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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In going on what women I see while out in town and at malls...in going on what women I see on various TV shows (i.e., reality TV and video shows)... and in looking at myself and printed tees I've purchased (which I can count on 1 hand)...

Men appear to purchase and wear much more in printed tees than women. As well, men seem to wear more odd, trendy and upscale tees than women, like that of Affliction, Artful Dodger, BBC and such.

Would those of you established in the business agree, or am I way off here? Have women been a tough sell for you in general and how have you changed that in your business?

In taking a survey yesterday of women friends, they buy men's tees for a roomier fit & variety. These are women that do not fit the small frame build by any stretch and therefore cannot wear women's tees in size S, M, L or even XL. I too am such a woman, so I completely understood their feelings on this.

I'd like to target women with special printed apparel and hoping to somehow better their buying experience. In this day, many women don't mind buying tees cut for men but I'm thinking that 30 years ago, this was probably a bit uneasy for some women to do openly.

Please share your thoughts! :)

AB
 

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Here's why I don't buy printed tees very often:

1. Size and fit - Almost never in my size, and if they are in my size, they are either too fitted or too short in the length (I'm tall, for a girl).

2. Fabric - It's got to be soft and comfortable without being thin and transparent.

3. Designs - not a lot of designs really appeal to me, I think maybe there aren't enough people making designs that appeal specifically to women. Either that or I'm just picky. I'm really tired of seeing the same old designs for girls with "girly stuff" or birds and flowers.

4. Colors - I don't wear white, and I rarely wear black. There are several other colors I don't like or that don't look good on me, so it's hard to find colors that appeal to me and also match my other clothes. I've seen that guys really don't care about matching clothes anywhere near as much as girls do.

5. Price - I'm a very budget minded person. If a tee fits the above criteria (larger sizes, soft fabric, great design, nice colors), it would probably be fairly pricey ($35+) so I might not get it just for that reason, even if I really like it.

Hope that helps. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I really appreciate your feedback Jasonda! As well, I would look for much of the same qualities you mentioned and too find that I will not purchase because the fit/fabric is not right on my body, or I'm not willing to pay the price. Gosh, I guess we really are tough sells, but that's ok. :)

It goes without saying that majority of the printed shirts available today are marketed to men, let's face it.

From the survey I took yesterday of friends, they will settle for men's shirts and male-marketed printed styles that fit their budget. That's the frustrating, yet challenging part. I think I should expand my survey to get more feedback on what large(r) women are truly wanting in this type of apparel.

Oh - and the overuse of "girly" designs get under my skin too, as well as too many pastel colors! lol

AB
 

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Glad to hear you are thinking of selling to this market - in my opinion it is severely underserved.

Also nice to hear that you are doing your research first with the actual customers you would be selling to. It's an important step that many people neglect.

I thought of a few more reasons why I don't buy printed tees online very often:

6. Can't try it on (always a problem with internet purchases, but especially for women).

For men, buying a shirt on the internet isn't too much of an issue. If they choose the correct size for their chest measurement, the shirt should fit fairly well. Aside from that, pretty much the only thing they have to worry about is if the shirt is a slim or relaxed fit.

For women it's a whole other story - You not only have to think about different chest measurements, but different chest/waist ratios as well. If you try to add fitted/relaxed to that, it gets even more complicated.

It might be good to source blanks that have just a little spandex added. :)

Another thing..

7. Photos - Even if a site does sell a shirt in my size, the photos will inevitably show the shirt on a small/medium model. It's not very helpful for determining how the shirt will look on me. If you are selling to women, having a larger variety of models is a very good idea.
 

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I know I speak about my pink shirt this and my pink shirt that, however in all honesty, I love artistic, edgy, gothic, dark designs with lots of character. I love designs printed on enzyme or distressed washed tees. Novelty washed are best for me. I will buy 10 of each color. I like Drifter, Kings of Glory, Monarchy, Morphine Generation, Barking Irons, Affliction, etc. I also like the girly stuff as well, depends on the designs of course, 2 B Free and Twisted Heart. Again, I'm more of the girly tomboy. Yes, women are bigger shoppers than men.
 

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Has anyone tried the Gildans 2000L ladies t-shirts?
They're okay. Far from great, but not trash either - worth a sample.

I was thinking of using these as they have a larger size range than most, up to XXL (chest 52").
They're actually men's sizing, so if you have any customers at the lower end of the size chart you might run into problems.
 

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What would you suggest for ladies t-shirts, especially considering the sizes I've been asked about ie, the larger sizes? I'm a bloke taking a medium tee, so my main problem in the past has been finding one that didn't fit like a tent! I've no experience in womens sizes or styles
 

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we have had very few women who have purchased our shirts online, so much in fact that we completely rethought our approach and are offering WAY more men's designs for the spring line.

keep in mind that women are "experience shoppers" meaning that they really rely on touching the garment and seeing it in real life. no wonder why we don't buy online! plus, as we all know, women's sizes vary incredible amounts from piece to piece. i'm 5'2 with a very long torso, so i know that most shirts will be too short on me.

think about giving very accurate and minute details in your description- from the color to the texture of the shirt. measurements of the garment- sleeve length, front and back length, shirt opening. it's kind of a pain at first, but if it helps your customer and gives you better chance of a sale, why not?

here is my gripe because i am a fashion student... many women who would are "plus sized" (i hate that term) often think that if they wear a baggy shirt, it will "hide" them and make them look thinner. actually, wearing a loose fitting shirt will make you look larger than you are. i'm not talking about skin tight clothing, but giving a little definition is really flattering. with that being said, i think most wholesalers should expand their sizes and give the same attention to detail to the XL+ sizes. not fair.
 

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What would you suggest for ladies t-shirts, especially considering the sizes I've been asked about ie, the larger sizes?
In my opinion it's very difficult (or even impossible) to find something that pleases everyone. A Bella 1x1 rib up to a 2xl tee (for example) will cover a lot of women (the rib is important for that), but 1) Not everyone, 2) If and only if they like a tight fitting style - women who like a relaxed fit will be harder pressed to get something that suits them. Things like the Gildan 2000L go too far the other way - it's not exactly frumpsville, but it's also pretty silly for women's sizing to be based on men's.

I haven't personally found a middle solution. I haven't tried things like Hanes Silver for Her, but I get the impression (perhaps incorrectly) that they're more like the 2000L than anything else, so I don't see a solution being found there. Besides which Bella/AA/Alt. App., etc. are perfect for a lot of people, so I'm not really that eager to stray too far from that. In this case a middle option actually comes closer to pleasing none of the people none of the time.

The biggest problem you're facing is how different women like to wear their clothes. The difference between a guy who likes a loose shirt and a tight shirt is not that great (one size usually), so it's not a big deal. But the difference between a woman who likes a loose fit and a woman who likes a tight fit can be massive at the extremes of the issue - it's more like the difference between a male slim fit and a hip-hop fit (i.e. several sizes... I don't mean in appearance, obviously). But whereas someone after hip-hop shirts and someone after a more normal fit won't generally expect to find it in the same store, women who like a tight fit and women who like a relaxed fit might quite reasonably expect to find it in one place.

As always it depends on your demographic. Since you've been specifically asked about the larger sizes you might want to try sampling the Gildan 2000L and seeing what people think. They've got a limited colour range and a somewhat (though not totally) boxy fit, but they have feminine sleeves and some people would probably be quite happy with the fit (I don't generally think in terms of "older people's clothing" and "younger people's clothing" but I couldn't help but think that way when looking at the 2000L).

I'm kind of conflicted over it... it's not that bad, but at the same time it's just not good enough. It'd be fine for some kind of school fundraising event, or cheap promotional wear, etc. but I wouldn't expect to see someone under forty wearing it voluntarily in public. As far as t-shirts go... yeah I guess it looks okay, but I think every woman I know would pass up an okay looking t-shirt in favour of something that actually looked good (for that matter I know I do... I don't wear t-shirts when I go out, because they look like crap - when you really care about your appearance you don't wear t-shirts). A product like a Bella t-shirt will look good or bad depending on the wearer and whether or not the shirt is the right size and cut for their body type. It might work, it might not. A product like the 2000L will never look that good on anyone because the shirt doesn't look that good in the first place. At best it will look like a cheap piece of clothing on an attractive woman, whereas an Alternative Apparel shirt can look like an inviting soft piece of well shaped cloth on an attractive woman whose beauty is enhanced by her choice of clothing. Not everything is about looks, but clothes generally are.

That said plenty of times t-shirts aren't about looking good, they're about being easy and comfortable. But again, that's a question of knowing your demographic and knowing which they want.
 

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Hmm..I only have problems selling to men!
Younger women usually want shirts with a fitted look to them.
I just keep different designs in all different colors. I don't usually use the same color for everything.
It all has to do with the designs you are selling. I made a few things for guys, but for some reason they said they would like to buy the designs that are on the girl shirts instead!
 

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I just thought I'd throw in my two cents as a female consumer.

While, like Solmu said, of course I generally prefer a shirt that looks good over a shirt that looks bad, my "t-shirts" tend to fall into two categories:

- Smart T-Shirts. These are the t-shirts I wear when I'm really wanting to look "nice". Probably with a good pair of pants or a business suit, rather than my jeans. Tend to be more fitted (but not figure hugging - I'm a size 18 with an F bust!), stretch knit type fabrics.

- Regular T-Shirts. These are the t-shirts I wear around the place with my jeans, just going shopping or looking after my kids at home. This is where most t-shirt shops online are more likely to be able to sell to me, because "smart t-shirts" tend to HAVE to be tried on for cut, felt, etc.

My big whinges are:
- Length. I have the opposite problem to Jasonda. If I get a men's t-shirt that fits and doesn't look stupid in the bust area, it might as well be a dress (I kid you not, I have a t-shirt on my mending pile waiting to be "taken up").

- The neckline seems to look wrong. I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about the neckline on the Gildan blanks I use that says "I am a men's t-shirt".

On the smaller whinges end come things like fabric composition, weave and stitching. These all affect the price I'm willing to pay, but generally won't be a show stopper if I love the shirt print.

My all time favourite blank so far is the Alternative Apparel shirts Rodney used for the T-Shirt Forums t-shirts. That shirt is my FAVOURITE casual t-shirt right now (goes through the wash a lot more than is probably good for it!). It sits nicely, the length is good, the fabric is really soft and light without being see through, and of course, it's an awesome design. (Mental note to self - need to look at getting some of those...!).

However, I do have a Hanes Silver for Her shirt from Cafe Press that I think is a nice compromise for a more "budget" priced t-shirt. The fit is quiet OK, the neckline doesn't have that neckline problem and while the fabric is nowhere near as divine as the aa shirt, it's not horrible either.

Um...yeah. Hope some of that helps!
 

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At events we sell Siver Hanes S. strap tanks, Bella sleeveless tees and a cheap Anvil spag. strap tank as well as the regular mix of mens cut shirts(FOL, Gilden, Anvil etc). My favorite are the Bella shirts.

I have seen women buy some of the oddest sizes. I am lucky in that Kim is right there to help women choose a correct size but sometimes they completely baffle us in what they purchase.

You cant please everyone and as a t-shirt vendor we dont sell our gear as fashion. We sell it as a fun 15 dollar personalized t-shirt to a young market partying in 98 degree Texas sunshine.

Online the ladies gear is nill at events we sell plenty of the three styles mentioned and usually can cover the ladies needs or wants....Shorter waste, tighter fit, not so tight a fit, lower neckline, higher neckline, spag. strap, more coverage, less coverage, sheer, soft, sleeveless etc.

It really is endless in trying to fit everyone so we stick to our little basic setup and it works for what we do.
 

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At events we sell Siver Hanes S. strap tanks, Bella sleeveless tees and a cheap Anvil spag. strap tank as well as the regular mix of mens cut shirts(FOL, Gilden, Anvil etc). My favorite are the Bella shirts.

I have seen women buy some of the oddest sizes. I am lucky in that Kim is right there to help women choose a correct size but sometimes they completely baffle us in what they purchase.

You cant please everyone and as a t-shirt vendor we dont sell our gear as fashion. We sell it as a fun 15 dollar personalized t-shirt to a young market partying in 98 degree Texas sunshine.

Online the ladies gear is nill at events we sell plenty of the three styles mentioned and usually can cover the ladies needs or wants....Shorter waste, tighter fit, not so tight a fit, lower neckline, higher neckline, spag. strap, more coverage, less coverage, sheer, soft, sleeveless etc.

It really is endless in trying to fit everyone so we stick to our little basic setup and it works for what we do.
I will be talking to you before a buy a lot of women tees.
 

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if you are not selling Big to girrls/women in the printed apparel industry you're missing out on a large consummer base. You might as well classify your buisness as a specialty. Like, t-shirts for the Big and Tall only for example.

Women: A Tough Sell For Tees?

Nope, thats why all the fashion designers do it and so do the re-makers of such for the none-size-6/8 market sector.

Its the cut style and graphic message/trend that sells to women. Just as the long tunic type t-shirts in the 80's vogue sold by the gazzilions to all size women.....
 

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My all time favourite blank so far is the Alternative Apparel shirts Rodney used for the T-Shirt Forums t-shirts. That shirt is my FAVOURITE casual t-shirt right now (goes through the wash a lot more than is probably good for it!). It sits nicely, the length is good, the fabric is really soft and light without being see through, and of course, it's an awesome design.

I think Alternative makes a nice casual (and soft) shirt, but it DID seem a bit too light and sheer to me.

However, I do have a Hanes Silver for Her shirt from Cafe Press that I think is a nice compromise for a more "budget" priced t-shirt. The fit is quiet OK, the neckline doesn't have that neckline problem and while the fabric is nowhere near as divine as the aa shirt, it's not horrible either.

That's about the best one we've found so far. Most of our market is pretty wide ranging right now; the majority weren't up for tight fitted ladies' cut like the bella/anvil though, and a few other styles we tried looked too much like a Men's cut shirt still. We're using the Hanes Silver Relxaed Fit as our only women's tee offering right now, and it's working fairly well.
 
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