Breaking Down the Most Popular Brands

Brands Shirts T-Shirts

Bella+Canvas, Gildan, & Next Level

We all love the feel of that super soft t-shirt. While the softness makes it super comfy, it is also at times very stretchy. When adding décor to your favorite shirt make sure to use the right products so both you and your customer will be happy for a long time to come.


The plain crew neck jersey tee for Bella+Canvas is the 3001. (It also comes in the V-Neck 3005 version.) This t-shirt is softer than others on the market but still has a bit of stretch to it. The ladies’ version is the 6004. Many have commented that this shirt runs very small. However, there is a good bit of stretch to this shirt. If you intend on placing any decoration on the chest, it should be able to stretch with the garment.

Pros: Very popular brand that combines softness with amazing color selection. This brand is readily available on the market with lots of options in both color and style. Bella+Canvas seems to be a forerunner in making trendy, wearable shirts.

Watch Out For: Many have commented that this brand runs a little small with the ladies’ cuts running much smaller. The ladies’ tanks have much larger arm holes as this seems to be how they are trending. (I am not as much of a fan.) Bella+Canvas has so many different color options that the different pricing for those options could leave you with an unexpected bill.


Gildan shirts are readily available on the market. Gildan is available in a variety of colors and options. While the 5000 (crew neck, plain jersey tee) may not be the softest shirt, it is a tried and true option for garment decoration. The heavy cotton stands up to most décor and should not leave you questioning its strength. Gildan does offer a line of soft shirts, the 6400s. As with other soft and stretchy shirts, these require a little more thought to décor options and the prices fall in line with shirts of similar fashion. One of the best things about the Gildan line is that their differentiation between styles. A true unisex shirt is 5000, and if you want that in a traditional ladies’ cut, the style is 5000L. No muss, no fuss. They keep it simple.

Pros: This shirt is a value conscious shirt with many sales to find it at just the right price. The standard 5000 heavy cotton line is perfect for décor. Sizes are true, and there is typically no shortage so everyone in the party can have the exact same shirt regardless of size.

Watch Out For:  Since there is always a sale on Gildan shirts, this may not be the option for those that want a boutique feel for their shirts. Everyone knows Gildan and knows you can always find a sale so it may not fit those that are trying to sell their shirt with décor. The heavy cotton shirt is a heavier cotton meaning no stretch and softness is, well, questionable.

Next Level

Next Level shirts are not as available as the other shirts; however, their tailored look is unparalleled in the market. Next Level seem to know how most people like their t-shirts to fit. The neck lines are a little larger. Next Level seems to divide their options more distinctly between men’s and women’s fit, and there are lots of options in fit. Since these shirts are a little soft and a little stretchy, some may require stretchy décor, especially over the chest.

Pro: As previously mentioned, these shirts have great tailoring. It is for this reason this is a great boutique type shirt. It is a little more difficult to find these shirts, but they merge the softness with a good price point.

Watch Out For: This brand is divided between a men’s cut and women’s cut, not just a unisex. You may have difficulty fitting a large party in these shirts. Their options in trying to find the number that you need are not easy, such that you may need a guide. Luckily, I created one for you already, Navigating the Next Level Tees for more info.






Next Level


XS up to 4XL on some colors

S to 5XL on some colors

XS to 4XL on some colors


Runs small on most, many prefer to go up at least one size

True to size

True to small on some


Prominent online

Prominent in many stores and online

More reserved



A little more expensive, larger sizes and different colors can make the price jump


Value brand, competing sales forces make this a typical bargain


Can occasionally compete with Gildan pricing


Over 75+

Includes heathereds, slubs and other variations

Over 70+

Heathered is also antique but many are a flat color. There are many heathered variations in the soft style 64000 line.

About 30



These are not as soft as they have a soft line, the 64000


Décor to Use

Stretch is recommended, especially for ladies

 EasyWeed sits in and on the fabric nicely.

Stretch is recommended, especially for ladies


Color options


Soft feel

Great for décor


Great for large parties

Tailored look

Feel without sacrificing price

Plain Cotton
Jersey Line





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