Polyester does have its draw backs. It isn’t as comfortable to wear as cotton. It doesn’t breath like cotton, which means that sweat and body heat doesn’t escape from it as easy, making it a hotter t-shirt to wear.
50/50, a Compromise
When there are two sides to a debate there is almost always a compromise. The same is true with cotton and polyester, a 50/50 blend of the two was soon invented to appease both sides of the debate. These 50/50 blends have a lot of advantages and very few disadvantages. They bring the best of both worlds to one t-shirt. They have the comfort and breathability of cotton with the durability of polyester. They aren’t going to shrink as much and they aren’t going to wrinkle as much. Of course, a 50/50 blend isn’t going to be as comfortable as a 100% cotton shirt but it also isn’t going to be as hot as a 100% polyester shirt. That’s why its called a compromise.
What’s the Choice?
50/50 blends are becoming incredibly popular, it is quite common to find 50/50 blend t-shirts in stores. Unless one has a specific preference for how they like their t-shirts, 50/50 is probably the choice. It is the t-shirt for a new generation. A synthetically organic t-shirt. Yup, the 50/50 blend may j what is needed.
Of course the type of t-shirt for you depends on, well, you. You have three main choices, it is going to be hard to go wrong.