Couple wearing tshirts with their birth years on them

(Photo by Xuan Thu Le on Unsplash)

NEW YORK — Fashion trends are ever-changing, and it can be hard to keep up with what’s “in” and what’s “out.” Is it time to upgrade your wardrobe? A new study has revealed what’s warming up, what’s hot, and what should stay in the back of your closet.

The poll of 2,000 U.S. adults found many are predicting future fashion trends to focus on a rise for tie-dye (35%), shirt pockets (33%) and portrait photography (33%). Meanwhile, the best current trends when it comes to custom apparel are to have clothing featuring either quotes (32%), bright colors (31%) or logos on the front (31%).

What does your shirt say about you?

More than half (58%) agreed a person’s choice of clothing suggests a lot about their personality and for 57 percent, it’s done best through customized garments. Almost half of those surveyed (45%) like to express themselves through customized apparel.

Especially for younger generations — combined, 54 percent of Gen Z and millennials surveyed buy custom clothing to reflect their personalities. Nearly as many (53%) Gen Zers and millennials do it to support small businesses.

Commissioned by VistaPrint and conducted by OnePoll, the study also found the things people are flat-out avoiding in their wardrobe: swear words (38%), a photo of themselves (34%), pictures of strangers (33%), well-known phrases or slogans (33%), animal prints (29%) and innuendos (29%).

Woman wearing tshirt with pancakes quote
(Photo by Aaron Weiss on Unsplash)

Branding expert Clare Alexander helped reveal the rules of designing your own clothing, be it for a music festival or bachelorette party. The top 10 list of things to avoid also includes using someone else’s image without permission and not to overcomplicate things by using too many graphics or details.

“Who doesn’t have a favorite T-shirt? Wearing artwork on clothing is an established fashion tradition, but graphic tees are perhaps the most literal form of this,” says Alexander. “Through prints, you can express yourself in visual form by representing places you have visited, favorite tunes, television shows, films, or designers.” 

Fashionable SWAG

She also offered advice to businesses considering merchandise or uniforms, including making your logo colors stand out and making sure no competitor has similar tones — handy tips, considering that 57 percent show support for small businesses via their merchandise. 

A quarter (26%) agreed they’re more likely to remember a business if employees wear branded apparel and if they owned a business 55 percent would sell labeled merchandise. Of those who are employed (86%), six in 10 (62%) agreed having a customized uniform would make it easier and quicker to get ready for work and 77 percent would be proud to wear apparel representing their employer.  

“Customers and businesses alike deserve to represent themselves in any variety of ways, from celebrating occasions, selling merch, or making staff look good and consistent. Creating custom apparel, like T-shirts, feels good, looks great and gives them a chance to celebrate their individuality,” says General Manager of VistaPrint Promotional Products, Apparel and Gifts Llorenç Sola, in a statement. “T-shirts are by far the most popular item of personalized apparel, but we know it can be tricky to get it right — from style and color preferences to what image or logo to feature.”

The survey also found T-shirts are the most popular item of personalized clothing people have owned (51%), followed by polo shirts (46%) and hoodies or sweatshirts (46%).

Reasons for having ever owned personalized items were for events such as a bachelorette party (50%), for work (54%) and to support a small business (52%). Occasions Americans have bought or worn such items for included graduation (28%), concerts (28%) and for their birthday (28%).  

More than two thirds (68%) are willing to spend more money on customized clothing, because they know they can’t buy anything similar somewhere else (47%) and it evokes memories (47%). 

“Most graphic tees also serve as a platform for showcasing brands, expressing loyalty for the creators and it is a unique and modern medium for creative expression and graphic tees make a stylish statement,” adds Alexander. “There has never been a better time to start your own customized T-shirt brand and accessibility to resources has never been better – all you need is a laptop and an idea to get started.”

About Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds' Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor