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3 Colorful Alternatives to American Apparel's Classic Ringpsun Tee

American Apparel makes a great super-soft, ringspun, cotton t-shirt. Heck, if they didn’t invent it, they at least popularized it. That one t-shirt sparked a small revolution in the screen printing world. And like most revolutions, this one needed to happen.

Here’s a great series of comparison photographs, showing the difference between different types of t-shirt cottons.

A great comparison of traditional t-shirt cotton to the newer combed cotton.

A great comparison of traditional t-shirt cotton to the newer combed cotton.

In the dark, cold days before American Apparel changed the game, t-shirt manufacturers focused on one primary thing: price. This isn’t the worst thing in the world, it meant that we got t-shirts at as low a cost as possible. But there was definitely something missing. Actually, two things: comfort and style. American Apparel’s short sleeve t-shirt fit better, felt softer, was manufactured in Los Angeles, and featured beautiful eye-popping colors. It cost more. But that was OK. Many people were happy to pay a bit more for all those extra features. Those who weren’t still had all the standard value t-shirts to choose from. Then the revolution started.

American Apparel soft ringspun cotton t-shirt

The classic American Apparel fine jersey, ringspun cotton t-shirt.

T-shirt manufacturers were inspired. I think the fact that people were willing to pay more for a better quality product was (and is) inspiring to these manufacturers. No longer did they have to compete in a race to the lowest possible price. They could focus on making a better product. What many found was that they too could make a really soft t-shirt, that fits people’s bodies a bit better. And the great news is, they found it actually doesn’t cost much more than the standard boxy t-shirts.

To this day there is no one who makes as many color variations as American Apparel. I counted. American Apparel has 43 different colors. They have nine different greens! But these three have 23 to 35 colors each, which is the best of the rest. They all cost less and are comparable in quality.  So today, in no particular order, I present you with three recommended alternatives to American Apparel’s soft t-shirt.

  • Bella+Canvas. This super-comfy and lightweight tee comes in 29 colors and is one of the softest we’ve put our hands on. It also has ladies and girls coordinating styles. We use this tee for our Tetherball 1969 t-shirt.
Canvas soft ringspun cotton t-shirt

Bella+Canvas ringspun tee, in teal.

  • Gildan Softstyle. The most colors of the three: 35. Gildan recently added new colors like heather orange and heather royal. We used this t-shirt for our recent Sanergy Gold t-shirt.
Gildan soft ringspun cotton t-shirt

Gildan Softstyle ringspun tee, in heather orange.

  • Royal Apparel. This tee is soft, independently distributed and features 23 colors. One of the best things about this t-shirt is that there is an American-made style and an organic cotton style. We used this t-shirt for the Dedham SQRZ line of tees.
Royal soft ringspun cotton t-shirt

Royal Apparel ringspun tee, in kelly green.

Like super soft, super colorful, and comfortable cotton t-shirts? So do we. We screen print on all four of the tees mentioned here, and many more. So send us an email and we’ll help figure out the best one for you! We’ll go over all the details about screen printing your logo or design on this or thousands of other great products. It’s what we do.