Update June 29, 2015: Be sure to check the comments. Threadless has really great, proactive customer service!
Everyone needs at least a few great t-shirts in their wardrobe. That’s because they are a style staple. They are versatile, a cinch to wear and let us easily express who we are. But finding t-shirts with cool designs that are made out of high-quality materials can be surprisingly hard. But there’s one place where finding awesome t-shirts is like shooting fish in a barrel (although there is one thing you need to know before placing an order).
And that place is, of course, Threadless, the online t-shirt store and community that has been around since the year 2000! Yes, that’s right, I’m writing a review fifteen years after the fact. But why not? If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering whether or not the site is worth ordering from. Read on to hear about my experience and to get my recommendation.
I can’t remember when I first encountered Threadless, but I can remember that ever since I discovered the store I’ve wanted to try it out. And that’s been many years ago — a decade for all I know. But even without making a single purchase from Threadless all these years (I finally got my hands on some Threadless shirts just this year), I’ve held the site in high regard for one big reason: creativity.
I’m a designer by trade (it’s what I studied in college). So I fancy myself as having good taste (although doesn’t everyone) when it comes to graphic design and other artistic endeavors. And I’m completely blown away by the level of talent being showcased on Threadless. I see these incredibly original and imaginative shirt graphics and I want them on me. Sometimes edgy, sometimes poetic, the shirts I see on Threadless represent and reinforce, by and large, my own sense of boldness, playfulness and creativity. I am disappointed by a few shirts that make light of Jesus, but I don’t have to buy them.
Does Threadless cater to the Hipster? Absolutely. Nothing wrong with that.
I’m also drawn to the sheer assortment of interesting t-shirts available for purchase on Threadless. When it comes to clothes, and especially to t-shirts, I crave variety as much as I yearn for creativity. In this department, Threadless definitely has it’s bases covered.
In case you’re wondering which shirts I tried out in order to write this review, here they are:
- Funkalicious by Fen
- Call of the Wild by Laser Bread
- Creative Force by Tompe
- Prototype by kreadid
- Two Legit Two Quit by campkatie
And here comes the one thing you need to be aware of when ordering from Threadless: some of the shirts I tested shrank pretty badly. In putting the Threadless t-shirts through my normal clothes washing routine, several of the shirts I ordered shrank — more so than I would’ve expected. For the load that contained these shirts, that meant a warm wash cycle paired with a low-heat dryer cycle.
Doing some research on the website, I did find that for the Men’s Tee version of these shirts (which is what I believe I got), the care instructions are as follows: machine wash cold, tumble dry low. So I strayed from the cold wash instructions assuming the shirts would hold up the same as other shirts I own which is apparently where the shrinkage came from. Plus, after checking the label, it does say 100% cotton, so… I should’ve known. So let’s chalk that up to operator error while also realizing that the care instructions could have been displayed a bit more prominently. Doh!
Here’s a photo comparing the post-wash lengths of the Funkalicious shirt (darker blue, bottom) and the Call of the Wild shirt (lighter blue, top):
For what it’s worth, the three shirts that shrank on me were Call of the Wild, Creative Force and Two Legit Two Quit.
I will say that the care instructions could be more prominent. The tagless tags inside the neck of the shirts are all identical, and don’t really say much:
Before I wrap this up, I do want to say that the way in which Threadless sources it’s t-shirt designs is definitely unique and factors into my personal interest in the company. Artists submit designs and the community chooses the best. This gives buyers a sense of selecting from only the very best designs. Whereas you could walk into a department store and pick up a t-shirt chosen by someone else and presented to customers as acceptably stylish, on Threadless customers have an opinion in what makes the cut. And that’s cool. I feel like it gives more meaning to each shirt design.
So would I recommend shopping from Threadless? If you’re looking for the most creative t-shirts on the planet then absolutely! Just make sure you understand how to properly care for your shirts (which isn’t quite as obvious as it could be).