Where to Buy (Cheap) Shirts Online
This post title sounds like a spam email subject but I was asked twice in the past three weeks where I buy my t-shirts, so here’s an answer that everybody can benefit from.
Living in Europe means we can get quite high shipping costs on US-based websites. The highest shipping cost per t-shirt I ever got was $23 for two t-shirts and on some websites up to 40% of the total cost is due to shipping.
The main criteria I have when buying t-shirts online are:
- Their price. I very rarely buy t-shirts that are more expensive than $20-25. The reason is I like to buy multiple t-shirts at once and having to pay $100 for four t-shirts plus shipping isn’t something I’d consider.
- The quality of their design. Of course if all you want is a unicolor t-shirt you can go to virtually any clothing store in the street to get one.
- Their shipping costs and how much time I’ll have to wait (spoiler: at the very least a couple weeks if it comes from the US).
A bonus point is if they accept Paypal. This is because Paypal does the
Euro/Dollar conversion for me; otherwise if I pay with my credit card in
Dollars my bank
steals takes me ~1% of the price, or €1 if it’s lower
Not-that-fun story: I once had to pay a $0.02 AWS bill. It cost me €1.02; €1 for my bank and ~€0.02 for AWS.
Note that I’m not affiliated with any of the websites listed in this post and I bought one or more times on each one.
Threadless is the first website I ordered shirts on; back in 2009. They have a large choice of t-shirts; you have to really dig to find geeky ones. A lot of them are as low as $10-12 and they have promos where shirts can go as low as $5. All the ones I bought in 2009 are still in perfect condition. The shipping costs are acceptable at ~30% of the total cost (e.g. 5 t-shirts for $45 + $27 for shipping = $72) but I need at least a month to receive my package.
Pluses: Large choice, good prices.
Minuses: YMMV but I need to dig a lot to find t-shirts I like.
6 Dollar Shirts
I don’t remember how I found 6 Dollar Shirts but it was quite a pleasant surprise to see a website that sells shirts at $6 each. They even have a special price at $50 for ten of them. They have a lot more geeky shirts and ones with references to popular culture. There are also a lot of political t-shirts that I’m not interested in — but again you may like them.
The downside of the site are the high shipping costs: $35 for ten shirts. But given their shirt prices it stays very low: $50+$35 for ten t-shirts means only $8.5 per t-shirt. The first ones I bought in 2013 are still in pretty good shape. They’re not as good as Threadless’ but they’re really good for their price.
Pluses: Prices, and some designs are really great.
Minuses: After ~20 t-shirts I find it hard to find enough nice shirts to fill another 10-shirts bulk.
Teespring is a time-limited t-shirts website. People submit their design and if there are enough buyers before a few days it goes to print. It’s not a site I often go on but it seems to be popular for when people want to print a special-occasion shirt.
I bought two shirts from them in 2014; each one cost $18 plus $12 of shipping cost. That’s quite high, which is why I don’t often visit their website.
Pluses: Some shirts are nice.
Minuses: Prices are high and there’s not a lot of choice.
Cotton Bureau is similar to Teespring but with higher prices and goals appears to be higher than Teespring so less t-shirts go to print. They do have nice shirts, thought.
Last time I bought a t-shirt from them was on October 31 of this year. I picked a Mystery Tee as well, which is a cheaper shirt they choose for you. They should ship on November 28 so I should get them for Christmas — That’s a long time to wait. I paid $25 for the t-shirt I chose; $15 for the Mystery one; and $24 for the shipping. You have to really want that t-shirt to pay that much.
Pluses: Nice designs and if enough people subscribe to an already-printed
t-shirt it goes to print again.
Minuses: Quite expensive and you have to wait until the end of the buying window to have it printed and shipped.
Redbubble is a marketplace that sells a lot of stuff with designs from a lot of people.
They have a lot of choice but in my experience the quality of their designs is lower than Threadless’ and 6 Dollar Shirts’. They even sometimes have duplicated or copied designs: two or three people got the same idea and submitted (almost) the same design.
The positive side of this is you’ll often find t-shirts that refer to current TV series that don’t have official stores (unlike CBS’ series), for example this Bojack-Horseman-themed shirt.
Their shipping costs are pretty low; I paid only €2.5 to get my €21 t-shirt.
Pluses: Low shipping costs and some nice finds if you search a lot.
Minuses: A lot of not-so-original designs that make it harder to find the good ones.
TeeFury is a daily t-shirt website. They have two shirts featured for a day at $11; otherwise you have to pay the full price ($20). I’m not a huge fan of their designs but they have very low shipping costs; only $3 for a $11 t-shirt.
Pluses: They’re the cheapest option of this list when you buy only one or
two t-shirts at once.
Minuses: Only two t-shirts per day.
I hope this post may help you buy (cheap) t-shirts online. Note the shipping costs I gave were for me in France; they may vary depending on your location.
Please share your own recommendations in the comments!